MMA: How France's Salahdine Parnasse came close to making history in the sport

On the evening of Saturday, December 16, Frenchman Salahdine Parnasse attempted what no one has ever achieved in the history of MMA: to own three championship belts in three different weight classes within a major MMA organization. Even if the kid from Aubervilliers was at the rendezvous with history, the step was still a few centimetres too high. Or about ten kilos.

Salahdine Parnasse attends the Sportel Awards ceremony on October 27, 2020 in Monaco. Getty Images - Arnold Jerocki

By: Yohann Le Coz Follow


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Looking at the smiling photos of Salahdine Parnasse accompanied by his coaches after his fight, you would think that the Frenchman had just won the match. While a few hours earlier, on Saturday 16 December, on Polish soil, the kid from Aubervilliers lost to the judges' decision, after five times five minutes of effort, against Adrian Bartosinski. The challenge was immense: after capturing the featherweight and lightweight championship belt at KSW, the organization for which he fights, the Frenchman took on the welterweights.

To put it simply, the one nicknamed the Kylian Mbappé of MMA - he was born in Île-de-France and is the eldest of the Bondynois by one year - rubbed shoulders with a Pole with 19 wins, no losses and 10 kilos more on the scales. Quite a handicap for a huge challenge, no one has ever held three championship belts in a major world MMA organization.

This explains the post-fight smile. "Salah" simply ran into someone stronger than him for one night. And despite the defeat, he showed that at 26 years old, with two championship belts around his waist and all his teeth, he is not far from having enough in his fists to climb a mountain. The Pole's battered face can attest to that.

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The difference in power was too great


It was a very hard-fought fight, very hard, I went to the decision with a guy 10 kilos heavier than me, Parnasse reacted to the microphone of RMC Sport afterwards, his nose still swollen. I've shown everyone that I'm a real fighter ». The force differential was huge. Imagine fighting your 15-year-old older brother when you're 12, unequal right? That's more or less what happened.

Even with the Frenchman's superior boxing, Bartosinski took the blows without flinching, using his weight and struggle to hinder Parnassus and wait for the opening. It came in the third round, when the Pole landed a knee to the chin of the native of Aubervilliers, who collapsed before recovering in the second to continue the duel. "He dominated me in hand-to-hand combat, I felt he was more powerful than me," summed up the vanquished. I'm going to come back stronger in training, train even harder," he promised.


I'm young, I'm 26 years old ", recalled the French fighter, who demanded a rematch from his opponent. The KSW, which will set up shop in Paris for the first time in April, would be an ideal opportunity in front of its home crowd. This last stop in the capital would also be an opportunity to conclude his adventure at KSW, with whom he is linked for one last fight only. A superstar in Eastern Europe, Parnassus will surely have huge offers elsewhere. It remains to be seen where his future holds.

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