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PFL 2018 Week #5 preview: High vs. Schulte headlines on Long Island

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Just a few more events to go for the regular season of this year’s PFL series, and the matchups continue to be compelling. The format is still interesting yet troublesome, as injuries and other problems continue to complicate matters.

For starters, Brian Foster was replaced by Natan Schulte due to injury, as Schulte steps in against Jason High. Efrain Escudero vs Islam Mamedov was cancelled as Escudero missed weight by just over seven pounds.

That said, it’s hard not to have an interesting card when you have a stable of fighters with a known and high baseline of talent. The main fight should be a firm test for both competitors, as American Top Team’s Schulte (12-2) just won a fight against former UFC fighter Chris Wade by decision in June, while High (21-7)suffered a submission loss to Escudero (via guillotine choke) at that same event.

Former UFC fighter (and former M-1 champ) Vinny Magalhães (15-9) brings his lethal BJJ skills against former Bellator fighter Brandon Halsey (11-3). Magalhães submitted Aussie Jamie Abdallah by rear naked choke in his last outing, as Halsey won via eye injury doctor stoppage against former World Series of Fighting champion Smealinho Rama.

Rashid Magomedov (20-2) makes his PFL debut after negotiations to re-sign with the UFC were unfruitful. Going 5-1 with the organization, he holds wins over Bobby Green (split decision), Gilbert Burns (unanimous decision), and Elias Silverio (TKO). A former M-1 champ, Magomedov is a reliable grinder with a strong pressure game and controlling wrestling. He’ll be dealing with battle-hardened Luiz Firmino (20-9). A veteran of M-1, PRIDE, and World Series of Fighting, Firmino’s been consistent until a recent series of fights that include losses to Justin Gaethje, Brian Foster and last month’s loss to former Bellator champ Will Brooks.

Speaking of Brooks (19-4), he still seems primed to make it far or win the whole thing at this point with another win this week should he get past former LFA lightweight champ Robert Watley (11-1) coming off a win over Thiago Tavares.

Tavares himself (21-8, 1 draw) will be welcoming fellow Brazilian Arthur Estrázulas (10-3), while Chris Wade (12-4) attempts to bounce back from his decision loss to Natan Schulte as he faces Yuki Kawana (14-2, 5 draws). Former Bellator fighter (and Ultimate Fighter contestant and Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series contestant) Dan Spohn (17-5) tries to make it six in a row against the Artur Alibulatov (19-3), who also makes his PFL debut. Former M-1 Maxim Grishin will try to advance further against Rakim Cleveland (19-9, 1 draw).

Full card is as follows:

Natan Schulte vs Jason High

Vinny Magalhães vs Brandon Halsey

Will Brooks vs Robert Watley

Rashid Magomedov vs Luiz Firmino

Maxim Grishin vs Rakim Cleveland

Preliminary Card (

Chris Wade vs Yuki Kawana

Dan Spohn vs Artur Alibulatov

Thiago Tavares vs Arthur Estrázulas

Prelims are scheduled to stream live and free via Facebook starting at 6:45pm EST, while the main card begins at 8:00pm EST live on NBC Sports.

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