Nate Andrews backstage before his PFL bout

Nate Andrews has a big fight coming up at PFL 5 this Thursday and is focused, primarily, on getting back to his winning ways even with a potential playoff spot looming in the distance.

Andrews will take on Rashid Magomedov at the event, which will take place at the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, NJ and will air on ESPN 2 in the United States.

“The Snake” made his regular season and organizational debut at May’s PFL 2 event, losing a hard-fought unanimous decision to Chris Wade. Despite the loss, Andrews was quite happy with his performance and felt he was the more exciting fighter.

“I felt like I fought a great fight,” Andrews told The Body Lock. “I defended a lot of takedowns, landed more in the striking and was more active on the ground. When he did get the takedowns and got me against the fence, he held on for dear life. He held on tight to try and get that lay and pray win. It went his way.”

It was the first loss Andrews had suffered in a little less than five years after going on a nine-fight finishing spree competing for New England promotion CES MMA. Losing is not something Andrews has a lot of experience with over his professional mixed martial arts career. In a crazy sport like MMA, Andrews is well aware that losses come with the territory from time-to-time, no matter who you are.

“We’re in the game of… I’ve been fortunate to be on a long winning streak,” Andrews said. “We’re in a sport that, at any given moment, anything can happen. I suffered my first loss and went on a long winning streak. I lost this one, which was a tough decision and I’m looking to get back on my winning ways.”

Feeling no pressure in a pivotal matchup

The road for Andrews doesn’t get any easier as the 2019 PFL season continues as he will take on Magomedov. The six-fight UFC veteran made quite the splash during the organization’s inaugural lightweight season, making it all the way to the championship fight, losing a unanimous decision to Natan Schulte. The Russian lightweight began his 2019 campaign with a win over Loik Radzhabov at PFL 2 in May.

Andrews understands the challenge in front of him and is excited to get back in there on Thursday night to continue his journey to $1 million.

“I like it,” Andrews said of the matchup. “He’s a well-rounded fighter, he’s been in the game for a while and he’s a veteran. It’s one of those fights where whoever capitalizes on their opportunities will come out on top. He’s well-rounded and so am I. It’s going to be a chess match and whoever can capitalize on someone’s mistakes is going to be the one to get their hand raised. I plan on that being me.”

Considering the format of the Professional Fighters League, every win and loss matters. The more points a fighter acquires throughout the regular season, the better the chances to make the playoffs and have that shot at life-changing money. Andrews isn’t feeling that pressure heading into this fight. If “The Snake” get be who he is and get the win, the rest will have the chance to take care of itself.

“No (I’m not feeling any pressure). I’m taking this one fight at a time,” Andrews explained. “I try not to look past any opponent and think, ‘Oh, I’ve got to do this, or I need to be here.’ No! First thing’s first, I have to take care of business right here. When that fight ends, then we think about what’s next. If I start trying to look to the future, that gives space for me to make mistakes. I’m not looking to do that.”

What the headlines will read on Thursday night

Both of these lightweight competitors have experience and will bring a lot of physical attributes into Atlantic City on Thursday night. Andrews and Magomedov have, somewhat, similar styles when it comes to the striking game.

Andrews feels like he has a little more meat to the bone when it comes to the standup, bringing some larger numbers in the Tale of the Tape. The Rhode Island native will look to utilize that advantage at PFL 5 in a big spot.

“I feel like if I capitalize on using my reach and my length, I feel like I’ll be able to land strikes from the outside and keep my distance,” Andrews said. “He’s a very good kickboxer, but so am I. And I have the reach. If he plans to see it striking, I feel like I have that advantage.”

Nate Andrews is not feeling the pressure, nor does he think past the fact that he needs to win this fight on Thursday night if he plans to take the next step in the 2019 PFL season. It’s a must-win fight, as all fights are in MMA. But in terms of moving forward with a chance to win $1 million at the end of the year, an impressive victory — probably a finish — needs to happen for Andrews.

“The Snake” is confident in that fact and has already taken the liberty to help the MMA media pre-write their headlines for Thursday night.

“I feel like the headlines are going to read Nate ‘The Snake’ comes back with a big win and moves on to the playoffs.”

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