Vinny Magalhaes (18-9) scored his fourth first-round stoppage under the PFL banner – and his second kimura of the night – punching his ticket to the $1 million light heavyweight championship fight of the promotion’s inaugural season with a first-round stoppage of Bozigit Ataev (19-3).
The light heavyweight semifinal served as the main event of Saturday’s PFL 9 event, which aired on NBCSN from Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, Calif.
Magalhaes wasted little time moving forward, throwing a punch and kick before reaching down to grab the legs, moving into the clinch. Magalhaes then willingly went to the floor, looking to lock up a triangle choke. Ataev was able to pull free, driving a few nasty hammerfists into his opponent’s head, but Magalhaes rolled and turned, scrambling to top position and looking to work from the dominant spot. With his position established, Magalhaes slipped around to side control and then north-south, then turning to the kimura, stepping over the head and cranking on the right arm until Ataev was forced to tap in rapid fashion at the 1:58 mark of the first.
“This is what happens when I go back to my roots,” Magalhaes said after the win. “I was spending way too much time standing and banging. Tonight was all about stocking up energy and feeling comfortable, and I know for a fact that I have an advantage over everyone once we hit the ground.”
In a rematch of their regular season contest, No. 1 seed Natan Schulte (14-3-1) again scored a decision win over No. 4 seed Chris Wade (14-5), although this time it earned the Brazilian a spot in PFL’s $1 million lightweight championship final.
Wade rushed forward at the start, and the two men looked ready to brawl, talking to each other and throwing strikes at full force. As they moved into the clinch, Wade latched in a guillotine that looked dangerous, but Schulte showed fantastic defense in battling through the hold and freeing his neck before settling on top and looking to mount some offense of his own. Wade stayed safe underneath, eventually crawling back to his feet, where the brawl started again. However, Schulte would move inside shortly after, tripping his opponent to the floor, where the round finished.
The two men were content to strike early in the second, though Wade continued to talk to his opponent as they traded blows. Schulte was the man walking forward in most of the exchanges, mixing it up with punches and kicks to all levels. Wade seemed to slow a bit as the round unfolded, but he did land a few big right hands that caught his opponent’s attention. However, Schulte eventually changed levels, driving his opponent to the floor with a little more than a minute remaining. Schulte eventually got to the back and seemed to have a real chance at a rear-naked choke, but Wade shucked him off just before the bell.
The third round was a gut check for both men. Schulte’s energy faded with each passing moment, while Wade did his best to continue pushing forward behind tired arms, as well. Wade looked for a guillotine early, but Schulte was up to the challenge, and the striking continued. Schulte pressed forward as often as possible, even if the zip was gone from the shots. In the end, it was Schulte who earned the narrow split-decision result, much to a frustrated Wade’s dismay when statistics showed him as the more successful striker.
“I worked hard, and it all came to fruition,” Schulte said after the win. “In the end of the day, all that matters is what the judges have to say. This is my time.”
Sean O’Connell (20-10) was the first man to punch his ticket to the $1 million light heavyweight final, surviving some real trouble from a hard-hitting Smealinho Rama (11-5-1) to battle back for a first-round knockout victory.
The two men came out swinging, with O’Connell landing first, sending his opponent to the floor. However, Rama grabbed his opponent’s leg as he moved forward, forcing O’Connell to back away and reset. From there, it was Rama who started to string together combinations, stunning O’Connell on the feet. Nevertheless, O’Connell shook off the damage and answered back with a big left hand of his own, sending Rama to the floor. From there, O’Connell stood over his opponent and landing big ground-and-pound blows that put Rama out cold at the 1:45 mark of the first frame.
Despite losing a decision earlier in the night, Thiago Tavares (22-10-1) was allowed to return to the bracket for a semifinal fight with Rashid Magomedov (22-2-1) when the man that beat him, Islam Mamedov, was unable to continue. However, Magomedov proved too much to overcome, and the Russian punched his ticket to the lightweight finals.
Magomedov was clearly the bigger man, and he took the center to start and looked to utilize his length advantage. Tavares moved well on the outside, trying to dart in and out of range before eventually diving for a leg. However, he took a few solid punches as Magomedov sprawled and was forced to back away. The crowd grew a bit restless, with the fighters hesitant to overcommit.
Magomedov continued to strike from range in the second. Using long punches and kicks made it difficult for Tavares to answer back on the feet, but he found his shot on the floor. As they scrambled to the floor, Tavares grabbed a leg and made an earnest attempt at a leglock. However, Magomedov patiently worked his way free from the hold after a few tense moments and then began pounding way at his opponent’s midsection. Tavares was clearly in pain and simply covered up until the contest was waved off at the 3:36 mark of the round.
- PFL 9 light heavyweight playoff preview: Will Vinny Magalhaes' stellar run continue?
- 5 reasons to watch PFL 9: Spotlight turns to light heavyweight, lightweight playoffs
- PFL 9 lightweight playoff preview: Many familiar names, but Natan Schulte the man to beat
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: PFL 9 results: Two more million finals set with Magalhaes-O'Connell, Schulte-Magomedov