Flashback: Stephan Bonnar and Krzysztof Soszynski’s short rivalry

A look back at two all-out brawls between UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar and "The Polish Experiment", Krzysztof Soszynski.

by MMA News Today Newswire
Published: Last Updated on
Click here to watch Stephen Bonnar vs. Krzysztof Soszynski 1 and click here to watch Stephen Bonnar vs. Krzysztof Soszynski 2 on UFC Fight Pass.

In February 2010, the UFC travelled to Sydney, Australia. for UFC 110, its second show in the Land Down Under, headlined by a heavyweight clash between Cain Velasquez and Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira.

While the star-studded event featured legends like Wanderlei Silva, Mirko Cro Cop and Michael Bisping, along with household names like Joe Stevenson and Keith Jardine, filling out the main card, the final fight on the unfortunately untelevised preliminary portion of the card saw The Ultimate Fighter season one runner-up Stephan “The American Psycho” Bonnar square off against TUF 8 alumnus Krzysztof “The Polish Experiment” Soszynski.

The setup

Coming into the fight on a two-fight losing streak — a defeat to Jon Jones in the latter’s second UFC fight and a shocking upset loss to a Mark Coleman at UFC 100 — Bonnar was looking to reestablish himself in the light heavyweight division against the Polish-born Canadian fighter, Soszynski.

“I’m still going to do my homework, but I’m not too worried about him catching me. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not disrespecting his ground abilities. But I know my abilities and people I’ve been rolling with. I’ll be good,” the American Psycho said in the lead up.

Soszynski, meanwhile, had fought several formidable opponents before joining the UFC, putting together a 20-9-1 record  before his debut in the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization in December 2008.

He came into the bout looking to get back in the win column after having his three-fight winning streak derailed by future One heavyweight champion Brandon Vera.

An entertaining first round saw Soszynski possibly break Bonnar’s nose, according to the UFC commentary team of Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. The American turned up the pace in the second round, likely evening the scorecards and setting up a decisive third round.

The action started quick, with both men throwing right hands — Bonnar from an orthodox stance, Soszynski from southpaw. In the process, the fighters’ heads collided, causing a serious cut to open on Bonnar’s forehead.

A controversial finish

Referee John Sharp called in the doctor, who then recommended the fight be stopped, much to Bonnar’s dismay. Worse yet for Bonnar, Sharp, unaware the cut was caused by an inadvertent clash of heads, awarded Soszynski a TKO victory.

Now on a three-fight losing streak, Bonnar appealed the decision to the Australian commission. The commission, however, found officials “did not seek to interfere with the referee’s decision,” a statement sent to MMA Junkie read.

“[UFC President] Dana White’s a fair guy, and I’m pretty confident we’ll have that rematch soon,” Bonnar told the outlet at the time.

And he was right; the pair would meet again at UFC 116, one of the biggest pay per views in the company’s history.

The Rematch

Riding the first three-fight losing skid in his career, Bonnar said he felt this fight had a degree of added pressure, even if his job wasn’t necessarily on the line because of the historic nature of his Ultimate Fighter finale bout against Forrest Griffin.

“I’m kind of looking at like do or die. I want to be aggressive, throw lots of punches and just do everything I can to win. Usually, the faster the pace of the fight, the better I do. So I’m looking forward to him pushing the pace.” Bonnar said, MMA Fighting reported.

The pair picked up right where they left off, trading blows almost right from the starting bell. After an action packed first round, the leather continued to fly at the opening of the second round. Around two minutes in, Bonnar would land a takedown. To his credit, Soszynski would escape back to his feet, his back against the cage.

In the clinch after the fighters stood, Bonnar would land a massive knee, immediately hurting Soszynski. In a testament to the tenacity of Soszynski, he managed to survive the barrage. But he was trapped with the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt on his back.

With that, Bonnar put an end to his losing streak and delivered a memorable speech to the crowd.

“I’ve spilled pints and pints of blood for you guys over the years, and you know what, it’s thoroughly been my pleasure. I really enjoyed it. You know, I’m sick in the head and I need help but I mean it, I love you guys.”

In 2014, Krzysztof Soszynski retired from mixed martial arts citing memory issues following his last loss, a knockout defeat to Igor Pokrajac in 2011. Since then, The Polish Experiment has found treatment through psychedelics and has a gig as a commentator for Polish MMA organization KSW.

Stephan Bonnar passed away after an accidental fentanyl overdose in December 2022. Though gone, his legacy is not forgotten.

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