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PFL Europe: Julien Lopez missed a flight, had three hours sleep and dropped 4kg before stunning win

Julien Lopez picked up a stunning victory over Dominique Wooding at PFL Europe 2 in Newcastle, though the true story of his achievement only came to light after the fight.

The Frenchman was not part of the original card as Wooding was set to compete against Luke Shanks in the $100k PFL Europe bantamweight season opener.

However, with Shanks forced to pull out, Lopez took the fight on three days’ notice.

Despite being dropped in the early stages of the fight, Lopez produced a jaw-dropping comeback and ended up putting Wooding to sleep with a vicious guillotine.

The 34-year-old, who was a big underdog according to the bookmakers, is now through to the semi-final of the PFL Europe bantamweight tournament where he will take on Germany’s Alexander Luster.

Getting a victory on short notice against a former Cage Warriors champion like Wooding is a monumental challenge.

However, as Lopez later revealed, the situation was far more difficult than anyone first thought.

Speaking to Planet Sport, Lopez said: “I thank the PFL for the opportunity. I was brave to take the short notice but the difficulty of the fight was also the fact that I missed the penultimate flight to Newcastle and I arrived at around 11pm at my hotel.

“I started dropping weight and I only had to sleep three hours at night, I lost four and a half kilos in less than seven hours.

“I arrived exhausted at the weigh-in, made the weight and then I had problems with rehydration which meant I did not gain the weight I wanted and the energy to start this fight.

“Then the fight was difficult because without a game plan in front of an Englishman at home who specialises in striking, is a double Cage Warriors champion – it was very disturbing.

“We had a great exchange with Dom Wooding and I respect the fight and the fighter. I am very excited about the idea of facing Alexander Luster.”

Lopez is now just two wins away from claiming $100k and becoming a European champion. The Frenchman will take on Luster in the play-off bout on September 28 in Glasgow at PFL Europe 3.

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