Ryoji Kudo had his first fight in Professional Fighters League (PFL) end prematurely after an accidental clash of heads led to a gruesome cut.
Kudo was welcomed to the SmartCage by Brendan Loughnane, a featherweight semifinalist from the previous season. The Japanese fighter fared quite well in his inaugural appearance under the PFL banner, finding success in most of the striking exchanges. After being dropped early in the first round, Loughnane fought on, utilizing his wrestling and pursuing several takedowns against Kudo, who was difficult to get and hold down.
Takedown attempts were traded in the third round, but one of them proved costly for Kudo. Just as he appeared to shoot in, Loughnane changed levels and both men collided. It was immediately clear Kudo took the brunt of the impact, as evidenced by the cut that had opened up on his forehead. Referee Gary Copeland paused the action and requested the cageside physician, who tried to contain the blood pouring out of the cut and into the eye of Kudo. The effort was to no avail, and Kudo was deemed ineligible to continue.
The fight ended at the 3:00 mark of Round 3, which meant that enough time expired for it to go to the judges’ scorecards for a technical decision. Loughnane was awarded the win, earning three points to begin his season.
Moments after his fight with Loughnane, Kudo got cleaned up and showed off the cut on social media.
Warning: Photo below is graphic. Please proceed with caution.
— 佐藤天 Takashi Sato (@satotenten) April 29, 2022
Kudo has now suffered consecutive losses for the first time in his professional career. The Tribe Tokyo MMA Product lost a majority decision to Keisuke Sasu for the then-vacant Shooto featherweight championship at Shooto 2021 Vol.5 this past July.
Loughnane returned to the win column with the decision over Kudo.
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