PFL World Championship Recap: Magomed Magomedkerimov submits Sadibou Sy to win the welterweight title

2023 PFL Championships Ceremonial Weigh-Ins at The Anthem in Washington D.C., Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023. (Cooper Neill / PFL)

Tonight at the PFL World Championship event, the welterweight title was on the line. 2022 champion Sadibou Sy (16-6-2) was looking to win his second straight championship as he took on former champion Magomed Magomedkerimov (33-6).

Magomedkerimov has been one of the most dominant fighters in the promotion since he made his PFL debut back in 2018. In sixteen fights with the promotion, he’s gone 15-1 including a perfect 2023 regular season. Tonight, he was looking to win another championship.

Sadibou Sy was 9-6 at one point in his professional career and just didn’t look like someone who would rise to the top. However, starting with last season, Sy made some serious strides and has won his last seven fights. Tonight, he was looking to cap off another perfect season while securing his second straight championship.

PFL World Championship Recap

Round 1

The opening round at the PFL World Championship kicks off and immediately Magomedkerimov tries closing the distance. Nice shots from Sy and Magomedkerimov is looking to get ahold of the 2022 champion. Both men trade shots and now Magomedkerimov gets the body lock. Both men holding a clinch in the center and they are just trading shots here.

Sy is not letting Magomedkerimov get a great position here but Magomedkerimov pushes forward and gets the takedown. Magomedkerimov briefly takes the back of Sy and Sy starts working his way back up to his feet. Great hand fighting from Sy and he gets back up to his feet.

Sy breaks free and Magomedkerimov gets another takedown. However, Sy immediately scrambles and gets back to his feet. Long left hand lands for Sy. Both men trade body kicks in the center. Magomedkerimov is upping the pressure here looking to close the distance on Sy.

Sy lands a beautiful kick but Magomedkerimov lands a flush right hand over the top. Magomedkerimov tries tripling up on the right hand and now Sy forces the clinch. The first round ends and I think the first goes to Magomedkerimov at the PFL World Championship.

Round 2

Entering the second round and the first round was very even. They touch gloves and here we go. Front kick to the thigh for Magomedkerimov. Sy with a beautiful calf kick. Trip kick lands for Sy and he falls to his back. However, he recovers and get back to his feet before Magomedkerimov can get on top.

Magomedkerimov forces a clinch but it’s Sy who gets the better position at first. Magomedkerimov reverses things and now they are clinching in the center. Trip for Magomedkerimov but Sy is right back up. Knee to the body lands for Sy. Another trip attempt from Magomedkerimov but Sy stays on his feet.

They separate and Sy goes for a knee up the middle. Magomedkerimov tries to land hooks over the top. Magomedkerimov briefly lands a takedown but again, Sy is right back on his feet. Halfway through the round and this has to be building the confidence of Sadibou Sy.

They break free and there’s two minutes left in the round. Left hooks land for both men. Winging left hook from Magomedkerimov just glances Sy. One minute left and Sy throws a big kick and Magomedkerimov closes the distance. Left hook just misses from Magomedkerimov. Magomedkerimov lands one there and now another one. Big hooks from Magomedkerimov here. The round ends and I think it’s 2-0 Magomedkerimov at the PFL World Championship.

Round 3

Entering the third at the PFL World Championship and the 2022 champion might be down 2-0. Sy starts the third light on his feet and trades a leg kick with Magomedkerimov. Big left hand lands for Sy and now Sy lands a body kick. He slips and Magomedkerimov tries to take advantage. However, Magomedkerimov can get him down.

Sy throwing with a little more power here. Straight right to the body from Magomedkerimov and that might’ve hurt Sy. Heavy pressure from Magomedkerimov and Sy tries to force a clinch. Magomedkerimov jumps on a guillotine and it’s deep. Sy tries to fight but he taps. Magomed Magomedkerimov is now a two-time PFL champion.

Magomed Magomedkerimov def. Sadibou Sy by Submission – Round 3