Rob Wilkinson only got two fights in the UFC before he was released but he earned a measure of redemption by claiming a $1 million prize in the PFL Championships on Friday.
The Australian light heavyweight put on a striking showcase as he battered Omari Akhmedov from one side of the cage to the other while also opening a gruesome cut over his opponent’s eye. It appeared Wilkinson was nearing a knockout finish at the end of the second round but the bell sounded before he could put together a combination to put Akhmedov away.
Between rounds, the cutman worked feverishly on Akhmedov but the ringside physician took a look at him and decided he had already seen enough. The fight was stopped with Wilkinson celebrating the victory and his seven-figure payday as a result.
“The million dollars is awesome but this belt is something I was dreaming of 10 years ago,” Wilkinson said. “A lot of work behind the scenes to get here. I’m a world champion, baby!
“I knew he was saved by the bell but I was ready to go back in the third round. Everyone thought I was a first round fighter but I’ve got at least two in me.”
Wilkinson was on fire from the start of the fight as he came gunning for Akhmedov with every strike in his arsenal. He was blasting away with nasty combinations with his hands and then blasting Akhmedov with knees any time the fighters engaged in a clinch.
To his credit, Akhmedov displayed incredible heart and durability but he just couldn’t do much of anything besides prove he had an iron chin as Wilkinson was just teeing off on him over the two-round fight.
In the end, the doctor saved Akhemdov from potential harm by sending him out for more after he could barely stand when the second round ended.
Wilkinson has now won his past six fights in a row since exiting the UFC and he’ll leave with the $1 million paycheck and a PFL championship following his latest victory.