Both competitors in tonight’s welterweight title fight have won the gold before and are searching to become two-time PFL World champions.
A kickboxing and Muay Thai world champion, Sabidou Sy finally found a winning groove in the PFL in 2022. Sy scored decision wins over Nikolay Aleksakhin, Rory MacDonald, Carlos Leal and Dilano Taylor to capture the PFL Welterweight World Championship. Now, Sy has been on the path to a repeat performance. Sy earned finishes of Jarrah Al-Silawi and Shane Mitchell in the regular season, the latter coming from an unbelievable spinning wheel kick, before another win over Leal in the semifinals to earn another chance at gold and $1 million.
Magomed Magomedkerimov was the first-ever PFL Welterweight World Champion, coming out on top in the 2018 season. Magomedkerimov was on the path to potentially winning the title again in 2019 before illness got in the way, and he came up just short in the 2021 finals against old rival Ray Cooper III. After not competing in the 2022 postseason, Magomedkerimov, who has trained with Khabib Nurmagomedov and the late Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, defeated Gleison Tibau by decision in a Showcase bout during the 2022 World Championships before coming back with a vengeance in 2023. Magomedkerimov earned the No. 1 seed with first-round finishes of Ben Egli and David Zawada before a decision win over Solomon Renfro in the semifinals.
Who will have their second taste of a PFL world title and $1 million prize?
The two feel each other out in the center of the SmartCage. Magomedkerimov uses pressure to try to force Sy back. Magomedkerimov locks up with Sy as the two pummel for control in a clinch position. Knee to the body by Sy. Magomedkerimov with a knee to the side. Magomedkerimov with a knee to the body. Sy with another knee. Magomedkerimov tries to outwrestle him, but Sy keeps his defenses up. The referee calls for action, and Magomedkerimov is able to lock up and take Sy down. Magomedkerimov tries to take the back and puts in some ground-and-pound. Sy gets back to his feet and reverses position, getting Magomedkerimov’s back to the fence.
Magomedkerimov forces his way off the fence. Sy with a knee to the stomach. Both men look for a hip toss, and Magomedkerimov gets it. Sy, however, quickly gets up and tries to bring pressure to Magomedkerimov. Left hand by Magomedkerimov. Left hand by Sy. Sy misses a high kick. Magomedkerimov misses a low side kick. A front kick from Sy doesn’t land. Left hand by Magomedkerimov. Sy misses a right hand. Stomping kick by Magomedkerimov. Magomedkerimov cracks Sy with a right hand, and Sy is in retreat. Sy changes level and locks up with Magomedkerimov against the fence before the end of the round.
Low kick from Magomedkerimov. Sy responds with his own. Another low kick from Magomedkerimov causes Sy to lose his balance. Sy gets back up and pins Magomedkerimov against the PFL SmartCage. Magomedkerimov executes a hip toss, but Sy is right back to his feet. Sy with a knee inside. Another knee from Sy. And again. The two trade knees in the center of the SmartCage. Sy escapes from Magomedkerimov’s body lock. Magomedkerimov with a straight right to the body. Magomedkerimov grabs a hold of Sy’s leg and scores a takedown. Sy is back to his feet, but he is the one pinned against the fence now.
Sy is able to reverse position and go chest-to-chest with Magomedkerimov against the fence. The two separate with about two minutes left in the round. Round kick to the chest by Sy. He goes for it again, but Magomedkerimov throws a left hand. Sy with another kick. Magomedkerimov catches a kick, but Sy gets out of dodge. Sy lands a hook. One-two from Magomedkerimov. Magomedkerimov dodges a high kick from Sy.
Sy opens with a couple of low kicks. Magomedkerimov catches a kick and makes Sy lose balance once more. Magomedkerimov tries to press forward, but he has to get something working. Magomedkerimov lands a straight blow to the body that appears to damage Sy. Magomedkerimov is able to lock in a guillotine attempt and he gets the submission!
Five years after becoming the inaugural PFL Welterweight World Champion, Magomedkerimov has re-captured the title!
Magomed Magomedkerimov def. Sadibou Sy via third-round submission (guillotine choke, 1:17)