Chris Wade has constantly come so close, and yet so far in the PFL at both featherweight and lightweight. He has made the playoffs in all four seasons, even making the featherweight championship bout in 2021, but has always come up short. Now, however, he needs a big performance to make the PFL playoffs for a record fifth time.
A wrestler from Long Island, Wade is 10-6 in the PFL and has dropped two straight, including losing his first 2023 season bout with Bubba Jenkins.
Fluent in karate, judo and wrestling, Ryoji Kudo also needs a big win to follow up on a noteworthy 2022 season. Last year, Kudo lost to eventual featherweight champion Brendan Loughnane on a technical decision before a solid first-round knockout of Alejandro Flores. That finish got him into last year’s playoffs, but he lost to Jenkins in the semifinals.
Kudo also looks to rebound from a loss at the start of the 2023 season, as he dropped a decision to 2021 PFL Featherweight World Champion Movlid Khaybulaev.
The loser of this fight is eliminated from playoff contention, while the winner will have to wait and see how the remaining featherweight fights play out.
Wade quickly gets to work, pinning Kudo up against the SmartCage before Kudo is able to reverse. The two break off, and Kudo is able to catch Wade coming with a right hand to the face that bloodies Wade up. Wade tries to get Kudo down, but Kudo sprawls out. Wade gets Kudo up against the cage again and looks for underhooks.
Wade comes forward, but Kudo is able to catch him with strong inside strikes. Wade tries to sweep Kudo’s legs out from under him, but Kudo is able to counter. Kudo now has Wade against the SmartCage, as Wade stays on Kudo.
Three-punch combination from Kudo is countered by a body lock and takedown from Wade. Wade gets a front headlock and he’s able to grab a guillotine choke! Wade chokes Kudo unconscious!
Chris Wade gets six points and keeps his PFL Playoffs dreams alive!
Chris Wade def. Ryoji Kudo via first-round technical submission (guillotine choke, 4:15)