Dan Spohn won both of his fights in the Professional Fighters League (PFL) regular season but it wasn’t as smooth as he would’ve liked it to be. His first win against Bozigit Ataev at PFL 2 went swimmingly as he won via a finish. It was his second fight that had him not feeling perfect after earning the victory. At PFL 5 “The Dragon” Spohn was faced Artur Alibulatov and the fight was going his way. He gained mount at the end of the second round and came close to finishing the fight. However, in the third round of the fight, Alibulatov hit Spohn with multiple groin kicks. After two Alibulatov was warned and after the third time, Spohn wasn’t able to continue the fight. The fight was stopped and it went to a decision, Spohn was awarded the victory by unanimous decision. It wasn’t the way Spohn wanted to win, but he took the victory, he also believes the kicks were done on purpose.
“I took him down more than once in the second round and I think if we had a little bit more time, I think I would’ve been able to finish him at that point. I think he knew that so that’s why I think he actually was starting to do that on purpose so I couldn’t finish him.”
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Posted by Daniel Spohn on Monday, September 10, 2018
The fight was stopped midway into the third round and it went to the judges, Spohn scored the victory and the three points that came along with hit. Those three points helped him secure the third seed in the light heavyweight division. On October 13 at PFL 9, he will face Sean O’Connell. If he is able to defeat O’Connell, Spohn will face the winner of Maxim Grishin vs. Smealinho Rama.
The first round against O’Connell will be two five-minute rounds, Spohn actually has experience with that particular rule set because he went through The Ultimate Fighter on season 19 where the exhibition matches were two five-minute rounds. He believes that is to his benefit.
“I think honestly it does cause one thing it teaches you is that you have to have more activity a little sooner. You can’t really your time to feel out as much cause you have only two rounds so you have to win both of those rounds or finish the fight. So, I think it will help me a lot having that experience.”
Spohn is also altering his training to mimic the experience of having two fights in a night.
“I know in our camp, we’re training really hard and then we’re on purposely taking a certain amount of time to rest, then we’re going another really hard two/three rounds so it’s kind of making it so we can do the two fights.”
In the first fight, his opponent is Sean O’Connell, a fighter he has had his eye on since the tournament was announced and a matchup he thinks is very favorable for him.
“I don’t ever underestimate anybody but I think he’s one of the better guys that I matchup with. He was actually one of the guys I had said to my team early on that I wanted to get because I saw how he fights and I think he matches up really well for me. Honestly, I think that’s a good first round fight.”
Spohn believes that he can use his range to stifle O’Connell and get the victory.
“He’ll wait to really get in there and fight with you until you’re actually locked up with him or you’re in the middle of the pocket throwing back and forth. So, a good way to approach him is to use my range, stay outside, attack him and chop him down, so if I do that, it kinda nullifies his attack.”
He is trying to focus on O’Connell but Rama and Grishin are slightly on the back of his mind, but he thinks either fighter is a good matchup for him.
“I think either one of those guys I’m pretty happy with them too.”
If Spohn is being truly honest, he doesn’t mind any matchup he gets in the tournament, he can already taste the million dollars he would win at the end.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m already the champion, that’s how I feel. I definitely already feel like I have it.”