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Chris Wade was tired of losing to Russians, so he did something about it at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Wade, last year's Professional Fighters League lightweight runner-up, entered Thursday's PFL 5: 2019 Regular Season main event with an 0-3 record against fighters from Mother Russia. He was determined to change that against Akhmed Aliev and he did. "The Long Island Killer" used an assortment of kicks to the legs, body and head to confound Aliev (18-5) throughout their matchup and it paid off.
Wade (16-5) hurt Aliev to the body a few times and kept "Butcher' guessing throughout. Aliev continuously tried getting on the inside and make it a dirty brawl, but the American's offense was superior and he wound up winning a unanimous decision for his effort. In the end, all three judges saw it 29-28 for Wade, who picked up three points and solidifying the third seed in this year's PFL lightweight playoffs.
Lance Palmer won the PFL's featherweight tournament last year and he's well on his way to repeating the feat this year. Palmer (19-3) survived several opening-round submission attempts from Brazil's Luis Rafael Laurentino, only to use his All-American wrestling prowess to turn the tides. Finally, after taking "Japa" down in the third, "The Party" was relentless. Palmer was all over Laurentino (34-2) on the ground and when he gave up his back, Palmer unloaded punches until referee Liam Kerrigan stopped it. The end came at 2:45 of the third, giving Palmer four points and the No. 1 overall seed in the featherweight playoffs.
Nate Andrews (16-2) survived multiple takedowns and landed the overall better punches against Russia's Rashid Magomedov to win a unanimous decision. "The Snake" was on the defensive early, but Andrews wound out going head-to-head with Magomedov (23-4) on the ground, an area most expected he'd be in over his head. The fight was close and many observers felt that Magomedov, last year's runner-up, did enough to win, but all three cageside judges saw it 29-28 for Andrews, who earned three points in the lightweight division.
Featherweight contender Alex Gilpin (13-2) scored a huge win against jiu jitsu practitioner Freddy Assuncao as he put the Brazilian to sleep with a wicked standing guillotine in the opening round. Gilpin took Assuncao (10-2) down and after a scramble back to the feet, the American locked up the choke. Assuncao, brother of bother Raphael and Junior Assuncao, tried to fight through it, but was eventually sleeping. The end came at 2:08 of the round, awarding Gilpin six points toward the featherweight playoffs.
Jeremy Kennedy was more than enough for longtime veteran Steven Siler to handle as he won a unanimous three-round decision. Kennedy (14-2) scored multiple takedowns and controlled most of the clinching over three arduous rounds. Last year's PFL featherweight runner-up, Siler (32-20-1) never was able to find a rhythm offensively and couldn't turn the tables on his foe. In the end, two judges saw it 29-28 and the third had it 30-27, all for Kennedy, who earned three points in the featherweight division.
In the featured preliminary bout, PFL's 2018 lightweight champion Natan Schulte was too much for late-replacement opponent Jesse Ronson to handle. The Brazilian used his brilliant judo to control the clinch and throw Ronson (20-9) a multitude of times throughout their contest and mauled the Canadian throughout Schulte was never in any real danger, save for a left hook to the liver in the first. Other than that, Ronson never threatened Schulte (17-3), who won a lopsided unanimous decision via tallies of 30-27 across the board.
Andre Harrison (21-1-1) was nearly torched at the end of the first when featherweight foe Movlid Khaybulaev landed a flying knee to the face and follow-up punches. However, Harrison rocked the Russian in the second with a volley of punches and busted open his face in the process. Both men tried to steal the fight in the third, but couldn't get the upper hand, though Harrison did enough to win the frame. However, since Khaybulaev (13-0-1) scored a 10-8 round on two official scorecards, the fight wound up being a majority draw. One official favored Harrison 29-28, but that score was offset by the other two judges, who had it 28-28. Both combatants received one point for their effort.
Russia's Islam Mamedov make quick work of Yincang Bao as he scored a first-round TKO of his Chinese adversary. Mamedov (18-1) scored a takedown and quickly moved to side control. From there, he locked Bao (12-8, 1 NC) in a crucifix and unloaded dozens of short left punches until referee Liam Kerrigan eventually had no choice but to pull him off. The end came at 3:32 of the first, giving Mamedov six points and a spot in PFL's lightweight playoffs.
Alexandre Almeida latched several submissions onto Peter Petties, but the was never able to finish the American with any of them. Whether it was the triangle, armbar, arm-triangle or something else, Almeida (21-9) simply couldn't pull off the submission. However, even with Petties (6-6, 1 NC) rallying in the third with a powerful left hook that scored a knockdown, the Brazilian did enough to win. All three judges scored it 29-28 for Almeida, who took home three points to earn a spot in the PFL's featherweight playoffs.
Loik Radzhabov bounced back from his first career loss by edging France's Ylies Djiroun via split decision. "Jaguar Paw" landed the better punches and controlled most of the action throughout and busted up Djiroun's nose in the process. Djiroun (16-6) rallied in the third to keep the scoring close, but Radzhabov (12-1) had already put two rounds in the bag to nab the victory. The official tallies were 29-28 for Djiroun, which was offset by scores of 29-28 and 30-27 for the Tajikistan native, who earned three points and advanced into the PFL's lightweight playoffs.