Philipe Lins scored three points in the first round of the Professional Fighters League season, moving one step closer to the heavyweight playoffs, and he did that without even entering the cage to compete.
Lins, who fought as a light heavyweight for most of his career including his six Bellator appearances, was scheduled to face UFC veteran Shawn Jordan in June, but the fight fell through after Jordan managed to miss the heavyweight limit, tipping the scales at 275 pounds, nine over the maximum allowance.
The New York State Athletic Commission didn’t allow the fight to go on, and Lins was awarded three points without fighting.
“I was surprised because that had never happened to me before,” Lins told MMA Fighting. “To travel to a fight, feel all that adrenaline, and it fells off.”
When the dust settled, “Monstro” realized it was a blessing in disguise.
“I felt lost there, but then I spoke to my coaches and they felt that it was actually better,” Lins said. “It’s a tournament and I would win three points like if I had won via decision and I didn’t have to fight, so it was kind of an advantage — and also fair.”
Lins will finally enter the cage at tonight’s PFL 4 in New York, taking on UFC veteran Alex Nicholson. “The Spartan” stopped Jake Heun with a flying knee in the second round at PFL 1 to score five points, and “Monstro” expects an exciting contest.
“He’s a great fighter, has been in the UFC, has a big name, and is also tough,” Lins said. “I know all that, but I trained really well and I’m prepared. I did my entire camp at American Top Team and we have a good strategy. I always go for the finish in my fights and it won’t be different this time.”
“It’s going to be a good fight,” he continued. “I’m more technical than him, based on what I’ve seen in his fights, but he has a lot of confidence, spinning punches, good knees. I’ll work hard to avoid all that and get the finish to score extra points and get a good position in the playoffs.”
A stoppage victory at PFL 4 would add more points for Lins, but he sees other benefits in that.
“If you KO or submit your opponent, other fighters will look at you with different eyes,” Lins said. “They will pay attention to you. They would choose to avoid fighting you if they could, so if they are set to fight you next they will always have that in their heads.”
Skipping the first round and still getting points means Lins will be fresher for the next fight, but also extended his layoff. With no fights since his departure from Bellator in Aug. 2017, when he lost to Vadim Nemkov, “Monstro” feels he’s a different athlete after joining American Top Team in Florida.
“Fights are unpredictable, but I’m sure that if that fight was today the result would have been different,” Lins said. “I feel way better now, more aware of I can do and more experienced. I trained with tough guys at American Top Team, a lot of Russians, big names from the UFC, and I’m believe I’m a whole other fighter now. I’m way better today.”
“I had a lot of friends in Brazil and I feel I didn’t dedicate to training as much as I do now in the United States,” he continued. “Training is my life now, three times a day. I would train well in Brazil when I had a fight booked, but I learned here that I really am an athlete and I have to train hard even if I don’t have a fight booked. That helped me a lot. If I had that when I was living in Brazil, many things would have been different.”