Ex-Chelsea footballer wins Polish MMA debut after surviving first-round mauling

A former Chelsea footballer is making a huge name for himself in MMA after retiring from the game almost ten years ago.

Brazil's Ricardo Prasel, who holds a record of 12-3, won his KSW debut on Saturday night. The 31-year-old overcame a mauling in the first round in a contest by Poland’s leading MMA promoters to defeat heavyweight veteran Michal Kita TKO in round two.

Prasel was down 10-8 in the first round on two judges' scorecards, but he found his momentum in the subsequent round and came out on top, winning after taking control with a ground and pound.

The Latin American started Premier League life at Chelsea when he was 18, following on from stints with Atletico Paranaense Joinville, and Juventus-SP. At Stamford Bridge under Jose Mourinho, Prasel was their third-choice goalkeeper and he never managed to secure a first-team appearance, but still got to train alongside the likes of legends such as Petr Cech, Ashley Cole, and Didier Drogba.

Injuries persisted and he soon found himself playing in Belgium, before making a premature retirement at 22 owing to a hip injury. He then tried his hand at jiu-jitsu. In 2019, he almost found his way into the UFC but after losing a fight he decided to focus his attention on the European circuit.

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Speaking to MMA Fightingfour years ago, he said: “Even if not for a long time, stepping a foot on the Chelsea field and seeing so many stars was a dream come true,” Prasel told MMA Fighting. “Fighting [across the world] now is as incredible as playing for Chelsea. I saw the world through both sports.”

”Drogba was f****** unbelievable, man. “I didn’t go to the games with the professionals because I was the third goalkeeper — Cech and Hilario went to the games. But I played with them every day, because after training they wanted to practice shootout free kicks, and I had to be there to try to defend it. Thirty minutes every day, Drogba and Ballack shooting free kicks. My God, they didn’t miss one. It was incredible.”

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