The Pro Fight League post season continued on Saturday in Long Beach, California as PFL 9 saw two fights in a night to determine the 2018 season finalists in the lightweight and light heavyweight divisions.
Professional Fighters League playoff action continued on Saturday night at PFL 9, with the lightweight and light heavyweight divisions in action. At lightweight, top seed Natan Schulte faced off with late addition Johnny Case. Former Bellator champ and UFC fighter Will Brooks, seeded second, faced Rashid Magomedov, while another former UFC talent, Thiago Tavares, took on Islam Memedov.
At light heavyweight, standouts included Vinny Magalhaes, the top seed in the tournament. With two first round finishes, the submission ace was set to face Rakim Cleveland. Former UFC fighter Sean O’Connell, meanwhile, took on Dan Spohn in quaterfinal action.
To move on to the finals, competitors would need to come out on top in two fights in a single night at PFL 9, making for a hotly anticipated night of action!
Check back come fight time for results and a recap of the night’s action! The PFL 9 live stream starts at 6:15 PM ET, and you can watch it via the official embed below. For viewers in the U.S., the main card will air on NBC SN.
Chris Wade vs. Robert Watley
The PFL 9 main card kicked off with lightweight action in Long Beach on Saturday. There, in quarterfinal action, Long Island’s Chris Wade faced Robert Watley. The two-round battle opened with Wade executing an early kick followed by a slick headlock take down. He quickly transitioned to Wately’s back and looked for the choke, but Wately defended well. In the second, Wade opened with jumping kick, shades of his last PFL outing. Wade again went with the headlock take down, then worked from top until Wately swept him and transitioned to Wade’s back as the round came to an end.
Winning from Long Island to Long Beach! Lightweight Quarterfinal: #4 Chris Wade defeats #5 Robert Watley by Majority Decision. Wade advances to the Lightweight Semifinals later tonight on NBCSN! #PFLPlayoffs #PFLmma #MMA #PFL9 @CWadeMMA @RobertWatley89 pic.twitter.com/Zcj8TmImuU
— #PFLmma (@ProFightLeague) October 14, 2018
With just two rounds to work, Wade vs. Watley was another lesson in the importance of a fast start. On the scorecards, Wade took the win, at least according to two judges.
Bazigit Atajev vs. Emiliano Sordi
Light heavyweight quarterfinal action came next, as Bazigit Atajev took on Emiliano Sordi. Atajev caught a leg and landed the takedown early in this one. Sordi looked for the triangle choke they scrambled; back up they exchanged, and Atajev landed a hard right that hurt Sordi. That was followed by a left that set up the end! Atajev pounced and finished the fight with a flurry a blows.
Bazigit Atajev def. def. Emiliano Sordi by TKO, Round 1, 1:43
Natan Schulte vs. Johnny Case
In another lightweight quarterfinal scrap, Natan Schulte, the unlikely top seed at 155lbs following the PFL regular season, took on late replacement Johnny Case. Schulte landed an early take down off a caught kick thrown by Case, and worked from full guard. Case worked back to his feet but was quickly taken down again with Schulte on top. Johnny Case, trying to seize the opportunity given to him by joining the PFL’s season at the last minute, worked to his feet once again. But once more, Schulte landed the take down, a double leg this time to close out the round on top.
Johnny Case started the second with a new level of aggression, knowing that he likely lost the first round. Case used slick movement and level changes to keep Schulte at range, and he stuffed Schulte’s first take down attempt of the round. The strong push by Case earned him the round, but thanks to the judges ruling the fight a majority draw, it was Schulte moving forward in the tournament.
Natan Schulte vs. Johny Case ends in a majority draw (19-18, 19-19, 19-19) * Schulte moves forward due to first round tiebreaker
Vinny Magalhães vs. Rakim Cleveland
Top-seeded light heavyweight Vinny Magalhaes took on Rakim Cleveland in the last quarterfinal bout at PFL 9. Cleveland got in the clinch early with Magalhães against the cage, but Magalhães jumped into a triangle. He then transitioned into a kimura to bring a quick end to the fight!
Vinny Magalhães def. Rakim Cleveland by submission (kimura), Round 1, 1:20
Rashid Magomedov vs. Thiago Tavares
The first semifinal of the PFL 2018 lightweight season saw Thiago Tavares back in action, despite not advancing after his first fight. However, with Islam Mamedov unable to continue, the “lucky loser” rule was followed, which saw Tavares back in the game.
With action underway, Magomedov worked his kicks until Tavares shot in for a take down. Magomedov defended and walked away. Magomedov then went to work and used his distance and foot work to control the standing game, landing and moving out of range when Tavares threw with power. Round two saw Magomedov continue to work the jab and mix in multiple kicks, both low and high. Tavares shot a double, but Magomedov stuffed it and began to rain punches until Tavares got a hold of a leg lock. Magomedov defended and broke free. He then went back on the attack, setting up the finish by landing multiple body shots on Tavares, who was still down after the leg lock attempt.
Booking a trip to #NYC on #NYE! Lightweight Semifinal: #7 Rashid Magomedov defeats #6 Thiago Tavares by 2nd round TKO. Magomedov advances to the Lightweight Championship. #PFLPlayoffs #PFLmma #MMA #PFL9 #LA @RashidGorets @TavaresMMA pic.twitter.com/fBOWhdFCLI
— #PFLmma (@ProFightLeague) October 14, 2018
The win sends Magomedov to the finale on New Year’s Eve, though against who remains to be seen.
