Loik Radzhabov completed an unlikely journey to the PFL tournament finals at PFL 8 2019, fighting to a draw with Islam Mamedov before defeating Chris Wade to secure his spot.
One final lightweight semifinal contest closed out the action at PFL 8 2019 in Las Vegas, NV on Thursday night. At the Mandalay Bay Event Center, Chris Wade, who got the better of Nate Andrews for the second time this year earlier in the night, took on Loik Radzhabov. Radzhabov was the seventh seed entering the night, but no one bothered to tell him he was an underdog.
Wade launched a leaping kick right off the opening bell. But Loik Radzhabov saw it coming, and caught the kick, dumping Wade thereafter. Chris, however, turned the tables, and was able to throw Radzhabov down moments later. Wade then trapped his opponent’s left hand. Radzhabov would power up, but risked giving up the back. He moved to Wade’s back briefly, trying to latch on to the American’s neck. Wade would spin out; moments later, a huge low blow connected, leaving Wade grimacing in pain.
To add injury to insult, he also took a punch after the low blow, as the ref was slow calling the action. Ouch. When action resumed, Wade attacked with a leg kick. Then Radzhabov attacked, firing before getting the fight down and grabbing Wade’s neck. A neck crank from side control gave way to hammer fists; Wade grabbed a leg in a defensive maneuver.
In the final minute, Radzhabov landed a solid knee. Wade looked to be tiring a little, and had his back to the fence. Radzhabov moved in, but Wade reversed, only to be reversed himself.
Wade opened round two with a high kick, but was soon retreating from Radzhabov’s power. Wade changed levels to shoot, but Radzhabov fought it off. Ninety seconds in, Wade would land a fantastic toss and get on top, but Radzhabov’s scrambles were on point, and he bucked Wade off then scampered back to his feet. Radzhabov then went back to stalking Wade, walking him down. Radzhabov, however, had also slowed. Wade pressed him into the fence, clinching, but ate a clean punch off the break. Heading toward the final minute, they began trading, both fighters connecting.
Chris Wade, however, thought better of that approach, and looked to take the fight back down. He couldn’t, and instead ate a knee and heavy left hand before Radzhabov took him down and tried for a rear-naked choke.
While Wade survived the round, he took some damage at the end of the second. In the third, he regrouped early and pressed for another takedown attempt. Radzhabov would fight it off, but find himself driven into the fence once again moments later. However with Wade unable to make any progress, the ref broke that up. Wade would bring the fight right back there, working on a head lock, only for Radzhabov to transition to his back as they went down.
Already midway through the third, both fighters were already slick, and Wade was able to escape. The duo would trade kicks, which would slip Wade up, but Radzhabov couldn’t take advantage. What he could do was slowly start to show that he had more left in the tank, defending all of Wade’s takedown attempts from there on, while landing some heavy knees in the process. Radzhabov was actually celebrating before the fight was over, with Wade still working a takedown. The judges were then called upon to declare a winner, with all three leaning in Radzhabov’s favor. Wade was not awarded a single round by any judge.
Radzhabov now moves on to face Natan Schulte on New Year’s Eve in the 2019 lightweight finale.
Official Result: Radzhabov def. Chris Wade by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)