In the second of two featherweight semifinals at PFL Playoffs 3, Brendan Loughnane looked to continue his string of impressive performances against a Dagestani killer.
Loughnane, who had won every fight he’d appeared in since being denied a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series, despite winning on the show, faced Movlid “Killer” Khaybulaev in Friday’s main event. The fight would leave the victor a single win a way from the championship, and one million dollars in prize money.
Come Friday’s main event, it was Khaybulaev landing the early takedown off a Loughnane leg kick. Off his back, the Brit landed a number of punches, which the Dagestani answered — but Loughnane did not appear interested in any sort of escape. Escape would not come until the dying seconds of the round, in fact — and when it did, Khaybulaev scooped Loughnane up and slammed him down with authority.
Loughnane opened the second eating a low kick, but landing a decidedly harder one of his own on Movlod Khaybulaev. Some home run swings followed for Khaybulaev, whose every punch seemed to be aimed at the fences. It was Loughnane connecting with perhaps the best punch of the round with a right hand right around the midway mark. But Khaybulaev answered with a takedown, and quickly took the back. While Loughnane was able to fend off his opponent for a time, the final seconds of the round saw Khaybulaev lock on a pair of Dagestani handcuffs, trapping Loughnane’s arm and peppering him with shots.
With a seven fight win streak (not to mention a million dollars) on the line, Brendan Loughnane entered the third round in need of a finish. He’d hurt Khaybulaev with an uppercut about a minute in, resulting in Loughnane cautiously stalking his prey. A little too cautious, as it allowed a bloodied Khaybulaev to recover. With two minutes remaining and time very much a factor, Khayulaev scored a crucial takedown. Though Loughnane would make it back up, time was up — with Khaybulaev dominating the bulk of the fight, save for a few minutes in the third.
Except on one judge’s scorecard, who was apparently either distracted by a ring card girl, or watching a different fight.
— PFL (@PFLMMA) August 28, 2021
Khaybulaev now moves to the featherweights finals, where he meets Chris Wade, who was victorious earlier in the evening.
Official Result: Movlid Khaybulaev def. Brendan Loughnane by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)