Rashid Magomedov def. Thiago Tavares by TKO (punches), Round 2, 3:36
Sean O’Connell vs. Smealinho Rama
Former UFC light heavyweight Sean O’Connell had talked retirement prior to the PFL’s 205lb tournament. Yet Saturday night in Long Beach, he had the chance to make it to the million dollar final. And the talented O’Connell, who has dabbled as a writer and also works on PFL broadcasts, did just that.
Against former WSOF heavyweight champ Smealinho Rama, O’Connell found himself tagged with a right hand early. O’Connell then turned the tables and dropped Rama! Rama got back to his feet, and the pair continued to exchange. Rama backed O’Connell up and landed shots, but O’Connell landed a looping left that dropped Rama again! O’Connell then fired shots down on Rama that forced the ref to step in. Just like that, Sean O’Connell was the first light heavyweight finalist for the PFL 2018 playoffs!
Sean O’Connell def. Smealinho Rama by knockout, Round 1, 1:45
Natan Schulte vs. Chris Wade
The second lightweight semifinalist was determined when Natan Schulte met Chris Wade at PFL 9. Wade came out quick with a flying knee and things settled down, kind of.
Both men exchanged until Wade caught Schulte in a guillotine. Schulte broke free and drove through Wade, that took him to the mat and Schulte began to work from top. Schulte worked to Wade’s back but Wade broke free and spun away. The two men went right back to it exchanging blows until Schulte again got the take down. He was on top as the round ended.
In round two, Wade came out throwing kicks that Schulte walked through. He kept moving forward as Wade threw punches; Schulte responded with his own and kept stalking Wade around the cage. Wade fired back and both men again landed solid punches and kicks until Schulte shot and landed the take down. Schulte took Wade’s back but Wade escaped and got back to his feet as the round ended.
Wade came out angry in the third and mixed up his strikes and levels. Schulte next shot the take down again but was stuffed by Wade. Schulte continued to move forward but Wade was there to answer with strikes. Schulte shot the double leg and again was stuffed by Wade. Schulte looked tired towards the end of the bout, but kept moving forward and Wade, though moving backward still fired off shots as the round ended.
Natan Schulte def. Chris Wade by split decision (29-28 28-29 29-28)
Vinny Magalhães vs. Bazigit Atajev
In the final bout of the evening, former UFC competitor and BJJ ace Vinny Magalhaes took on Bazigit Atajev, in the second light heavyweight semi-final. Early on, Magalhaes faked a combo and landed the takedown. Atajev scrambled back to his feet and the two clinched against the fence. Magalhaes pulled guard and looked for the triangle, but Atajev defended and dropped some punches on the downed Magalhaes. Magalhaes stuck with him and got back on top and quickly moved into a Kimura to get the tap and the win.
Vinny Magalhães def. Bazigit Atajev by submission (kimura), Round 1, 1:50
PFL 9 Results:
Light Heavyweight: Vinny Magalhães def. Bazigit Atajev by submission (kimura), Round 1, 1:50 (semi-final bout)
Lightweight: Natan Schulte def. Chris Wade by split decision (29-28 28-29 29-28) (semi-final bout)
Light Heavyweight: Sean O’Connell def. Smealinho Rama by knockout, Round 1, 1:45 (semi-final bout)
Lightweight: Rashid Magomedov def. Thiago Tavares by TKO (punches), Round 2, 3:36 (semifinal)
Light Heavyweight: Vinny Magalhães def. Rakim Cleveland by submission (kimura), Round 1, 1:20 (quarterfinal bout)
Lightweight: Natan Schulte vs. Johny Case ends in a majority draw (19-18, 19-19, 19-19) (quarterfinal bout) – Schulte advances by first round tiebreaker
Light Heavyweight: Bazigit Atajev def. def. Emiliano Sordi by TKO, Round 1, 1:43 (quarterfinal bout)
Lightweight: Chris Wade def. Robert Watley by majority decision (20-18, 20-18, 19-19) (quarterfinal bout)
Preliminary card (Facebook Watch)
Light Heavyweight: Sean O’Connell def. Dan Spohn by unanimous decision (19-19, 19-18, 19-18) (quarterfinal bout)
Lightweight: Islam Mamedov def. Thiago Tavares by unanimous decision (20-18, 20-18, 20-18) (quarterfinal bout)
Light Heavyweight: Maxim Grishin vs. Smealinho Rama ends in majority draw (20-18, 19-19, 19-19) (quarterfinal bout) – Rama advances by first round tiebreaker
Lightweight: Will Brooks vs. Rashid Magomedov ends in a unanimous draw (19-19, 19-19, 19-19) (quarterfinal bout) – Magomedov advances by first round tiebreaker
Light Heavyweight: Brandon Halsey def. Ronny Markes by unanimous decision (20-18, 20-18, 20-18) (tournament alternate bout)
Lightweight: Ramsey Nijem def. Yuki Kawana by unanimous decision (19-18, 19-18, 19-18) (tournament alternate bout)