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Exclusive: PFL Europe’s Frans Mlambo admits he’s ‘way behind’ career goals on eve of Paris play-off

PFL Europe’s bantamweight tournament contender Frans Mlambo will be looking to secure his spot in the final when he takes on Moktar Benkaci in Paris this Saturday night.

The Irishman started the $100,000 tournament with a majority decision victory over Rachid Haz in Berlin last July.

That was Mlambo’s first outing since winning a split decision against Kevin Cordero 19 months prior.

The 32-year-old’s victory over Cordero was his fifth straight success and it earned him $100,00 for going all the way in the 2021 Copa Combate tournament.

Mlambo seemed destined for bigger and better things, though despite his impressive run, the mixed martial artists wouldn’t fight again until the first round of inaugural PFL Europe season.

Spending over a year and a half away from the octagon forced the South-African born fighter to return to his landscaping job in order to pay the bills.

Mlambo is now back with a major organisation, and he believes this is where he belongs.

Speaking to Planet Sport, he said: “I feel like this is it now with the PFL. This is exactly where I need to be. I feel like I’m settled here. This is where I’m going to put my work, to be the best in this organisation at my weight. Taking it step by step.”

When asked whether he has unfulfilled boxes he’d still like to tick off before hanging up his gloves, Mlambo said: “I’m flippin way behind on my boxes that need to be ticked off. When I started this whole thing, I said ‘by the time I’m 28, I’ll be married, have a house and all that’. I don’t have any of that.

“That’s what I’m still working on. I’m working on getting my family life sorted and finances are going to make that happen.

“PFL has given me the opportunity to get those finances, obviously they’re not just giving it to me, they’re just giving me the opportunity to fight for it.

“That’s what I’m going to do. That’s the goal, that’s been the goal forever. It’s just taking way longer to get to where we need to.

“There’s been a few speed bumps, but we’re climbing, slowly but surely.”

Should Mlambo get the better of Benkaci in Paris, he will then square off in the final against Ali Taleb or Khurshed Kakhorov.

“I don’t really like fighting people I train with and I train with Khakhrov,” said Mlambo when asked about his preference for a potential final bout.

“The other guy, Taleb, looks really good. I’d like to test myself against him.”

The bantamweight clash will take place on Saturday, September 30 and will be broadcast live on DAZN for fans in the United Kingdom. 

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