Natan Schulte lived up to his dark horse tag when he defeated Rashid Magomedov to win the 2018 Professional Fighters League lightweight tournament. Like his opponent, the top-seeded Schulte reached the final undefeated in the draw but needed a tiebreaker win to advance earlier in the competition. Neither fighter disappointed.
Magomedov enjoyed success with his standup, but Schulte turned to his clinch and takedowns to rally for a unanimous decision, banking $1 million in prize money in the process. Here are some of the numbers that have come to define the newly crowned PFL champion to this point in his career:
1: Amateur bout on his resume. Schulte had one recorded amateur fight and lost to Patrique Bressan at Felino Fight 2. However, the adversity did not discourage the Brazilian. The following year, he turned pro and fought Piero Severo under the Monster Black Combat flag. Schulte stopped his opponent with a front kick and follow-up punches at 1:58 of the second round.
2: Consecutive losses after his first win. Schulte was decisioned by Yuri Maia at X-Fest MMA 12 and lost via doctor stoppage to Pedro Gostinski Jr. at Nitrix Champion Fight 11.
10: Straight victories after suffering those back-to-back defeats. Schulte picked up steam when he choked out Josimar Cardoso at Bad Boy Fight Challenge 1. It was followed by nine more wins, eight of which were by stoppage.
3: Appearances in Nitrix Champion Fight. After losing to Gostinski, Schulte fought twice more for the promotion. Both fights ended with a guillotine choke submission, which has become his go-to maneuver. Schulte has delivered four of his six submissions by guillotine.
5: First-round finishes to his credit. Schulte has become known as a smart fighter who can capitalize on the smallest openings. His victims: Daniel Osmar Hoffmann, Rodrigo Basile, Gilson Lomanto, Igor Egorov and Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Jason High.
27: Percent of his pro wins by submission.
3: Losses in his professional career. Apart from his two early defeats, Schulte was also beaten by Islam Mamedov in his lone World Series of Fighting appearance. The Russian submitted him via armbar in the second round.
2: Fights with Chris Wade, another UFC veteran. Schulte defeated him via unanimous decision when they first met at PFL 2. Their second encounter was in the PFL lightweight semifinals, where Schulte emerged with a split decision.
26: Years of age. Schulte was born on Feb. 20, 1992 and hails from Joinville, Santa Catarina, Brazil. He new trains at American Top Team.