In-form Tasmanian fighter Rob Wilkinson is determined to add his name to Australia’s growing global legacy in MMA as he eyes his PFL playoffs debut on Saturday.
Former UFC star Wilkinson will fight Brazil’s Delon Monte in the light heavyweight semifinals at PFL 7 at the famed Madison Square Garden in New York.
The 30-year-old, nicknamed ‘Razor,’ is the top seed and is drawing on inspiration from other Australian combat sport greats as he prepares for a “bucket list” moment.
Watch the 2022 PFL playoffs – featuring Anthony Pettis, Rob Wilkinson and Kayla Harrison – live, exclusive and on demand on Stan Sport
”It would mean a lot to me,” Wilkinson said when asked about the significance of becoming the first Aussie to win a PFL title, referencing champions Alexander Volkanovski and Robert Whittaker.
“The million dollars (USD cash prize) is huge, but that’s just a bonus to me.
“The goal is becoming a world champion. That’s what I’m gonna stay focused on. That’s been a goal of mine for 13 years and I’m excited to fulfil that.”
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Rob Wilkinson throws a punch against Bruce Souto during PFL 1. (Getty)
Wilkinson has gained valuable experience from his UFC background, which included a fight against Kiwi champion Israel Adesanya in 2018.
“I definitely learned some lessons from fighting Israel. Even after… I got invited to train with him for a while.”
Wilkinson has already beaten Brazil’s Bruce Souto in April (second round TKO) this year then the Czech Republic’s Viktor Pesta in the first round in June.
Now with the difficult task of handling the aggressive Monte, Wilkinson is confident in his preparation in order to move into the final.
”My whole career I’ve been training for that sort of matchup,” he said, after acknowledging his opponent’s tendencies to come out ”quite wild” with ”big loopy punches” in previous fights.
Wilkinson claimed his ”style works really well for that… my technical boxing is a lot better than his.”
Whilst Monte has notably never been knocked out in his career, Wilkinson is confident he will be ”finishing the fight for sure,” through either ”knockout or submission.”
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