Frans Mlambo has seen SBG Ireland teammate and training partner Conor McGregor have his championship success, and now Mlambo has the chance to claim his own first big-stage MMA title. Mlambo got off to a good start in that mission with a 10-2 run as an amateur, winning a world title on that circuit. Mlambo enters tonight on a seven-fight win streak and a 15-5 professional record. Mlambo earned this spot in the bantamweight finals with split decision victories against Rachid Haz and Moktar Benkaci earlier this year.
Coming out of Xtreme Couture, Khurshed Kakhorov is a knockout specialist, with seven of his 11 victories coming by the method. With just one loss in his professional MMA career, and a former regional MMA bantamweight champion, Kakhorov earned his title fight spot through unanimous decision wins over Benkaci and Ali Taleb.
Who will be the first-ever PFL Europe Bantamweight Champion and go home $100,000 richer?
Right hand from Mlambo to start. Kakhorov starts with a focus on leg kicks. Three-punch combination from Mlambo stumbles Kakhorov. Low kick by Kakhorov is answered with a straight right from Mlambo. Low kick from Mlambo. Kakhorov throws a high kick but misses. Kakhorov goes back to the low kicks. Right hand blocked by Kakhorov. Low kick from Mlambo. Kakhorov with a counter right. Mlambo with a knee. Kakhorov with an inside leg kick. Mlambo misses a powerful right hand. Mlambo has a high kick attempt blocked. Kakhorov with a couple of leg kicks.
Kakhorov goes for a takedown, but Mlambo grabs a hold of the neck. No submission attempts get off as Mlambo brings the two of them toward the fence. Mlambo gets the half-guard and then the butterfly hook before bringing the action back up to the feet. High kick attempt by Mlambo. Another kick from Kakhorov. Round kick to the body by Mlambo. Strong right hand from Kakhorov. Right hand by Mlambo. Front kick from Kakhorov is blocked, but he avoids Mlambo’s one-two. High kick from Mlambo is followed by a strong right hand as he works a strong flurry. Another high kick partially lands from Mlambo. Kakhorov swings away until the horn.
Mlambo misses a right hand. Kakhorov fires with some power, but he misses a right. The two swinging but missing. Mlambo misses a one-two from Kakhorov. Low kick by Kakhorov misses. Small combination from Mlambo. Kakhorov tries to press Mlambo up against the SmartCage, looking to get this fight to the ground. Mlambo looks for a guillotine but can’t get his arms around Kakhorov’s neck. Both land punches. Side kick by Mlambo. Both go for spinning back kicks.
Right hand by Kakhorov lands and Mlambo goes down! The referee steps in! Mlambo immediately protests the stoppage, but he appeared to be out for a second off that punch.
To the heartbreak of the Irish crowd, Khurshed Kakhorov gets the championship belt and a $100,000 check!
Khurshed Kakhorov def. Frans Mlambo via second-round KO (punch, 2:32)