Las Vegas — After visa struggles hampered his efforts to win a second PFL title last year, Magomed Magomedkermiov returned to action in style at the 2023 PFL 3 card in Las Vegas this past Friday.
The Russian welterweight stormed out of the gate to start the season, knocking out Ben Egli with a highlight reel head kick. The quick finish was by design, he told Cageside Press following the bout.
“Of course I was planning to finish as fast as I can, because I wanted to grab that first spot in the rankings.”
Magomedkerimov (32-6) was the inaugural PFL welterweight champ, at least as far as the season format is concerned (Jon Fitch, who held gold at 170lbs with the PFL’s precursor, the World Series of Fighting, technically defended that title at PFL Daytona in 2017, the year prior to the league launching its first full season).
Since his 2018 championship, however, the Russian has struggled to replicate that success. 2019 saw him drop out of the season due to illness; in 2021, he was knocked out in the final by Ray Cooper III. Then came 2022, where issues obtaining a visa to fight in the U.S. saw him miss the first fight of the season.
“People must have forgot that I’m a former champion of the organization,” Magomedkerimov admitted following his win over Egli. “It’s my plan to remind everyone that I’m here for a reason. I’m here to stay, I’m here to grab another title and a million dollars.”
With six points in hand, Magomedkerimov doesn’t have his eye on any particular opponent for the second round of regular season fights in June. “No specific name to be honest. Whoever, whenever, the PFL put in front of me, I will be ready to fight.”
There is one name out there that Magomed Magomedkerimov is very familiar with: teammate Magomed Umalatov, who also secured six points on Friday. Should that fight happen, both fighters expressed on Friday that they’d want it to be for the championship.
“Obviously I feel we deserve to be in the finals, and if it will happen, it will be an amazing fight for the fans,” stated Magomedkerimov.
Watch the full 2023 PFL 3 post-fight press scrum with Magomed Magomedkerimov above.