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PFL 2018 playoffs: Lightweight and light heavyweight tournament previews

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Nearing the end of the year, the lightweight and light heavyweight ranks will inch closer to elimination for the final show in December for the Professional Fighters League. In the third to last show of the year, some more interesting action matchups have been set, and it’s all or nothing for some of the fighters on this card.

Former UFC and Bellator fighter Will Brooks (20-4) will have to contend against the very tough Rashid Magomedov (21-2). Former M-1 star Maxim Grishin — a fighter favored by many to run away with the whole thing at light heavyweight — gets set to face former World Series of Fighting champion Smealinho Rama (11-4). Grishin’s athleticism and complete overall game will be tested against a very strong athlete that has a ferocious approach to his fights and a kill or be killed attitude.

Emiliano Sordi (17-7) may not have had things go his way on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, but he made a massive statement in his PFL debut. He hopes to keep that gravy train rolling against extra crafty veteran Bozigit Ataev (19-2). Hard-hitting Rakim Cleveland (19-10, 1 draw) faces former M-1 champ and former UFC fighter (and grappling supernova) Vinny Magalhães (16-9).

In a curious matchup, Thiago Tavares (22-8, 1 draw) is set against Islam Mamedov (15-2). Surprising prospect Natan Schulte (13-3) tries to stay undefeated under the PFL banner after submitting Jason High in his last outing as he prepares for former UFC talent Johnny Case (24-6). Case makes his organizational debut after a previous bout with Jason High was cancelled due to High missing weight.

Former Bellator talent Brandon Halsey (11-4) fights former UFC fighter Ronny Markes (18-6), and Ramsey Nijem (9-7) takes on Shooto and VTJ vet Yuki Kawana (14-3, 5 draws).

Just as a reminder, in order to reach the final, you’ll have to win the quarterfinals and semifinals on the same night. The quarterfinal fights are two rounds, while the semifinals are scheduled for three. You can read the rules on tiebreakers here.

Full card is as follows (card order subject to change)

Vinny Magalhães vs Rakim Cleveland – Light Heavyweight

Natan Schulte vs Johnny Case – Lightweight

Emiliano Sordi vs Bozigit Ataev – Light Heavyweight

Chris Wade vs Robert Watley – Lightweight

Dan Spohn vs Sean O’Connell – Light heavyweight

Islam Mamedov vs Thiago Tavares – Lightweight

Maxim Grishin vs Smealinho Rama – Light heavyweight

Will Brooks vs Rashid Magomedov – Lightweight

Brandon Halsey vs Ronny Markes – Light heavyweight

Ramsey Nijem vs Yuki Kawana – Lightweight

Tournament brackets:

Lightweights


Light Heavyweights


PFL #9: Playoffs airs this Saturday, October 13th from Long Beach, California and will have the prelims streaming live and free via their Facebook page at 6:45 PM ET. The main card will be televised on NBC Sports Network starting at 9:00 PM ET.


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