Todd Duffee returns for the KSW title fight against champion Phil De Fries

At one point, Todd Duffee was one of the most exciting heavyweight prospects in MMA. The then 23-year-old made his debut in 2009 with a 5-0 unbeaten record and caused quite a stir on his debut, knocking out Tim Hague just seven seconds into the first round.

A shockingly upset KO loss to Mike Russow (and some possibly rash words about the UFC pay structure) later and Duffee was back in Regionals. While he returned to the world’s largest MMA promotion in just two years, a long string of injuries turned his career into a snakebite. After a KO loss to Frank Mir in 2015, Duffee would not set foot in the cage for another four years – a return to competition that ended in a disappointing no-contest after Duffee suffered an eye bump in the first round. Eventually, further injury complications forced his full retirement from MMA.

Or at least they did until now.

In a recent interview on the MMA lesson, Duffee announced he was officially returning to competition. However, not at the UFC, but at one of the leading MMA organizations in Europe: KSW.

“Who else other than an American are you going to call to save the heavyweight division for KSW?” Duffee joked with Ariel Helwani about the news.

Coincidentally, Duffee’s return to MMA should feel very familiar. After being axed from the UFC the first time, he returned to promotion in 2012 against none other than current KSW Heavyweight Champion Phil De Fries. Duffee won this fight via TKO just 2:04 into Round 1.

De Fries gets his chance for revenge in the Main Event of KSW 79 at Home Credit Arena in Liberec, Czech Republic.

‘S-11’ saw his own UFC career end in 2013 after a 19-second loss to Matt Mitrione on UFC on Fuel TV: Mousasi vs. Latifi. After trading wins and losses at Regionals over the next few years, the Sunderland native appears to have made his move. He is currently going on a 10 fight unbeaten streak after winning the KSW Heavyweight Title in 2018. If De Fries can defeat Duffee, it will be his eighth consecutive successful defense of the championship crown.

KSW 79 takes place on February 25th. Alongside the main event, the promotion has also announced a fight between two other former UFC heavyweights – with Viktor Pesta set to take on Daniel Omielanczuk. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and hints.

About the author: Zane Simon is Senior Editor, Writer and Podcaster for Bloody Elbow. As the host of MMA Vivisection and Round 6, he has covered MMA and the UFC since 2013. (full bio)

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