Magomed Umalatov had a highly successful run on the regional scene before joining the PFL in 2021, where he scored wins over Kyron Brown and Leandro Silva in a pair of showcase bouts. Umalatov was supposed to go to the 2022 PFL Playoffs after a first-round knockout of Jarrah Al-Silawi but visa issues prevented him from doing so. The wrestling expert, who trains out of American Top Team, started his 2023 Regular Season with a first-round finish of Dilano Taylor.
Prior to his arrival in the PFL this year, Lopez had an undefeated run of his own in 16 fights (with 15 taking place in his native Mexico), earning regional titles at both welterweight and middleweight. Lopez made his PFL debut in April with a unanimous decision win over Shane Mitchell.
Umalatov clinches a PFL Playoff spot with a win, while Lopez clinches if he scores a finish.
Lopez looked for a level change, but Umalatov landed a couple of hard punches early. Lopez came in for a clinch, but Umalatov landed a jumping knee before the battle went against the SmartCage. Umalatov lands on the body, and Lopez is clearly affected by it. Lopez retreats as Umalatov lands a flurry. Umalatov pins Lopez against the SmartCage briefly. Lopez lands a jab, but his takedown attempt is for naught as Umalatov has a front headlock. Lopez gives up his back, and Umalatov lands from the top. Lopez tries to tie up Umalatov’s hands, but Umalatov locks in an arm-triangle choke.
Lopez survives, but Umalatov remains on top of him. Umalatov fires some big ground-and-pound as Lopez tries to get to his feet. Lopez gets to his feet, but he’s unsteady. Umalatov misses a knee and falls to the ground, as Lopez tries to get on top but he’s still off-balanced. Umalatov fires off some more shots, but Lopez continues to scramble and eventually pins Umalatov against the cage in a clinch! Unbelievable that Lopez survived that!
The two circled around the SmartCage's center to start the fight. A right straight from Umalatov. A small combination by Umalatov, and Lopez answers with his own. Lopez comes forward, as Umalatov lands a jab. Umalatov lands another, but Lopez fires off a left hand. Now a left hand from Umalatov. The pace has certainly slowed after the maddening first round.
The two trade inside, with Lopez targeting the body. One-two from Umalatov before he jumps in and Lopez gets his own one-two. A high kick and combination from Umalatov. A right hand from Lopez. Another exchange, with Umalatov landing at the head. A combination lands inside for Lopez. Umalatov gets nothing on the jumping knee, but he scores a takedown with about 20 seconds left in the round.
The slow pace continues here in this round. Lopez with a low kick but misses a combination to the body. He then goes body-to-head with a one-two. Lopez fends off an attempt by Umalatov to get inside. Both land a low kick, but Umalatov misses a wheel kick. The two trade inside. Lopez misses a right hook. Lopez backs Umalatov up with a left hook. Low kick and a left by Lopez, but the punch is blocked. Umalatov with another low kick.
Umalatov scoops Lopez up and scores another takedown, getting in top guard. Lopez tries to lock up Umalatov’s arms and sit up, though Umalatov moves into half guard. Umalatov lands some ground-and-pound and continues to work, while Lopez briefly looks for a kimura. Umalatov gets back to his feet as the final bell sounds.
Magomed Umalatov defeats Nayib Lopez by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-27) earning 3 points and clinching a playoff spot in the PFL Welterweight Division