Magomed Umalatov Outpoints Former Bellator Champ Andrey Koreshkov at 2024 PFL 3

Magomed Umalatov has been one of the Professional Fighters League’s best-kept secrets for the last three years, but few will overlook him after ragdolling former Bellator MMA welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov for three rounds Friday night.

Umalatov (15-0) cruised to a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in the PFL 3: 2024 Regular Season main event at Wintrust Center in Chicago. Despite taking Koreshkov down in the first round, Umalatov’s inactivity cost him the round on the judges' scorecards. “Prince” wouldn’t make that mistake again. Over the next 10 minutes, Koreshkov dominated Koreshkov on the mat while smothering all his potential offense. Although the two had 23 knockouts between them coming into the fight, Umalatov wisely decided to turn the fight into a wrestling match. With the win, Umalatov picked up three points in the welterweight standings but trails Murad Ramazanov and Don Madge, who each earned six points in the 2024 PFL Welterweight Regular Season standings.

PFL 2022 featherweight tournament winner Brendan Loughnane (27-5) waited patiently to return to the cage after being knocked out in last year’s campaign, but the mauler from Manchester couldn’t wait any longer to administer violence on Friday. In 1:26 Loughnane dropped Pedro Carvalho twice, forcing Kevin MacDonald to call the bout (TKO) in the first round. Carvalho, who picked up his third-straight loss, disputed the quick stoppage, but couldn’t argue Loughnane’s dominance.

Related » 2024 PFL 3 Regular Season Round-by-Round Scoring

Undefeated prospect Shamil Musaev (15-0-1) may have picked up one of the most impressive wins of the PFL regular season after starching former Bellator interim welterweight champion Logan Storley (15-3) in the second round (0:27).

Storley may have overlooked the unproven Musaev, but nobody will make that mistake again after this fight. Musaev controlled the distance early and hurt Storley with a spinning back kick to the solar plexus. Musaev walloped Storley with every weapon he had and nearly took him out in the first round. As Storley stumbled out for the second frame, Musaev sensed the cobwebs and dusted the former No. 1 contender with a short uppercut. With the win, Musaev picked up five points and crushed an opponent that was viewed as a potential favorite to win the whole tournament.

Gabriel Braga refused to be denied.

After losing the PFL featherweight championship last season, Braga stormed back into the tournament with a first-round knockout over Justin Gonzales (4:59). Braga (13-1) took his time to settle into the fight as Gonzales pushed the pace and looked to dominate in the clinch. Once separated, Braga unleashed his fight-ending power and caught the back-peddling Gonzales on the button with a short and sweet left hook. The punch laid out Gonzales with exactly one second left in the first round, giving Braga a six-point finish and the top spot in the featherweight standings. The win was especially sweet for Braga, who was emotional after winning his first fight without his father Deigo, who was murdered in Brazil three months ago.

Goiti Yamauchi (29-6) returned to the cage a year after knee surgery to face familiar foe Neiman Gracie. Yamauchi may have knocked Gracie out in their first fight two years ago, but he wasn’t able to starch him this time around.

Gracie, however, didn’t take advantage of Yamauchi’s ring rust and was outworked en route to the decision loss (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

Kai Kamaka III may have had an underwhelming start to his career, but he’s starting to pick up steam. “The Fighting Hawaiian" picked up the biggest win of his career on Friday when he became the first to beat PFL veteran Bubba Jenkins in a regular-season bout.

Kamaka (13-5-1) wasn’t phased by Jenkins' (21-8) high pace early and went blow-for-blow with the former NCAA DI wrestling national champion. Jenkins didn’t try to employ his wrestling until the second round and was frustrated by Kamaka’s well-time sprawls. Heading into the final frame tied on the scorecards, Kamaka took the lead with a pace that left Jenkins breathing out his mouth. Although the fight was razor-thin, Kamaka’s consistency and strong finish gave him the nod from all three judges (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

Adam Borics and Enrique Barzola stole the show Friday night with one of the best fights of the PFL Regular Season. Borics nearly sniffed Bellator MMA featherweight gold before falling short to Patrcio Freire. The Hungarian returned after a year and a half layoff, looking to make a strong opening statement, but got more than he bargained for from the punchy Peruvian.

