We’re back to Welterweight as the action continues from Las Vegas. Shane Mitchell who has finished 12 of his 13 career victories steps into the SmartCage to take on the undefeated Nayib Lopez with Playoff seeding on the line. Mitchell trains at American Top Team and is hoping to bring a PFL World Championship home to his native Australia while Lopez looks to do the same for his native Mexico.
We begin this bout with some feeling out before Lopez closes distance and clinches along the cage, wearing on Mitchell and throwing some short body punches and knees. Lopez changes levels and gets Mitchell to the mat as he tries to lace the legs into full mount but winds up in top half guard.
Lopez throws an illegal knee against a grounded opponent and will be issued a stern warning and lose the position, he seemed to just get a bit ahead of himself as Mitchell was working back to his feet. The ref will take a point from Lopez which makes for an interesting dynamic the rest of the fight as Mitchell lands a big right hand on the reset.
Lopez grinds into the clinch and gets the takedown but only briefly as Mitchell quickly works back to his feet. Lopez gets the back briefly and attempts a standing arm triangle but can’t finish. Mitchell gets in deep on a kimura and sweeps to top position with it before abandoning the round and getting back to his feet where he starts to land his jab well.
Off a Mitchell jab Lopez returns fire with a big uppercut but Mitchell fires back with a nice straight right that lands clean. Lopez comes forward throwing wildly and gets stung with a right hand, stopping in his tracks briefly before tucking his chin and marching forward, shooting a double leg and getting the takedown. Lopez is looking to take Mitchell’s back as the round winds down but Mitchell is defending well and they’ll finish the round trading big uppercuts in the pocket. With the point deduction Lopez may already find himself in need of a finish here.
Round two begins similarly although Mitchell seems a bit more sure of himself at this point, landing a nice right hand before Lopez slips under a punch and takes the back and takes Mitchell to the mat in one fluid motion.
Mitchell is holding onto the neck of Lopez but there’s no real danger there as Lopez does some damage with short punches. Mitchell manages to grab a front headlock and sweep to top position where he manages to grab a scarf hold and crank! Mitchell might be better served just punching here but he’s tightening the scarf hold and now doing some big damage with punches.
All it takes is one mistake and Mitchell makes just that, allowing Lopez to slip out the back door and pop back up to his feet and out of danger. Lopez is right back in on a double leg attempt before transitioning to a single. He briefly gets it but Mitchell holds onto the kimura and uses it to sweep back to his feet.
Lopez is peppering Mitchell with short punches and knees with about a minute remaining in the round before looking for another single leg takedown. With 40 seconds left Lopez gets it and he may be able to steal the round with some big damage here to close it out. Lopez is throwing ground and pound but isn’t landing anything super impactful, though the optics are certainly good for him as the round comes to an end.
We begin our final round with Lopez likely ahead on the judges scorecards and a draw still very much in play. Mitchell lands a nice kick to the body of Lopez who counters with a nice left hand.
Lopez seems to be finding some success with the striking now, landing a nice three-four-three hook combo and chaining his striking into a successful takedown attempt. Mitchell pops right back up to his feet however as Lopez unloads some nice punches from the back in the clinch.
Lopez is alternating between the single leg and high crotch and Mitchell is able to break the clinch but only for a moment as Lopez lands two more nice hooks and then changes levels and lands yet another takedown.
Now Lopez is able to lace the legs of Mitchell and establish strong control along the fence. Again though, Lopez can’t keep the position as Mitchell is able to scoot out, briefly giving up his back before reversing to top position and landing in top half guard.
Lopez cannot be held down however and quickly shrimps out to a hip and gets out from underneath Mitchell. Lopez shoots again and Mitchell attacks a kimura but there’s nothing there. Lopez is now in side-mount landing nice knees to the body and punches while attacking an arm triangle.
The bout will end with Lopez in top position and likely keeping his undefeated record unblemished in an ugly albeit effective fight.
Nayib Lopez wins his PFL debut despite a point deduction and earns three points in the Welterweight division.
Congratulations Nayib Lopez on a Successful PFL debut that win is good for 3 points in the Welterweight standings!#PFLRegularSeason LIVE NOW— PFL (@PFLMMA) April 15, 2023
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Nayib Lopez def. Shane Mitchell by Unanimous Decision (29-27 3X)