Loik Radzhabov is seeking redemption as he enters his second PFL playoff season. However, he won’t get a chance to defeat his past title successor.
In the 2019 PFL finals, the Sanford MMA fighter fell short against Brazil’s Natan Schulte. Fast forward to 2021 and the former champion lost his first regular-season bout before earning a split decision over Alex Martinez. Ultimately leaving Schulte ineligible for the playoffs.
“I’m very surprised and I don’t know how the system works because Martinez lost to Natan, Martinez technically lost to me, too,” Radzhabov told MyMMANews. “How come he is not in the playoffs? I don’t know if somebody is pulling any strings over there but it’s not cool. I’m very surprised.”
While the 14-3-1 Radzhabov won’t be getting another shot at Schulte, he will get to rematch Martinez in their welterweight semifinal matchup that goes down on August 13.
Radzhabov believes Martinez evidently didn’t want to stand with him in the split decision defeat. Therefore he expects more of the same “grabbing and holding” type strategy.
“I strongly disagree with having lost the [first] fight,” Radzhabov said. “Not only me but even to an untrained eye, it was seen that I clearly won that fight without even a doubt in anybody’s mind. Anybody watching can confirm. This time I’m just going to prove that. This time I’m confident it’s going to be a stoppage or something that’s even faster than that.
“I will not let judges make that decision which was completely — in my opinion, and of everybody else who I’ve spoken to or every person that watched the fight agrees that I won. Basically, this time is going to be different.”
The man known as “Jaguar Paw” is one of the few leading the charge for his country of Tajikistan in MMA. Having had the amount of success he has had since starting in 2012, Loik Radzhabov has helped put the sport on the map for his country.
At this stage, the 30-year old PFL veteran believes that MMA is actually the most popular sport in Tajikistan. With the sport only growing by the day, a bright future is expected not only for himself but also for the Central Asian country.
“I’m confident that in Tajikistan the fans are the most dedicated and just overall passionate people,” Radzhabov said. “I can guarantee you if it wasn’t so difficult to get out of the country and travel all over the world to see the fighters fight, I guarantee that every single arena that fighters that Tajikistan fighters would be fighting in would be filled completely. Almost all seats would be sold to fans from Tajikistan. And to me, it’s just very important to bring the belt to my country because of the way that the people and the fans root for me and the way they care and cheer for my victory.
“I’m doing this for the glory not really the lucrative side of this sport. This is my life, this is my passion. I have plans for my loved ones and the people close to me. I want to make the people that I care about have better lives. For me, it’s mostly about the sport and the honor and mostly making things better for people I love.”
Drake is an MMA writer based out of Brush Prairie, Washington, USA who specializes in feature pieces, the women’s fight scene, lists, news coverage, and rankings. He has been a passionate fan of MMA ever since 2009. Drake has most notably written for BJPenn.com, FanSided, The Body Lock, South China Morning Post, MyMMANews, WhatCulture, Cageside Press, Sherdog, The Scrap, and MMA Today. He has also written for and created video content for RT Sport. As for other sports, Drake is a longtime fan of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars.
You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @DrakeRiggs_ . Also check out all of his video content on YouTube at YouTube.com/DrakeRiggs where he uploads fighter interviews, podshows, and various other types of content.