Dakota Ditcheva Stays Perfect, Leads 4 Championship Winners at PFL Europe Finals

Dakota Ditcheva’s offensive arsenal was simply too much for Valentina Scatizzi to handle.

The British muay thai stylist completed an impressive run through the Professional Fighters League European season, as she defeated her opponent via technical knockout to claim the women’s flyweight crown and the accompanying $100,000 payout at the 2023 PFL Europe Finals. With Scatizzi’s left eye completely swollen shut after five minutes, the cageside doctor waved off the contest before the start of Round 2. Ditcheva (10-5, 5-0 PFL) has finished all but one of her pro triumphs inside the distance.

Ditcheva was in peak form for as long as the fight lasted. While she battered Scatizzi (2-2, 1-1 PFL) with straight punches and kicks at range, the Manchester Top Team representative was even better in the clinch, where she manhandled her Italian foe and attacked with powerful knees in close quarters. Although Scatizzi did her best to keep moving forward, she had no answers for Ditcheva’s multi-faceted attack.

Meanwhile, Tajikistan native Khurshed Kakhorov captured the bantamweight crown with a knockout victory against SBG Ireland member Frans Mlambo. Kakhorov put his opponent away at the 2:32 mark of Round 2 to secure his fourth consecutive professional triumph. Mlambo sees a seven-fight winning streak snapped in defeat.

Mlambo (15-6, 2-1 PFL) did well early, as he controlled the action with rangy punching combinations and a toolbox of kicks. When Kakhorov was able to land a takedown, “The Black Mamba” scrambled to his feet and continued to his impose his will in exchanges. The bout took an abrupt turn in the second period, however, when Kakhorov dropped Mlambo with a massive counter right hook. “Killer” then rendered his foe unconscious with a pair of heavy ground shots to clinch the victory.

Elsewhere, Jakub Kaszuba survived some early adversity to rally for a second-round technical knockout victory against John Mitchell in a lightweight championship bout. The Polish standout ended the contest at the 3:07 mark of the period with a barrage of ground-and-pound.

Mitchell (8-2, 2-1 PFL) appeared to be on the verge of a finish when he rocked his foe with a front kick to the chin and then swarmed with punches. The situation was so dire that referee Rich Mitchell nearly stepped in to halt the contest, but he wisely elected to let the combatants continue. Kaszuba (11-0, 3-0 PFL) kept his head and imposed his will in the second stanza. After punching his way into the clinch, Kaszuba hurt Mitchell with knees in close quarters, sending his adversary to the canvas. From there, “Kuba” kept the pressure on with punches until Mitchell could no longer defend himself from the assault.

Finally, Jakob Nedoh flashed his considerable power to hand Simeon Powell his first career defeat, claiming the PFL Europe light heavyweight crown in the process. The 27-year-old Slovenian brought the show to a close at the 1:16 mark of Round 2 for his eighth consecutive victory inside the distance.

Powell (9-1, 4-1 PFL) did well controlling the range in the opening stanza, as he attacked with leg kicks and straight punches while repeatedly separating from his opponent’s clinch. Nedoh (8-1, 3-0 PFL) found his opening in the second frame, when he buckled Powell with a right hand and dropped him with an ensuing left hook. “The Gorilla” followed his man to the canvas, where he landed three more punches and then returned to this feet, thinking the fight was over. With no stoppage indicated by referee Derek Hickey, Nedoh dove back in to seal his victory with one final elbow strike on his reeling foe.

In other action: SBG Ireland representative Nathan Kelly (9-2, 3-0 PFL) defeated Dimitry Solimeis (6-4, 0-1 PFL) via rear-naked choke at the 4:47 mark of Round 1 at featherweight;SBG Ireland product Dylan Tuke (7-4, 2-1 PFL) submitted Yazid Chouchane (10-4, 1-1 PFL) with a rear-naked choke 2:36 into the second round of a lightweight contest; Cage Warriors veteran Weslley Maia (9-6, 1-0 PFL) edged Lewis McGrillen-Evans (7-1, 2-1 PFL) via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) at bantamweight; UFC and Bellator veteran Brett Johns (20-3, 1-0 PFL) locked in a triangle and battered David-Tonatiuh Crol (11-8, 0-1 PFL) with punches to earn a stoppage 3:09 into Round 3 of their featherweight scrap; UFC veteran Tom Breese (18-4, 1-0 PFL) submitted Cleiton Pereira da Silva (16-3, 0-1 PFL) with a rear-naked choke 3:30 into the opening stanza of their light heavyweight clash; Bondo Kikadze (8-2-1, 1-0 PFL) relied on takedowns and positional control to cruise to a unanimous verdict (29-26, 29-27, 29-27) against Bellator veteran Dominique Wooding (9-5, 0-1 PFL) at bantamweight; Connor Hughes (8-1, 1-1 PFL) stopped Sebastian Santana Guedes (8-7-1, 1 NC, 0-2 PFL) with a series of body punches on the canvas at the end of Round 2 in a lightweight scrap; and in an amateur flyweight bout, Nate Kelly tapped out Callum Seaton with an anaconda choke 51 seconds into Round 2.

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Renan Ferreira