Borics controlled the action early using his four-inch height advantage. He tagged Barzola with jabs and leg kicks and even wobbled his man. Barzola closed the round on a strong note by blasting Borics with a bazooka of a right hand. Borics fell back into the fence and went to his stool with newfound respect. Borics upped the ante in the second round after putting Barzola flat on his back with a perfectly timed pull counter right hand. Barzola stumbled around the cage while Borics threw everything at him looking for the finish he’d never find. Once Barzola cleared his head, he took advantage of Borics’ inconsistent striking and took him down before closing out the round with some ground-and-pound.

The third and final round didn’t disappoint as Barzola went for broke. Borics, with the first two rounds seemingly secured, worked behind his jab but ate several right hands for his trouble. Barzola came forward and pushed the pace, looking for the finish, but the sturdy-chined Borics wouldn’t budge. After 15 minutes of non-stop action, the fight went to the scorecards where Borics was awarded a slim unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

Undefeated Dagestani Ramazanov (12-0, 1 NC) punished Laureano Staropoli for coming in five pounds overweight for their welterweight clash with an easy first-round submission (4:06). Staropoli (13-7) was riding high with a four-fight win streak and thought he could catch the former ONE Championship combatant with a flying knee. Unfortunately for Staropoli, Ramazanov slipped the shot and locked up his clinch. Ramazanov transitioned to Staropoli’s back before eventually passing his guard and securing full mount. Ramazanov peppered Staropoli from above until he ended the fight with a rear-naked choke in the closing minute of the first round.

Timur Khizriev put his undefeated record against one of the most battle-tested featherweights in the field in Brett Johns. Johns has wins in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Bellator and PFL and provided Khizriev with one of his toughest tests to date.

Despite the challenge, Khizriev kept his perfect record intact (15-0) with a gritty unanimous decision win (30-27, 30-27, 30-27). Khizriev kept the fight predominantly on the ground and looked to smother John’s offense. John (20-4) scrambled and reversed position but never threatened Khizriev with a submission. Khizriev’s wrestling-dominant approach wasn’t fan-friendly but it was effective as the Dagestani dominated control time in all three rounds. With the win, Khizriev kept himself in the playoff hunt but he may need to show more elements of his game in his next fight.

Madge and Brennan Ward both have sleep-inducing power in their fists, but Madge wouldn’t give Ward the chance to put him out. Ward opened the fight with a slick uchi mata, but causally allowed Madge back to his feet so they could trade punches in the center. Madge, however, flipped the script and took Ward’s back before submitting him with a rear-naked choke at the 1:02 mark. The first-round finish gave Madge a headstart in the welterweight standings while granting Ward (17-8) his second-straight loss.

After missing the playoffs two years in a row, Team Alpha Male product Tyler Diamond entered his featherweight alternate fight against Otto Rodrigues with much to prove. Rodrigues carried a 13-fight win streak into his PFL debut but had trouble handling Diamond’s power.

Diamond (13-3) put on one of the best performances of his career and dominated Rodrigues en route to a unanimous decision win (30-26, 30-26, 30-27). Rodrigues looked to trade with Diamond early in the fight but was walked down and dropped by Diamond’s rock-hard right hand. Diamond piled on the pressure in the second round and nearly finished Rodrigues, but the Brazillan clinched and survived to the next period. With a damaged eye, Rodrigues came out for the final stanza and nearly pulled off the comeback with a last-minute guillotine, but Diamond popped out and secured the win.

Thad Jean made his case for a spot in next year’s PFL welterweight tournament with a devastating first-round knockout of Romain Debienne. Standing 6-foot-2, “Silverback” used his superior reach to club Debienne around the center of the cage. After clipping Debienne with a left hook, Jean followed up with a slick uppercut that sent the Frenchman to the canvas. Jean finished off his foe at 2:07 with a flurry of blows to improve his record to 7-0.

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