At PFL 9, top-seeded Vinny Magalhaes will have to come out on top in two fights in a night to make it to the million dollar finals on New Year’s Eve, but he feels his BJJ competition experience might give him an edge.
Long Beach, CA — Vinny Magalhaes is the top seed heading into the Professional Fighters League post-season at light heavyweight. It’s a key distinction in most sports, as it generally draws a more favorable match-up. Yet for Magalhaes, a skilled jiu-jitsu competitor who previously fought in the UFC, being the top seed isn’t the advantage you’d expect it to be in the PFL post season, which continues on Saturday at PFL 9.
“There’s no pressure,” he told Cageside Press Thursday. And as for being the top seed, “I got into this to win the whole tournament, so I cannot be thinking ‘well I qualified as number one so I’m the favorite.'”
Instead, Magalhaes sees a tough field ahead. “The playoffs are the best eight guys. Once you get to the playoffs, there’s no number one, number two,” he pointed out. “That’s just to make it look good. But at the end of it, you’ve got the eight best guys, they’re all pretty equal when you get in there.”
His first order of business will be Rakim Cleveland. After that, should Magalhaes win, he’ll face the winner of Emiliano Sordi vs. Bazigit Atajev. But while preparing for the fight, or fights, at PFL 9, Magalhaes has continued to criticize leg lock specialists on social media, saying simply that the submissions don’t work.
“I’ve proved that leg locks don’t work. I’ve gone against some of the best leg lockers in the game like Dean Lister, Gary Tonon, and Gordon Ryan,” Magalhaes said. “None of them were able to finish me even though I was giving the position for them to work on multiple times in the same matches. And they couldn’t do it.”
“If this guy wants to do leg locks on me in this fight, it’s going to favor me. I’m going to get myself in good position and prove once again that leg locks don’t work.” That being said, with zero leg lock submissions on his MMA record, it’s unlikely Cleveland, for one, tries such a move.
As for fighting twice in a night, that’s an interesting wrinkle in the PFL post-season format. Magalhaes has some experience with that in BJJ, but “fighting’s different, I’ve never fought two in the same night, but neither have the other guys.”
“If you look at everybody in the bracket, nobody has fought two in a night. So it’s all the same for everyone, as far as fighting experience,” he said. “But a lot of those guys don’t have the competition experience that I have. I’ve been competing since my third week in jiu-jitsu, so that’s like twenty years plus years in competition. You used to go against multiple different guys in the same weekend. So for me, the mindset’s the same, it’s a competition.”
Catch our full interview with Vinny Magalhaes ahead of PFL 9 above! The card airs live on NBC SN on Saturday, October 13 following prelims on Facebook Watch!