Owning the two fastest KOs in PFL Heavyweight history, Renan Ferreira seeks to make quick work of former Eagle FC Heavyweight champion Rizvan Kuniev who has not lost a bout in over seven years. That seven plus year stretch has seen Kuniev win 10 straight bouts as he makes his PFL debut looking to continue his winning ways. Ferreira seeks a return to form after losing to 2022 PFL World Champion Ante Delija in last year’s semi finals. The big strong guy bowl is upon us, make sure you don’t blink!
We’re underway as Ferreira opens up with a teep kick that Kuniev nearly catches. The fighters reset and size each other up before Kuniev lands a big left hook and a right hand behind it and then changes levels. Ferreira is doing a good job defensively so far, fighting Kuniev off and preventing him from dropping to the hips.
Ferreira is able to circle off after landing a nice knee to the body but Kuniev keeps the pressure on, blitzing and hurting Ferreira before clinching once again and pummeling for underhooks. Kuniev is working hard to keep the pressure on here and he’s doing a good job of mixing in short shots and doing some damage.
Kuniev briefly looks like he’s going to elevate and toss Ferreira but Ferreira defends expertly, flipping his hips and planting himself as Kuniev lands two big knees to the body.
Kuniev is imposing his game plan so far, not allowing the massive Ferreira to strike from range and use his reach advantage and instead turning this into an ugly grind. Ferreira is briefly able to reverse position but makes a mistake, allowing Kuniev to take him down and almost take his back but Ferreira shows a sense of urgency and gets right back to his feet as Kuniev unloads a massive left hook on him up against the fence.
Ferreira opens the second round with the same front kick he used to knock out Jamelle Jones. Ferreira makes another mistake though, going for a flying knee and allowing Kuniev to sweep his leg on the landing and winding up on his back, right where Kuniev wants him. Ferreira looks to attack a leg lock and Kuniev gets away with a bad cage grab.
Kuniev stays heavy on top but not for long as Ferreira is able to bridge sweep to top half guard and then pass to mount, attacking an arm triangle and landing some heavy body shots. Kuniev is just stuck under Ferreira now as Ferreira continues to attack the arm triangle but now it’s Kuniev hitting a nice sweep and landing on top, but he’s not out of danger as Ferreira isolates an arm in the scramble and gets in fairly deep on an arm bar.
Kuniev does a good job of using the fence to prevent Ferreira from getting the angle to finish the arm bar, patiently working to free his arm before landing on top and landing some big punches as Ferreira attempts to work back to his feet. Kuniev lands a massive shot from top half guard as Ferreira is attempting to build back to his base but it may be too little too late as the 10 second clapper hits and the round will come to a close with Kuniev on top.
We begin our final stanza and Ferreira likely needs a finish to win the fight at this point, opening the round with a heavy leg kick before Kuniev comes forward with a nice hook and is able to clinch once again, but not before eating another big shot from Ferreira.
The fighters are doing some dirty boxing along the fence, exchanging uppercuts as the referee calls for more activity. They break and Ferreira attempts to frame off but eats two bombs for his troubles before Kuniev re-engages the clinch.
Herb Dean again calls for more work and now Ferreira is able to hit a toss that lands both men on their back, but Kuniev is able to secure top control as Ferreira seemingly just ceded the position. Kuniev takes the back now and lands some big shots but Ferreira is able to work back to his feet and we’re back to the clinch where most of this bout has taken place.
Once again Kuniev is able to drag Ferreira down to the mat and Ferreira looks exhausted at this point with two minutes to go. Kuniev is able to slide into mount with 90 seconds remaining and opens up, landing some absolute hammers as Ferreira attempts to free himself and get back to his feet.
Kuniev is heavy on top and back in the top half guard now, posturing up and continuing to do damage to Ferreira as the round ticks down. As the round is coming to a close, Ferriera looks to isolate a leg of Kuniev and attempt a knee bar, but he’ll just run out of time here as the bell rings and the fight ends.
Rizvan Kuniev shines in his PFL debut, proving he is the new big strong guy in town and one to watch in the Heavyweight division as he earns three points.
Rizvan Kuniev def. Renan Ferreira by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)