The lightweight co-main event of the Professional Fighters League 2021 season’s first event had Marcin Held pull off an upset over 2018/2019 champion Natan Schulte. The two men, well aware of their grappling pedigrees decided to forego the ground game and slug it out.
Held took what seemed like a gamble in the first round but also surprised anyone watching with improved striking, at a very high output. Perhaps Schulte was also taken by surprise in the first round and while he did show the type of chin a two-time champ has, it was not enough to win the fight. The Polish submission specialist [Held] has 14 wins by submission and was already riding a four-fight win streak before arriving in the PFL.
For every combination Held fired, Schulte absorbed and fired off calf kicks to Held’s lead leg. It looked like Held was losing steam as the rounds wore on, giving Schulte chances to counter. But Held was able to continue to add volume while taking breaths between rounds and exchanges to pull off a win.
— PFL (@PFLMMA) April 24, 2021
All three judges would score in favor of Held (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), who advanced this season with three points in the lightweight division and moved to number four in the PFL lightweight standings. For full event results, check them out right here.
The thing about the PFL that fans may have forgotten is that every season is reset for every fighter, including their former champions. It is a true blank slate for any fighter at the professional level in MMA that wants a shot at greatness, without any trash talk or gimmicks.
Held did not get to showcase his submission game for fans new to him, but now he has the rest of the season to show off his newfound striking, and that ground game mentioned so much during the broadcast.
Edward holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Bachelor’s degree in Communications. Along with over 20 years martial arts experience, he co-hosts The Coast-2-Coast Combat Hour, and also writes for Sherdog while maintaining his own site, The Blogboard Jungle. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel