2024 PFL 3 Main Event Breakdown

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On a week without the UFC in action, the cupboard isn’t bare in the least bit as far as MMA is concerned. While UFC CEO Dana White and his staff are taking a very well-deserved weekend off after the fireworks of UFC 300 took place this past Saturday evening in Las Vegas, the kitchen is still open for the business of competitive violence.

It all begins on Friday, the eve of the quarterfinal round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs. While the Chicago Bulls will be in action in the Play-In Tournament on Wednesday night (and could be facing elimination on Friday night pending the results of Wednesday’s home game at United Center against the Atlanta Hawks), not everybody visiting The Windy City will be focused on roundball.

Wintrust Arena, a regular stop for Bellator MMA, is the site for PFL 3, the last card of the first half of the league’s sixth regular season of action and first since the PFL purchased Bellator last fall. After this event, the promotion will take a brief hiatus before returning to the SmartCage on Thursday, June 13 in Uncasville, CT for PFL 4, the second card featuring heavyweights and women’s lightweights this season.

Koreshkov Fights Umalatov in PFL 3 Main Event

This week, welterweights and featherweights try to accumulate points in the standings as they work toward the playoffs later this summer. A key 170-lb. fight serves as the focus of the PFL 3 main event.

Onetime Bellator MMA Welterweight Champion Andrey Koreshkov (27-4 MMA, 0-0 2024 PFL, zero points in the standings) makes his PFL debut when he takes on Magomed Umalatov (14-0 MMA, 0-0 2024 PFL, zero points in the standings in Friday’s headliner. The final fight of the first half of the regular season is an advertised maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.

2024 PFL 3 Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds

Heading into the PFL 3 main event on Friday night, both fighters stand level at 6-foot-1.  Koreshkov owns a one-inch reach advantage (76 inches to 75 inches) over Umalatov, with the latter having a 43-inch leg reach.

No leg reach information was accessible for Andrey Koreshkov at press time. Currently, the oddsmakers Magomed Umalatov installed as a -135 favorite on the money line, while Andrey Koreshkov counters as a +114 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.

Koreshkov Readies for PFL Debut on Friday Night

Andrey Koreshkov has posted a record of 5-0 over his last five fights dating back to 2019. Most recently, he scored a split decision over Lorenz Larkin (25-8, 2 NC MMA, 7-3, 1 NC Bellator), a UFC alumnus, last July during Bellator vs. Rizin 2 in Saitama, Japan.

After the fight, Koreshkov met with the press to discuss the win.

“Thank you. I’m feeling very good,” Koreshkov began. “I’m very happy because I don’t disappoint my team, my coach. It’s great. I’m very happy because it’s not my win, not only my win. It’s the win of my team, my teammates, my coaches. It’s our big win.”

In the fight game, a winner has to give credit where it’s due, and Andrey Koreshkov certainly did that last summer. With him stepping into the cage for the first time in the PFL and the first time in almost nine months, the question of ring rust is there.

How well will he do with an extended hiatus and how will he handle the quick turnaround that faces him for PFL 6 coming up in late June? He’ll have to take it one contest at a time, and it starts with the PFL 3 main event this Friday.

Umalatov Looking to Keep Unbeaten Run Going

In the other corner, Magomed Umalatov has yet to lose thus far in his career. Counting amateur MMA, he’s on a 16-fight winning streak.

Last June, he scored a unanimous decision victory over Nayib Lopez (16-1 MMA) during PFL 6 to qualify for the playoffs in August before he was forced to withdraw from them. In a recent episode of PFL Fight Camp Confidential, Umalatov mentions that the plan of attack is the same.

“This year will be harder, I think,” Umalatov said, “because of more tough fighters from Bellator [crossing over to the PFL’s roster]. It will be more interesting. I’m going to prove why I’m the best. I’m going to stay undefeated for the season for sure. I’m going to take this belt and I will be champion.”

This is a man who’s remained undefeated all throughout his professional career and one who was set to be in the playoffs two years in a row before outside circumstances put a premature end to the season for him. How will he fare on Friday?

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

You’ve got a classic strength vs. strength matchup here in the PFL 3 main event this Friday night. Both of these men have won a championship in the past, with Magomed Umalatov taking home the gold in Eagle FC.

Watch Koreshkov’s Kicking Game

Andrey Koreshkov is known for his devastating spinning kicks. Once he decides to go that route and attempts it, the fight will be a done deal once it lands.

Vaso Bakocevic found this out the hard way in 2018. During the first round of a scheduled three, Koreshkov pieced Bakocevic up with a combination of strikes. In-between kicks, Koreshkov stalked Bakocevic to keep him honest.

About a minute into the round, Koreshkov landed a tremendous spinning kick to put Bakocevic down against the cage fence and landed a brief burst of ground and pound to end the fight.

All it takes Andrey Koreshkov to score the win on Friday night in the PFL 3 main event is one spinning kick square and true.

Magomed Umalatov Can Use Combinations to End the Fight

In the other corner, Magomed Umalatov has fists of fury and he knows how to use them. One need look no further than his fight against Dilano Taylor last year during the regular season. With under 90 seconds having ticked off the first-round clock, Umalatov uncorked a right hook, then as Taylor was going backwards, moved in on him to finish off the fight with a two-punch combination.

If Umalatov lands the first big blow of the PFL 3 main event, it could be a wrap.

Final Thoughts

What a satisfying way to end the first half of the regular season. Two former champs take the first step toward adding another belt to the mantle. Who wins the day?

Prediction: Magomed Umalatov by First-Round TKO. 

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018, coming to MMASucka after stints at Overtime Heroics and Armchair All-Americans. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew is a charter member of the Youngstown Press Club. Prior to beginning his professional career, Drew was a sportswriter for YSU's student-run newspaper, The Jambar, where he supplied Press Box Perspective columns every week.

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