Chris Wade looked a bit concerned when the ring announcer read the scores for his lightweight bout against Akhmed Aliev at PFL 5.
The Long Islander seemed to control the fight from open to close, and a clean sweep on the scorecards seemed likely, but each judge ruled the contest 29-28.
After a longer-than-necessary dramatic pause, Wade was visibly overcome with relief as he was announced as the winner by unanimous decision over Aliev.
The win is Wade’s second of the PFL season and gives him six points in the lightweight standings, good enough for the No. 3 seed in the playoffs.
Islip's Wade (16-5) began the fight on the outside, circling the cage while looking for openings. Midway through the round, Wade picked up the pace and began landing with regularity, almost exclusively using kicks and knees to control the round for much of the way.
In the second round, Wade went for the big finish early, throwing a series of wild kicks, one of them landing to Aliev’s head. Wade swarmed Aliev, who madly threw punches to defend and eventually engaged in the clinch before a knee to Wade’s groin paused the fight. Upon restarting, Wade went back to the high kick, but remained unpredictable, using feints and fakes to create openings, all while avoiding some impressive strikes by Aliev. As the round wore on, Aliev was more creative with his strikes, but had difficult landing anything of substance.
In the final round, Wade kept himself ahead, landing a few heavy punches before engaging Aliev in the clinch. Aliev landed a strong body kick that knocked some air out of Wade, forcing the LIer to shoot for a takedown, but he recovered and went back to work. In the final two minutes, Wade went back to what worked throughout the fight, using his low kicks to keep Aliev at distance before going for the body or head. Aliev landed a handful of strikes, but it was nowhere near enough to threaten a finish.
PFL 2019 LIGHTWEIGHT DIVISION PLAYOFF SEEDING
1. Natan Schulte (9 points)
2. Islam Mamedov (9 points)
3. Chris Wade (6 points)
4. Akhmed Aliev (6 points)
5. Rashid Magomedov (3 points)
6. Nate Andrews (3 points)
7. Loik Radzhabov (3 points)
8. Ramsey Nijem (3 points)