While a playoff berth was never really in question, Magomed Magomedkerimov had a tough test from Chris Curtis in the main event of PFL 4 2019.
When last year’s PFL season commenced, few would have selected Magomed Magomedkerimov to win it all. Maybe they would have selected Jake Shields, or Rick Story. Magomedkerimov, however, shocked many, going all the way to the finals, where he defeated Ray Cooper III to win the million dollars in prize money, not to mention welterweight gold.
He’s back, defending the belt this year, defeating John Howard in the opening bout of the season. This Thursday, during Week 4 of the PFL 2019 season, Magomedkerimov takes on Chris Curtis in the main event. A win should see him move into the playoffs with ease. Curtis, for his part, has done nothing but win over the past few years, getting a third round TKO of Andre Fialho in his own season opener.
Off the opening bell, Magomedkerimov went on the attack with kicks, with Curtis answering back with his boxing. A clinch up against the cage saw Curtis defending with an overhook, but eating a few short punches, knees and foot stomps. Magomedkerimov would utilize the Thai clinch at times, and fire off a nasty looking uppercut, but Curtis broke free, and moved back to center. He then seemed to signal that a low blow had landed, but the ref instructed them to fight on. Magomedkerimov began firing off his kicks again, both oblique kicks and front kicks going high. Curtis remained in is, pressuring the champ at times. Magomedkerimov would then shoot for and complete a single-leg takedown; Curtis threw up a butterfly guard to fend him off. That had the desired effect at least for a moment, as Curtis then threatened with upkicks, and was able to escape with seconds remaining.
Round two had Curtis working his jab early, while Magomedkerimov launched a nasty kick to the thigh, then scored a thunderous throw to take the fight to the ground. From there, he took the back, securing a body lock on Curtis. While the champ couldn’t secure the finish from there, Curtis couldn’t escape, and Magomedkerimov was active enough to prevent the ref from intervening. Curtis would actually finish the round throwing punches back at Magomedkerimov.
After a bit of trash talk to end the second, the pair had a spirited start to the third, Curtis doing some showboating early. He likely needed a finish to secure a win, however. The pair would trade single strikes, mostly, until Curtis seemed to catch the champ, leading to Magomedkerimov tying them up by the fence. Curtis, however, was running out of time. Magomedkerimov though was on the retreat. He fired a front kick, that glanced off Curtis. Curtis then latched on with a guillotine, pulling guard with time ticking away. Magomedkerimov somehow scrambled out, and eventually regain control, taking Curtis’ back towards the end of the round.
A great finish to the main event, with Magomedkerimov advancing to the playoffs after the decision win. While there was never any doubt that he’d make the most season, the three points mean a better seeding for the defending champ.
Magomed Magomedkerimov def. Chris Curtis by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)