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Exclusive: Frans Mlambo reveals why he turned down UFC’s Ultimate Fighter to compete in PFL Europe

In an exclusive interview with Planet Sport, Frans Mlambo reveals why he chose PFL Europe over an opportunity to compete on the UFC's Ultimate Fighter.

Following a nineteen-month layoff, Frans Mlambo is set to return to the cage as he kicks off his PFL Europe campaign this Saturday night. 

The 32-year-old endured one of his worst years in 2022, but the South African is now relishing his long-awaited return to the fight game.

Mlambo was originally set to take on Dominique Wooding in the first round of the $100,000 PFL tournament. However, with the former Bellator contender suffering an injury, 30-year-old Spaniard Rachid Haz has since stepped in.

"After a long period, it's very hard to get excited," Mlambo told Planet Sport. "Even at this stage, I know I'm not too far away from it, it's very hard to get excited until I'm actually there, until I'm in Berlin. I'm just working on being prepared for the eventuality of the fight."

Mlambo spent a year on the sidelines before simultaneously receiving offers from both the PFL and UFC's Ultimate Fighter.

When asked why he opted to go for the European tournament, Mlambo explained: "There was a while where I didn't have anything going on. I was looking for fights for a good year. I just wasn't hearing anything at all, which made no sense because I was on a winning streak.

"I heard I got a nice little deal from PFL but then I just happened to get [an offer] from the Ultimate Fighter on the same day. I went from having no options, to having two of the best options sitting beside me.
"I was weighing the options to see what I wanted to do. But being at the stage that I am in my career, going to the Ultimate Fighter would've been a step back. I feel if I'm ever going to get into the UFC or whatever, I would've wanted to just go straight in, instead of messing around with the Ultimate Fighter business.
"The PFL offer a million dollars [to the championship winners on the main rosters] and everything about it, the way they keep you active and the good deal they gave me at the start as well. It was a no brainer. I just had to go with the PFL."
Winning PFL Europe would hand Mlambo the opportunity to fight on the main PFL roster - giving him a chance to claim the million-dollar championship prize.
Mlambo admitted that without that option, he may not have joined the European tournament.
"That's what sold me on the whole thing," he said. "I don't think I would've risked… if $100,000 was all it was, then I definitely would've gone to the Ultimate Fighter. There's other prestige connected to the UFC and stuff like that.
"But with the PFL, they offered me consistency and potentially a very big pay day so that's what I'm in here for."
Fans can watch Mlambo in action at PFL Europe 2 live on DAZN this Saturday night.
READ MORE: PFL Exclusive: John Mitchell on training with Petr Yan's coach ahead of 'biggest' career fight

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