PFL lightweight Loik Radzhabov is the oddsmakers’ favorite per Draftkings to win the 2021 PFL lightweight tournament, but the 30-year-old from Tajikistan knows it really doesn’t matter what oddsmakers or other people think before the fight.
It only matters what happens during the fight.
Well, and maybe what the judges think after the fact when the fight goes the distance.
Radzhabov found out the hard way how important the latter can be earlier this year against Alexander Martinez when the three judges sitting cageside rendered a split-decision verdict against him during the Regular Season.
Now, Radzhabov is set to face Martinez again in a rematch in the PFL’s 2021 playoffs.
Radzhabov vs. Martinez 2 is set for August 13 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
The other semi-finals matchup features Clay Collard vs. Raush Manfio. The winner of both semi-finals will meet at the 2021 PFL World Championships later this year.
Radzhabov revealed to Heavy his plan for getting revenge against Martinez and making it through to the Finals
“I’m going to finish him this time,” Radzhabov said through his translator.
You can watch that chat below.
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Big Favorite Radzhabov Channels Underdog Status From Past
According to DraftKings, Radzhabov is +165 on the Futures market to win the 2021 PFL’s lightweight tournament. He’s also favored over Martinez at -190 in his semi-final matchup despite having officially lost to Martinez earlier this year during the regular season.
Regardless, Radzhabov said he used all the times in his life that saw him labeled as the underdog to help propel him to victory even when he was favored to win.
“My motivation is more from the times I was an underdog. That motivates me even more. But this time, for the next coming-up fight, I’m going to make a statement. I think it’s important to make a statement, so we don’t have to go to the judges’ scorecards,” Radzhabov said.
He doesn’t believe Martinez deserved to win the first fight, so he’ll make sure he doesn’t let his opponent see the final bell in the second fight. He seemed to use that same kind of approach for his second PFL regular season bout against Akhmed Aliev.
Radzhabov annihilated Aliev in less than 30 seconds to win by stoppage and propel him into the 2021 PFL Playoffs.
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All Radzhabov Cares About Is PFL Gold
Radzhabov was the runner-up in the 2019 PFL lightweight tournament. Despite losing out on becoming champion and grabbing the $1 million prize that comes along with it, Radzhabov said the money is not important to him.
“For me, it’s of utmost importance to have the belt. The money…the million dollars is really not a lot of money these days. Taking the belt is my number one priority, bringing it home,” Radzhabov said.
Instead, Radzhabov said he’s only interested in fighting. He wants to keep moving forward in the sport and climbing to the top of MMA.
Radzhabov sees the 2021 PFL lightweight championship as another rung on that ladder, and his only goal is becoming a world champion.
“I want to end up on top. I want to be the champion,” Radzhabov said.
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