There’s a chance Chris Wade needed a finish entering PFL 5 in order to advance to the Professional Fighters League postseason. However, the Long Islander took no risks Thursday night.
Wade vs. Kawana
As soon as the bell rang, he stormed across the cage with a flying left kick to the side of Yuki Kawana’s head. The kick dropped Kawana, and Wade pounced on him for a tight guillotine attempt. Kawana escaped and shortly reversed the grappling position on Wade. Towards the final minute of the first round, Wade regained control on a tiring Kawana and tried for another guillotine. There was no escaping that one, and Kawana was forced to tap.
Wade earned six points for the first-round finish and picked up his first win with PFL. After a loss to Natan Schulte at PFL 2 put him in a potential hole, Wade came out aggressive with the flying kick.
“It feels amazing,” Wade said of his performance. “I feel like I’ve been visualizing this. I think I told you guys in open workouts when I was fooling around, jumping and spinning, that I was coming for him right away, and I wasn’t kidding. So I told my corner and they were like, ‘Settle down, man. Just get your guard up and see what he has coming.’ I’m like, ‘No, you don’t get it, I’m coming straight across the cage for him.’
“When I saw him posturing and getting his foot in, I knew we were both coming. I was looking past the ref like, ‘All right, you want to do this? Let’s do it.’ He didn’t know how high I could come up over him, so I knew I had the advantage.”
Wade said the adrenaline of pursuing the guillotines prevented him from worrying about burning his arms out going for them. He added that his arms felt fine after the fight.
“It goes through your mind for a second but you’re so hell-bent on finishing that you don’t care if your arm comes off at that point,” he said. “At least I don’t.”
The PFL Postseason
Barring a first-round finish under 4:24 in Ramsey Nijem’s upcoming fight against a to-be-determined opponent, Wade’s secured the fourth seed of eight in the PFL lightweight postseason. And his stoppage win guaranteed him a spot. Wade said he’s looking for more performances like that not only in the postseason, but in his long-term career.
“I’m just going to start bombing on people because I’m more athletic than everybody in this tournament and it’s time to start showing that,” Wade said.
“We got a lot of tools that we can work with. I’ve got a lot of stuff that a lot of people can’t do and aren’t capable of. “We’re just going to keep mixing it up and keep people on their heels. I am not going to settle back anymore and let a fight come to me. Because if I don’t start quick, it usually doesn’t go my way. I’d rather go down using my stuff than fight a normal man’s fight and lose.
“For me, it’s more about getting myself going. When I get going, I’m really hard to beat. When I settle in and I fight a normal fighter, not athletic, and I’m just sitting there plodding, that’s when people get on me a little bit. So I just need to keep fighting my style, which is to explode.”
Wade got the win in front of his hometown crowd at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, NY. It marked his return to Long Island since his UFC on FOX 25 bout in July 2017. Just as he defeated Frankie Perez then, Wade emerged victorious against Kawana at PFL 5.
“This is a huge edge for me, fighting at home,” he said. “Some people put pressure on themselves that the people they care about are around them and then asking them to come and support. But you heard the crowd, that was crazy. I’ve never even experienced anything like that in fighting. So the energy it gives you, knowing that every time something turns your way, you hear that crowd roar, if we could run this back every week, I would do this every week of my life. It’s amazing.”
Wade will likely next compete on the PFL 9 card on October 13. His first-round opponent is not yet confirmed. It seems it’ll either be Robert Watley, Nijem, or Nijem’s opponent. If Wade wins his quarterfinal, two-round match-up, he’ll compete again on the same night for a three-rounder semifinal bout.