Marthin Hamlet is already on a strong start in the 2023 PFL season, and now he finds himself on the doorstep of returning to the PFL Playoffs where he once came close to being a champion. Hamlet turned heads in 2021 by making it to the light heavyweight championship matchup; however, he was quickly submitted there by Antonio Carlos Junior. Hamlet’s 2022 season was a disappointing one for him, defeating Teodoras Aukstuolis by decision and suffering a loss via a first-round finish to Joshua Silveira.
After defeating Cory Hendricks in a 2023 season qualifying matchup, Hamlet started off 2023 strong with a first-round submission of Mohammad Fakhreddine in April.
A former champion at heavyweight and light heavyweight on the regional scene, Sam Kei is looking for his first victory in the PFL. He fought one time at heavyweight last season, getting stopped by Juan Adams. A grappling expert, who at one point took five years off from MMA to compete as an amateur boxer, and competed in the Commonwealth Games, Kei has three first-round finishes to his credit.
Kei dropped his first fight this season, losing via first-round submission to Joshua Silveira in April.
Any kind of victory will earn Hamlet a playoff spot, while Kei is in a win-or-go-home situation.
Hamlet throws a high kick and pressures Kei up against the cage. Kei tries to get out of an underhook by Hamlet, but Hamlet is able to take Kei down and secure both hooks. Hamlet went for a face crank, but Kei got out of it. Hamlet made another attempt, as he tried to find a rear-naked choke multiple times. Kei has his guard up, defending the choke and crank attempts well, Hamlet answers with a few punches. Kei fights off Hamlet’s arms, and with just over two minutes left starts to slide out and is able to return to his feet.
Both men land a punch. Kei lands to the body. The two move around the center of the SmartCage, acting cautious. Low kick by Hamlet. Kei lands another body shot. Hamlet goes for another low kick, but Kei counters with a straight. Kei lands a kick and uppercut to the body before the round ends.
Note: As a result of Hamlet unable to get a finish during this round, Joshua Silveira locks up the No. 1 playoff seed at light heavyweight.
Small combination by Hamlet to open up the round before he rushes in to pin Kei against the SmartCage. A few punches to the head by Hamlet, who is trying to get Kei back to the ground. It doesn’t take him long before Kei is down to his knees. Hamlet gets Kei fully down and returns to Kei’s back, looking once again to get a choke. Kei fights off Hamlet’s hands once again and is able to spin out and get back to his feet again with 2:15 left in the round.
Jabs from both men before Kei goes for a takedown attempt and gets easily stuffed. Hamlet takes control on the ground once again, and he easily gets to Kei’s back once more. Hamlet locks in a body triangle as he continues to search for a choke yet again. The round ends in the same position.
Note: As a result of Kei unable to get a finish through two rounds, Ty Flores clinches a PFL Playoff spot.
Hamlet works the jab to start the round. Both throw hooks. The two move around the center of the SmartCage. Jab lands for Hamlet. Kei throws a shot to the body. Kei lands an uppercut to the body. A low kick from Kei now. Kei throws to the body but cannot get anything going. Kei keeps his hands up, in addition to a low kick, trying to keep Hamlet at bay from another takedown attempt.
Kei misses a right hand as the pace has definitely slowed here. Hamlet misses a left power punch. One-two to the body by Kei. With about 90 seconds left, Hamlet tries to clinch but Kei shrugs him off. Hamlet circling around the outer portion of the SmartCage. Kei is trying to goad Hamlet into a brawl, but Hamlet doesn’t seem to be having it. Kei lands a right. Hamlet tries for another clinch, but Kei gets him off again. The two circle and clinch once more before the final bell.
Marthin Hamlet def. Sam Kei via unanimous decision
Light Heavyweight Playoff Seeds:
1: Joshua Silveira - 12 Points
2: Marthin Hamlet - 9 Points
3: Impa Kasanganay - 5 Points
4: Ty Flores - 5 Points