Valentin Moldavsky, a protegee of the legendary Fedor Emelianenko, has trained in wrestling, Sambo and judo before joining MMA, turning pro in 2015. Signing with Bellator in 2017, Moldavsky won seven straight, including a win over Tim Johnson to claim interim Bellator heavyweight gold at Bellator 261. He went winless in three straight, starting with a loss to Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader, but defeated Steve Mowry at Bellator 298. Moldavsky had a big showing in his PFL debut, scoring a first-round finish of former PFL champion Ante Delija.


A professional in MMA since 2008, Linton Vasell won light heavyweight titles on the British regional scene before joining Bellator in 2014. There, he was a title challenger at light heavyweight before jumping up to heavyweight in 2019, finishing with a 12-5 record in the promotion. Vassell lost to Denis Goltsov in his PFL debut in April.


This will be a trilogy fight – Moldavsky defeated Vassell at Bellator 218 via decision before Vassell knocked out Moldavsky in a heavyweight title eliminator at Bellator 292. Now, with marbles on the line as the PFL postseason draws near, who will get the bragging rights in the rubber matchup?


Moldavsky has already clinched a playoff spot; meanwhile, Vassell needs a first-round finish to make the playoffs.



Round 1


Low kick from Moldavsky. Vassell lands a left punch and a low kick. Vassell flashing the right hand. Right hand from Moldavsky. Moldavsky lands inside and makes Vassell stumble a bit. Left hook by Moldavsky. One-two from Moldavsky. Vassell misses a right hand. Low kick from Vassell. Small flurry from Moldavsky. Right hand from Moldavsky that stuns Vassell. The two fighters now chest-to-chest. Moldavsky looks for a takedown as he presses Vassell against the fence.



Moldavsky uses his power to get Vassell down. Vassell gets back to his feet, but Moldavsky immediately tries to take him back down. Vassell gets off the fence, but Moldavsky brings him right back. Moldavsky hits Vassell low. Vassell nearly uses all of the five minutes, but Moldavsky has been told another low blow will be a DQ. Moldavsky with a right hand. Vassell tries for a takedown but Moldavsky stuffs it. Vassell clips Moldavsky with a right hand. High kick from Vassell. Moldavsky scores a takedown with 10 seconds left.



Round 2


Left hand misses for Vassell. Low kick by Moldavsky. Another low kick from Moldavsky. Left hand lands for Vassell. One-two for Moldavsky. Moldavsky shoots in and gets Vassell against the fence. Moldavsky secures the takedown. Vassell makes his way back to the feet, but Moldavsky manages to bring him back down with some struggle. Moldavsky keeping Vassell’s legs down.


Vassell manages to work his way back to the feet halfway through the round. Vassell looking to control the wrist and keep space. Moldavsky continues to press him in. A couple of big knees from Vassell to Moldavsky’s stomach. Some pummeling, and Vassell drops Moldavsky with a knee to the head! Vassell jumps down and gets in Moldavsky’s guard. Moldavsky looking to stand up, while Vassell looking for mount. Vassell ends the round on top after landing the biggest strike of the fight thus far!




Round 3


The two begin to exchange to start the round. Right hand from Vassell backs Moldavsky up. Moldavsky shoots in and presses Vassell into the fence. Vassell is the one who gets the fight to the ground, and he gets to Moldavsky’s back! Vassell gets the hook in but goes too high. Moldavsky gets him off, and now he’s the one on top. Vassell sweeps and now he’s back on top. Vassell trying to get to Moldavsky’s back, keeping Moldavsky on the mat.


Moldavsky turns, and he nearly gets out, but Vassell keeps him down. Vassell grabs the waist of Moldavsky, but Moldavsky gets back to his feet with the two near the fence. Moldavsky spins out of it to get Vassell’s back to the fence. Moldavsky gets Vassell down and gets in top position. Vassell gets back to his feet. Knee to the body by Vassell. Moldavsky gets one more takedown before the final bell.





Linton Vassell defeats Valentin Moldavsky by split decision (29-28x2, 28-29) in the PFL Heavyweight Division.

  • The decision win isn’t enough for Vassell, who is eliminated. Moldavsky ends up as the #3 seed.
  • With that result, Tim Johnson earns the final playoff spot in the heavyweight division
  • Vassell wins the trilogy fight and is now 2-1 against Moldavsky
  • Vassell moves his career record to 25-9


2024 PFL Heavyweight Semifinals

#1 Denis Goltsov vs. #4 Tim Johnson

#2 Oleg Popov vs. #3 Valentin Moldavsky


2024 PFL Women’s Flyweight Semifinals

#1 Dakota Ditcheva vs. #4 Jena Bishop

#2 Taila Santos vs. #3 Liz Carmouche