The popularity of MMA has been growing in Europe for years. Now we are taking a look at the top 3 Polish fighters in the UFC, and what may be next in their careers.
When you think of MMA in Europe, some of the first that come to mind may be Ireland, the UK, and Russia. Over the past several years however, Poland has established itself as perhaps the most talent-rich country in terms of MMA athletes. Many of these fighters are now competing in the UFC. Let’s take a look at three of the best.
Without a doubt the top Polish MMA fighter in the world right now, Joanna Jedrzejczyk is beginning to establish herself as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters period. After an incredible successful career as a kickboxer, Joanna made the transition into MMA and quickly racked up a 6-0 record on the regional scene.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s past 4 wins
- Jessica Penna: TKO
- Valerie Letourneau: UD
- Claudia Gadehla: UD
- Karolina Kowalkiewicz: UD
In July 2014, Jedrzejczyk made her move into the UFC, impressing in her first 2 fights to earn a shot at the title against Carla Esparza. Despite coming into the fight as a slight underdog according to most online sportsbooks in Poland, Joanna dominated the champ before earning a 2nd round TKO victory.
Since then, Joanna has defended the belt 4 times and is now at the top of the list of Polish fighters in the UFC. She’s one of the most dangerous and creative strikers in MMA, and her recent work with American Top Team has significantly helped her improve on her defensive wrestling abilities.
On May 13th, Joanna will be defending her belt again against top contender Jessica Andrade. VBet Sportsbook has already set the betting odds, and unsurprisingly it’s the champ who’s entering as the significant betting favorite with odds of 1.52. Andrade is a tough fighter for anyone, and could be a solid MMA underdog bet with odds of 2.35.
One of the best Polish fighters in the UFC and most exciting young prospects fighting as middleweight is Elblag native Krzysztof Jotko. Many in the European MMA community were praising Jotko as a potential future champion while he was competing in smaller shows, and after going 6-1 in the UFC it’s beginning to look like they were right.
Krzysztof boasted an impressive record of 13-0 before making his debut with the biggest MMA promotion in the world. In his first fight with the UFC, he defeated Bruno Santos. His next fight would be his only hiccup with the promotion to date, a submission loss to tough Swedish fighter Magnus Cedenblad.
Since then, Jotko has won 5 straight fights, most recently against former top contender Thales Leites. With a few more impressive wins, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this Polish striker fighting for the belt.
The next step for Jotko to get the title will come at UFC 211 in the form of the former WSOF champ, David Branch. Many MMA betting experts feel this fight could be the best of the night. VBet Sportsbook has not yet released the odds for this fight, though it’s likely they will be close.
Despite beginning his tenure with the UFC 0-2, Marcin Held is still one of the top Polish MMA fighters in the world. Held’s first major exposure came in Bellator MMA, where he managed to accumulate a 10-2 record and earned a shot at the lightweight title. He came up short in that fight, but proved he belongs with the elite at lightweight.
In November of 2016, Held made his much-anticipated debut with the UFC. His first fight came against Diego Sanchez, who managed to negate the jiu jitsu expert’s strength and made Polish gambling news by coasting to a unanimous decision win. In his most recent fight with the promotion, Held lost a controversial split decision to Joe Lauzon.
On May 28th, Held will return again to take on Damir Hadzovic. In many ways this is a make or break fight for one of the best Polish fighters in the UFC. With a win, he’ll likely move up the rankings and could be just a few victories away from the top 15 rankings.
Who do you think are the best Polish fighters in the UFC? Will each of the fighters we listed be victorious in the next bouts? Tell us what you think in the comment section below, and make sure to check out VBet Sportsbook for a full list of 2017 UFC betting odds.