Chris Wade knew his opponent Yuki Kawana liked to start quick.
So Islip’s Wade started quicker.
The LIer swiftly dispatched Yuki Kawana in a lightweight Professional Fighters League regular-season bout, winning by first-round submission in a hectic 4:20 at PFL 5 on Thursday at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum.
Wade (13-4, 1-1 PFL) came charging across the cage at the sound of the bell, starting the fight with a flying kick and bringing the Coliseum crowd to life. He caught Kawana’s shoulder and put him off balance, taking the fight to the ground.
Wade said he noticed Kawana dart across the cage in his previous bout and felt he could take advantage of his opponent’s aggression.
“I told my corner and my brothers I was coming straight across the cage with a flying kick to his head,” Wade said. “I saw him do it in his last fight so I knew he’d give me what I wanted.”
Wade grabbed Kawana’s neck almost immediately on the ground and would not let go as Kawana tried to escape, but Wade had to give up the choke to avoid gassing out. Soon enough, he was on top of Kawana again with a grip on his neck. After a few scrambles, Kawana settled in and had Wade in trouble against the cage, but Wade didn’t panic, slowly getting the fight back to his feet.
“Fighting spirit to say the least,” Wade said of his opponent. “I thought he was dead to rights from the jump after I kicked him.”
When Kawana tried to bring it down again, Wade looked for the guillotine in the transition. He locked it in and had Kawana tapping soon after, ending the fight at 4:20 of the first round.
“The second time I got his neck, I knew I wasn’t letting go,” Wade said.
The victory was crucial for Wade in the standings for the inaugural PFL season. He entered the night with zero points after losing his first regular-season bout in June. The first-round finish earned Wade six points, clinching a seed in the eight-man playoffs.
The quarterfinals and semifinals will take place on the same night in October with the championship set for New Year’s Eve at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
With a playoff spot secure, Wade’s already eyeing the PFL title and million-dollar prize it brings.
“We’re going to get back to work for this million dollars,” said Wade.