The main card opener was the third of six championship bouts on Wednesday evening, pitting Movlid Khaybulaev against Chris Wade.

With $1 million and a title on the line, there was little room for error on such a big stage. Khaybulaev (19-0-1 MMA, 4-0-1 PFL) leaned on what he does best over the course of 25 minutes, grinding out Wade (20-7 MMA, 8-3 PFL) with smothering wrestling to earn the unanimous decision victory with all three judges turning in scores of 50-45.

2021 PFL Championship took place Wednesday at Seminole Hard Rock Casino & Hotel in Hollywood, Fla. The main card aired on ESPN2/ESPN+ after prelims on ESPN+.

The fighters spent the opening moments of the bout trying to find the range as they exchanged quick strikes. Khaybulaev would get his opponent’s attention with a hard right hand before initiating a clinch against the fence. Wade defended a couple of trip attempts and separated briefly, but Khaybulaev would engage again seconds later and complete a takedown.

Wade did well to prevent damage and brought the fight back to the feet again, but Khabuylaev took the fight to the mat again and ended up on the back until the round came to a close.

Movlid Khaybulaev ends the 1st round in a dominant position!#PFLChampionship LIVE NOW

— PFL (@PFLMMA) October 28, 2021

Early in the second, Wade offered an array of kicks in the center of the cage, but Khaybulaev evaded successfully. After a clinch along the fence that stalled, the two were separated by the ref. Back in space, both fighters let the strikes fly for a few moments, landing clean punches.

Khaybulaev returned to the clinch work, but Wade stifled his progress, eventually breaking free. A cut over Wade’s right eye was opened in the closing moments of the round from a knee strike.

The Crowd Erupts!#PFLChampionship LIVE NOW

— PFL (@PFLMMA) October 28, 2021

Khaybulaev continued to keep the pressure high early in the third round by wrestling with Wade, bringing him to the canvas, and taking his back briefly. Wade would eventually reverse positions to put Khaybulaev’s back against the fence, but the clinch stalled and was broken up by the referee.

Undeterred, Khaybulaev went right back to the wrestling to score more control time until the third round came to a close.

The fourth round began just like the previous frame with Khaybulaev quickly getting control of Wade and bringing the fight to the mat. The dominant wrestling of Khaybulaev left Wade searching for answers to change the course of the fight.

Movlid’s Wrestling is RELENTLESS!#PFLChampionship LIVE NOW

— PFL (@PFLMMA) October 28, 2021

Khaybulaev continued his effective gameplan in the fifth round, utilizing his wrestling skills to keep Wade neutralized. Wade threatened a tight armlock and a kneebar, but ultimately nothing would come of it, and the fight would conclude after Khaybulaev dominated the control time to earn the victory.

Khaybulaev, 31, remains undefeated through 20 professional fights. This year he defeated Lazar Stojadinovic, Lance Palmer, Brendan Loughnane, and now Wade, in route to becoming the 2021 PFL featherweight champion and taking home the $1 million prize.

For Wade, 34, his strong 2021 PFL run comes to an end in the championship bout. This season, he defeated Anthony Dizy, Arman Ospanov, and Bubba Jenkins to reach the last fight, but Khaybulaev was just too much to overcome on Wednesday evening.

The up-to-the-minute 2021 PFL Championship results include:

Movlid Khaybulaev def. Chris Wade via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45) – featherweight final
Antonio Carlos Junior def. Marthin Hamlet via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:49 – light heavyweight final
Raush Manfio def. Loik Radzhabov via unanimous decision (48-46, 48-46, 49-46) – lightweight final
Jordan Young def. Omari Akhmedov via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 1:32
Julia Budd def. Kaitlin Young via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Don Madge def. Nathan Williams via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:15


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