A four-time Sambo World Champion, Marina Mokhnatkina has only tasted defeat once entering tonight — coming against two-time PFL world champion Kayla Harrison. She has since, however, won three straight. Mokhnatkina’s 2022 PFL season saw her defeat Abigail Montes, in addition to the loss to Harrison. Mokhnatkina started her 2023 off strong in April with a second-round finish of Yoko Higashi.
A striking specialist training out of American Top Team, Evelyn Martins is 5-0 as a pro, but took two years off from the sport after two wins in Titan FC. After wins over Jeslen Mishelle and Jackie Cataline in the 2022 PFL Challenger Series, Martins made her PFL debut with a decision win over Karolina Sobek in April.
Both women enter so close to a playoff spot. Mokhnatkina clinches a playoff spot with a win, while Martins can clinch a playoff spot with a finish.
After some light exchanges, Mokhnatkina gets a double-leg takedown. Martins throws up the guard. Martins looks for a high guard and fires from bottom, while Mokhnatkina lands a couple of hammerfists. Martins looks for an armbar from the bottom, but Mokhnatkina is able to get out of it. Martins creates some space briefly with an upkick, but Mokhnatkina gets back into position. Martins reaches up and looks for a guillotine, but Mokhnatkina is able to get out of it.
Martins is finally able to get out of Mokhnatkina’s grasp. Martins lands a right. Mokhnatkina fires off a strong right. One-two from Martins. Martins tries to come forward and press Mokhnatkina against the cage, but Mokhnatkina returns with a right hand. Body kick by Mokhnatkina. Trading of low kicks. Martins in control of the pace, continuing to cut off the cage.
Martins continued to come forward and press, cutting off the cage. Mokhnatkina landing some overhand shots. Martins landing counters before landing a calf kick. A low kick catches Mokhnatkina off guard, and her lead leg looks beaten up. Martins gets out of the way of overhand rights from Mokhnatkina.
Mokhnatkina counters a low kick from Martins and lands a takedown. Martins throws up her guard and looks for a triangle. Martins holds her own and teases upkicks to back Mokhnatkina off of her. Mokhnatkina gets back into top control, while Martins scrambles and is able to get back to her feet. Martins gets herself against the SmartCage and is able to get an underhook in before breaking out of Mokhnatkina’s grasp and getting to the center of the cage before the end of the round.
Brief exchanges from the two. Low kick from Martins. Right hand lands from Mokhnatkina, and she fires off a flurry, pressing Martins up against the fence once again. Mokhnatkina fires off a couple of rights before the action gets back to the ground. Mokhnatkina controlling on top, but Martins works her guard again, looking for an ankle lock. Martins gets up but Mokhnatkina throws a right hand on the get-up.
Martins lands a low kick before Mokhnatkina comes back with a combination. Mokhnatkina lands a solid right hand after a brief exchange. Mokhnatkina tries to level change but is stuffed by Martins, who looks once again for another leg lock. Mokhnatkina looks for a leg lock of her own. Martins is able to get up in top control but Mokhnatkina rolls through. Martins reverses, but Mokhnatkina tries to roll through again. Mokhnatkina looks for a kneebar, but Martins is able to get out of it. The two get back to their feet for the last 30 seconds. The two exchange before the final bell.
Marina Mokhnatkina def. Evelyn Martins via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)