Sadibou Sy has been a constant presence in the postseason, as this marks his fifth straight time gunning for the PFL welterweight crown. Last year was a season to remember for Sy, as he defeated Nikolay Aleksakhin, Rory MacDonald, Carlos Leal and Dilano Taylor to become the 2022 PFL welterweight champion. Now looking for his second title in a row, Sy earned the No. 3 seed with finishes of Jarrah Al-Silawi and Shane Mitchell.
Leal, however, will be looking to avenge his loss to Sy in last year’s semi final. That postseason opportunity came for Leal after highlights of his own, defeating Chris Brown in the 2022 Challenger Series before a short-notice fight that saw him defeat then-defending, Two-Time PFL Welterweight World Champion Ray Cooper III. Leal earned the No. 2 seed this postseason with TKOs of David Zawada and Taylor.
Who will move on to face Magomed Magomedkerimov this November for the 2023 PFL Welterweight World Championship?
Note: Leal must win via a finish, or by two points or more in the case of a decision, due to missing weight
Sy with a couple of low kicks, but Leal coming forward with some punches, looking to be aggressive and take control early. Sy lands low with a kick and we get a brief timeout. Both throw kicks on the fight’s resumption. Leal goes in for a takedown, but Sy puts up a strong defense, as Sy backs him up to the SmartCage. A knee that lands on Sy’s groin and we get another timeout. Upon resumption, Leal tries to throw a couple of strong body shots, but Sy gets out of the way.
Leal comes forward with a takedown attempt, but Sy shoves him off. Sy drops Leal with a right hand, but Leal gets back up. Low kick by Leal. Leal with a combination that only hits air, but he tries to level change again. Sy, however, grabs him and pins him against the fence. Sy with a knee to the body in the clinch, and he ends up on the ground on top in Leal’s guard. The two are back to their feet as they battle in a clinch. Sy lands a few knees. Both men land knees. The two battle for control in the clinch. A Sy head kick is blocked. Sy attempts a jumping knee but doesn’t quite connect. Leal pins Sy against the fence, where the round ends.
Low kick by Sy as Leal tries to be aggressive early again. Leal grabs one of Sy’s legs. After some resistance from Sy, Leal lifts the leg and scores the takedown. Leal gets into side position. Leal keeps position as he works some small strikes on Sy’s head. Sy’s preventing Leal’s position from improving, but Sy isn’t doing anything to work on his either.
Leal looks for a kimura, but Sy fights it off. Leal gets into half guard as he lands some hammer fists from up top. Leal pressures more up top. Leal gets into full mount, but Sy scrambles and now he’s the one on top! Leal gets to his feet and it’s another clinch battle against the SmartCage. The clinch battle is where this one remains for the rest of the round.
Leal shoots in for a takedown to start the round and presses Sy up against the SmartCage. The two engage in some struggle against the fence again. Leal continues to press as the round enters its second minute, but Sy defends well. Sy gets himself off the fence, but he’s quickly put back up against it. Sy finally gets Leal off and throws a head kick. Sy follows with a nasty knee up the middle. Leal gets Sy back up against the fence.
Leal lands a couple of knees in the clinch against the SmartCage. The ref calls for separation with less than two minutes to go and the two do some exchanging before Leal presses Sy against the fence once more. Leal misses a spinning back fist. Sy goes for a wheel kick. Leal comes forward swinging wildly, only to press Sy against the SmartCage yet again. Leal lands a couple of knees.
Sadibou Sy def. Carlos Leal via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)