Magalhaes defends his #1 seed versus Cleveland at PFL 9

PFL 9 Results & Clips: Vinny Magalhaes vs. Sean O’Connell, Natan Schulte vs. Rashid Magomedov set for $1 Million finals

Long Beach, California – The second leg of the PFL $1 million playoffs continued at PFL 9 as the lightweights and light heavyweights threw down twice in one night for a spot in the $1 million finals on New Year’s Eve.  Read on for live updating results & highlights from all the fights!


PFL 9 Light Heavyweight Playoffs:

Win 2 fights in 1 night to advance!
Quarterfinals are two rounds, in case of a draw the winner of round 1 advances



205: Vinny Magalhaes (18-9, #1 Seed, #25 World)  Sub1  Bozigit Ataev (20-3, #4 Seed, #48 World)

Vinny Magalhaes continued his reign of terror in the PFL light heavyweight ranks by pulling guard and cinching a submission for a second straight fight.  Ataev tried hard to scramble away from Vinny’s early takedown, only to fall into the Brazilian’s web after stumbling into the clinch.  Vinny used an omoplata sweep to work to top control, and it wasn’t long before he cranked his second kimura finish of the evening.  Awesome stuff from Magalhaes, who will be tasked with trying to submit durable brawler Sean O’Connell in the New Years’ Eve $1 Million finals.

205: Sean O’Connell (20-10, #6 Seed, #62 World)  KO1  Smealinho Rama (11-5-1, #7 Seed, #87 World)

Fireworks ensued as soon as the bell rang, with ex-WSOF champ Rama pinging O’Connell with crisp jabs but going down on his butt the first time he tasted a power punch from the “Real OC”.  Rama got back to his feet and appeared to regain control with a series of nasty punches that back O’Connell into the cage.  Yet O’Connell was still far from done, as he absorbed Rama’s attempts to finish with liver shots  and fired back with a short left hook that splattered Rama down on the mat!  O’Connell leapt on top and fired away with thudding left handed punches that put Rama out cold and booked the 11 year veteran a ticket to the $1 million finals on New Years’ Eve.  That would be quite a retirement fight for Sean O’Connell, though his post-fight interview indicated that he’s thinking twice about retirement following all of this success!





205: Vinny Magalhaes (17-9, #1 Seed, #25 World)  Sub1  Rakim Cleveland (19-11-1, #8 Seed, #38 World)

BJJ wizard Vinny Magalhaes looked like a man ready to make a million bucks as he scored a third straight quick finish in the PFL.  Rakim Cleveland made the mistake of initiating the clinch, which gave Vinny a chance to pull guard into a flying triangle choke.  With that still cinched in, Magalhaes grabbed an arm and torqued a kimura that earned him the round 1 submission.  Awesome stuff from Vinny, who authored the biggest highlight of the PFL 9 quarterfinals and barely broke a sweat in the process.

Winner faces winner of:

205: Bozigit Ataev (20-2, #4 Seed, #48 World)  TKO1  Emiliano Sordi (17-8, #5 Seed, #76 World)

The elder statesman of PFL 2018, 39 year old Bozigit Ataev scored a second straight massive knockout at the expense of Argentina’s Sordi.  “He-Man” went down from the first punch that he felt from the Dagestani, but did a nice job threatening a triangle choke before using an omoplata sweep to get to his feet.  All that effort from Sordi proved to be for naught, as Ataev put a stamp on the fight moments later with a right hand that had Sordi checking to make sure his eye was still intact.  Nasty stuff from the onetime Pride alum Bozigit Ataev, who has looked awesome since temporarily relocating to the US following his season-opening loss at PFL 2.



