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Linton Vassell: Prior Win Gives Advantage in PFL 4 Trilogy Bout


Linton Vassell (23-9) believes his recent win over Valentin Moldavsky (13-3) gives him the edge going into their trilogy bout.

Vassell and Moldavsky will headline 2024 PFL 4 Regular Season, featuring heavyweights and women flyweights, on June 13 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The pair clashed for the first time at Bellator 218 in 2019, when Moldavsky beat Vassell via unanimous decision. “Big Swarm” exacted revenge in their rematch at Bellator 292 in March 2023, starching Moldavsky with a right hand followed by some ground-and-pound in the very first round. The two will now look to settle the rivalry in a trilogy clash.

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While Moldavsky has since rebounded with back-to-back wins, Vassell expects the Russian’s lone stoppage loss to loom large in the back of his mind going into PFL 4. Vassell also deemed Moldavsky shy to trade in his unanimous decision over his Kill Cliff FC teammate Steve Mowry.

“One hundred percent. I’m the only guy to finish him, like knocking him out clean” Vassell said at PFL media day. “And it wasn’t even a back-and-forth fight. I was winning [the] majority of the fight, he took me down twice but no damage. And I was able to land the hook and obviously the ground-and-pound. And for someone that’s never been finished like that, I know that’s in the back of his mind. I’m his last loss and I saw when he fought my friend Steve, he was shy. He was shy strike again so I know that’s in the back of his head. And obviously he wanted to grapple and I’m happy with that, grappling. More of a grappler than a striker. But I’m going to be ready for all aspects. But I definitely do think I have the edge leading into this fight.”

Vassell started his Professional Fighters League 2024 regular season with a third-round TKO loss against Denis Goltsov in his SmartCage debut in April. Prior to that, Vassell was riding a five-fight winning streak that included four finishes. While Vassell naturally likes to finish fights, he has learned his fair share of lessons to be patient. However, Vassell will certainly be on the lookout for one as a finish vastly increases his chances of making it to the playoffs.

“So, to be honest, all my fights, it’s not that I try and force the win but finish most of my guys first round,” the 41-year-old said. “I don’t have to fall into [a] trap or my pressure game’s just a little too much for them, but I’m finishing most of these guys first round or early second. I’ve learned my lesson not to try and force anything but I do need points so I’ll be looking for the finish in effect that if I see an opening, I will go for it but I won’t just go in there and just try and rush him for no reason. Cause he’s a dangerous, dangerous guy. But like I said, we do need some points and we’ll looking for that finish as soon as it comes.”
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