Australian Rob Wilkinson punched his ticket to the 2022 Professional Fighters League light heavyweight final after a vicious first round KO victory over Brazilian Delan Monte in his semi-final at Madison Square Garden.
Wilkinson needed less than two minutes to trouble the Brazilian, who came into the fight as the underdog but with numerous first round finishes to his name.
Wilkinson caught Monte with a brutal knee. (Stan)
Things got off to an unexpected start as both men stood in the cage, because there wasn’t an ambulance on site after two fighters from previous fights on the card were taken to hospital.
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New York law states an ambulance must be on hand for an MMA fight. After both fighters paced around for several minutes, things got underway with the South American coming out aggressive.
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Monte caught the Australian off guard early with a couple of strong right hands, showing a willingness to fight on the inside. Wilkinson used his knees for good measure and then scored a takedown to get himself out of trouble.
Monte was unsteady on his feet after that. (Stan)
It was all Wilkinson from that point on as the fight moved to the centre, with the Aussie catching Monte with a right hand and some follow-up shots before finishing his opponent with a knee to the face.
Wilkinson will now fight for a shot at over $1 million and the PFL light heavyweight championship.
“Feels pretty special, it’s been a crazy experience, I’ve been writing in my journal for two years I’ll be champion in 2022, and now all I have to do is win one more fight,” he said.
“I hurt him with the right hand first then, with the knee – I knew it was over. A few reporters said he had a heavy right hand, but I took them no problem.”
Wilkinson has made a name for himself in the 2022 PFL light heavyweight season by knocking out his two opponents and claiming the coveted No.1 seed.
The referee had no choice but to stop the fight. (Stan)
The 30-year-old started his season by knocking out Bruce Souto and followed that up by knocking out Viktor Pesta in the first round in June.
He’ll now fight Omari Akhmedov in the final.
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