205: Sean O’Connell (19-10, #6 Seed, #62 World)  MD2  Dan Spohn (18-6, #3 Seed, #35 World)

The taller man Spohn started well by using his range to score with sharp counter strikes, but the soon-to-be-retired O’Connell offered a characteristically zombielike performance by eating tons of shots and still coming forward.  Spohn won round 1 on all three scorecards, but O’Connell seriously picked up the pace in round 2 and put Spohn on rubber legs when he hit the mark with powerful hooks that ultimately dropped him against the cage.  “The Real OC” couldn’t find the finish but he ended the round strong with a guillotine try after several minutes of top control.  That work was good enough to earn O’Connell a 10-8 on two judges’ scorecards for the 19-19, 19-18, 19-18 majority decision.

Winner faces winner of:

205: Smealinho Rama (11-4-1, #7 Seed, #87 World)  draw  Maxim Grishin (28-7-1, #2 Seed, #18 World)  –  Rama advanced

Grishin & Rama left plenty to judges’ interpretation in this often tentative fight that saw both men largely neutralize each other on the feet.  Rama may have landed better strikes, especially a nice straight left & head kick near the end of round 1.  Grishin scored judo throw takedowns in rounds 1 and 2, but couldn’t do anything with them and landed nothing much on the feet.  The judges scored it a draw, but Rama won round 1 to advance to the playoff semifinals via tiebreaker.




PFL 9 Lightweight Playoffs:

Win 2 fights in 1 night to advance!
Quarterfinals are two rounds, in case of a draw the winner of round 1 advances



155: Natan Schulte (14-3-1, #1 Seed, #60 World)  SD3  Chris Wade (14-5, #4 Seed, #99 World)

This rematch of PFL 2 suggested that the first result was no fluke, as Brazilian upstart Natan Schulte again demonstrated the surprising wrestling superiority that led to his initial upset over collegiate wrestling star Chris Wade.  The tension was thick as Wade started hot with a flying kick – per recently-minted tradition – which seemed to draw a firey response from Schulte.  Wade had a great moment when he wobbled Schulte with a spinning back elbow a minute in, but Schulte responded by taking control in the wrestling domain for the rest of round 1.  The wrestling clinic paused at the start of round 2, as Schulte engaged on the feet and ate quite a few midpower punches and kicks in the process. Both men landed big power punches in the middle portion of round 2, with Wade landing more but Schulte landing the hardest punch & kick of the exchanges.  Wade got fired up as the round progressed, shouting in Schulte’s face and landing serious punches until Schulte scored a surprisingly easy takedown with 90 seconds to work.  A late RNC try from Schulte bore no fruit, which sent the best fight of the PFL 9 event into a third round.  Schulte tipped his hand with early takedown tries, but for the first time in the fighters’ two fight series he didn’t have the energy to off-balance Wade.  Both men resorted to standing in a phonebooth, slugging away with tired arms.  Most of the offense was coming from Wade by the end of the fight, with both men looking as tired as you might expect from fighters competing in their fifth round of the evening.  Grueling, entertaining fight that saw Schulte march forward to the final bell while Wade countered with everything he had.  An awesome exchange in the last 10 seconds saw Wade punctuate his efforts with a spinning elbow after Schulte cracked him with a flush standing knee.  Easy fight to score if you’re a judge, you can give it to anyone you like!  Two of the judges favored Natan Schulte, who moved to 2-0 against Chris Wade and booked himself a $1 million fight versus Rashid Magomedov by the narrowest of margins.

155:  Rashid Magomedov (22-2-1, #7 Seed, #26 World)  TKO2  Thiago Tavares (22-10-1, #6 Seed, #100 World)

After advancing when Islam Mamedov pulled out due to injury, Thiago Tavares faced off with a second straight tough Dagestani and came up short once more against heady kickboxer Rashid Magomedov.   Magomedov pitched a shutout in round 1 as he bounced comfortably at distance, mesmerizing Tavares into inactivity and occasionally landing a kick.  The Dagestani picked up the pace with increasingly flashy kicks late in the first frame, including a flashy spinning hook kick that touched the Brazilian.  Tavares had a moment of hope in round 2 as he used all of his remaining energy fighting for a leglock.  When that submission failed, Magomedov pounced with fierce ground strikes to the body that left Tavares curled up in the fetal position with about 90 seconds left in round 2!  Your first million dollar finalist in the lightweight bracket is Rashid “Gorets” Magomedov, who scored his first finish since TKO’ing Elias Silverio at a UFC event four years ago.




