Rakim Cleveland Excited to Rematch Vinny Magalhaes and Reverse the Roles of Last Season

By Cole Shelton Aug 6, 2019
Rakim Cleveland knows he has gotten better since he last fought Vinny Magalhaes but he must prove it on Thursday.

The two fought back in PFL 9: 2018 Season PFL Playoffs 2, where he was submitted in the first round by a flying triangle kimura. Since that fight, "The Boogeyman" has been training submission defense and showed that in his last fight against Viktor Nemkov.

"The fight went good. My camp as happy with my submission defense," Cleveland said to Sherdog.com. "At the same time, we are upset because I could have been busier. Overall, that cost me the fight as we were more worried about stopping the takedowns than [imposing] my own game plan."

Although they were happy with aspects of the performance, he still lost the fight. Now, he knows he needs to win if he is going to advance to the playoffs once again. The 30-year-old has been preparing hard for this fight and is ready for anything.

"I am more focused on going out there and doing my job. If a finish presents itself, then that is even better," revealed Cleveland. "Right now, the focus is on going out and fighting a clean fight and not making the same mistake in the last time I fought him. Just securing a win and moving onto the playoffs."

Something going for Cleveland for this fight is the fact that is his second time going up against Magalhaes. "I spent a whole camp working on this guy and studying him. Yeah, he submitted me, but he caught me off guard. I know to expect that, as not many people pull guard but now I expect it. That is his only play. Look, he is not going to outwrestle me or out-strike me, so he is on for a long night coming up."

He knows his submission defense is a lot better and doesn't believe the Brazilian will be able to submit him. Instead, he says he plans on being the aggressor and making it his fight which will get his hand raised.

"It is nothing different, it is the same Vinny. He showed it in his last fight, that him being explosive in [Professional Fighters League], everyone forgets the real Vinny," Cleveland said. "He is a grappler and he doesn't like to get hit and people are figuring that our and exploiting that. I plan on doing the same thing."

Should he win here, Cleveland would punch his ticket to the playoffs. While he doesn't care who he fights, he is glad he is getting the chance to fight Magalhaes again and reverse the roles of last season.

"Honestly, I'm open to fighting anyone in the division. The Vinny fight, and getting revenge and knocking him out of getting into the playoffs would be the icing on the cake. I'm not worried about who I fight. I just know I need to have a good performance in this fight."

In the end, Cleveland is confident in his skills that he will get his hand raised and enter the PFL playoffs where he knows anything can happen. "A win here just shows I am here. My first performance against Nemkov showed my improvements. I have gotten better ever since my last fight."

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