155: Natan Schulte (13-3-1, #1 Seed, #60 World)  draw  Johnny Case (24-6-1, #8 Seed, #114 World)  –  Schulte advanced

One of the surprise breakout stars of the PFL 2018 regular season, Brazil’s Natan Schulte had little trouble topping recent UFC lightweight Johnny Case in this measured 10 minute contest.  Schulte worked body kicks and used potent wrestling to down “Hollywood” and sprint out to a big lead after round 1.  Schulte essentially took round 2 off as he danced backward and skillfully forced Case to swing at air for most of 5 minutes.  Schulte makes it look easy as he advanced to the semis via round 1 tiebreaker.

Winner faces winner of:

155: Chris Wade (14-4, #4 Seed, #99 World)  MD2  Robert Watley (11-3, #5 Seed, #65 World)

Amateur wrestling star Chris Wade got off to another blazing start in this one, tagging Watley with a side kick before controlling the first two minutes on the mat.  After Watley briefly reversed position, Wade got to his feet and executed a beautiful judo toss from the clinch.  The seven-time Octagon veteran ran away with the tiebreaking round 1 late as he slipped to back mount and threatened Watley with an RNC.  The New Yorker repeated the same sequence in round 2, taking down Watley and methodically advancing to back mount.  Watley sprinted to the finish line by scrambling to Wade’s back, but he couldn’t do much of anything with it.  Clear decision for Chris Wade, who didn’t thrill but did dominate en route to a semifinal berth.



155: Islam Mamedov (16-2, #3 Seed, #70 World)  UD2  Thiago Tavares (22-9-1, #6 Seed, #100 World)  –  Mamedov injured, Taveres advances

This fight boasted a brief momentum of excitement in round 1, which saw Tavares & Mamedov score a dual knockdown when they landed simultaneous left hooks.  The rest of the fight saw Eagles MMA member & Khabib training partner Mamedov use takedowns and top control to cruise to a tournament semifinal matchup against Dagestani countryman Rashid Magomedov.  Except!  Mamedov pulled out with injury, so Tavares advanced to take on Magomedov in the quarters.

Winner faces winner of:

155: Rashid Magomedov (21-2-1, #7 Seed, #26 World)  Draw  Will Brooks (20-4-1, #2 Seed, #20 World)  –  Magomedov advanced

If you’ve seen UFC vets Magomedov & Brooks engage in a striking contest before, then you knew what to expect when these two patient kickboxers faced off in this two-round quarterfinals contest.  Magomedov did his best work with kicks and landed more strikes overall, claiming the first round on all 3 scorecards.  The decision came out a draw, but the Dagestani advanced to the semifinal round via first round winner tiebreaker.


PFL 9 Alternate Bouts:


155: Ramsey Nijem (10-7, #260 World)  UD2  Yuki Kawana (14-4-5, #242 World)

UFC vet Nijem started hot with a flying kick but settled into a round of wrestling domination that earned him 10-8 marks on all 3 scorecards.  Nijem took the back for much of round 1 and early in round 2 before Kawana enjoyed a mild top control rally late .  Good enough for Ramsey to cement himself as the lightweight tourney alternate in case of injury.


205: Brandon Halsey (12-4, #49 World)  UD2  Rony Markes (18-7, #67 World)

Hard-luck alternate Halsey missed making the playoffs by tiebreaker despite finishing one of his two PFL regular season contests.  The former Bellator champ left nothing to chance in this one as he plowed through Markes’ insufficient takedown defense and controlled from bell-to-bell en route to the unanimous decision win.


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