PFL women’s lightweight and heavyweight finals set

MMA, PFL

Tonight, the PFL was back with their second playoff card of the 2021 season. The women’s lightweight division and heavyweight division took center stage this evening. In the main event, Kayla Harrison (10-0) took on Genah Fabian (4-1).

Harrison was the massive betting favorite heading into the 2021 PFL season and she made it look easy through her first two fights. She completely dominated her first two fights. Genah Fabian was looking to play spoiler by pulling off the massive upset.

However, it was not meant to be. Harrison did her thing and in the first round, she was able to take Fabian down. Once the fight was on the ground, it was simply a matter of time.

Harrison immediately transitioned to the mount and started brutalizing Fabian. Fabian gave up her back and Harrison rained down shots until the referee stopped the fight. Another dominant performance from Kayla Harrison.

In the other PFL lightweight semifinal, we saw Mariana Morais (17-11) take on Taylor Guardado (2-1). Originally, Larissa Pacheco was supposed to fight Guardado, but Morais stepped in after Pacheco missed weight.

The fight was very competitive between these two. Guardado did a good job with her pressure and landed some really solid shots in the first couple of rounds. Morais was able to use her judo to secure top position in the first and the third round.

The last two rounds were very easy to score with Guardado taking the second and Morais taking the third. The first round was incredibly close. Guardado landed the better shots while Morais secured a takedown. Ultimately, two of the three judges gave the fight to Guardado and she will now take on Kayla Harrison in the PFL finals.

PFL Heavyweight Finale Set

In addition to the women’s lightweight playoffs, we also saw the heavyweights battle it out for a spot in the PFL finals. In the first heavyweight semifinal matchup we saw the 2 and 3 seed go head-to-head as Russia’s Denis Goltsov (27-6) took on Croatia’s Ante Delija (18-4).

Heading into this matchup, Goltsov was a significant favorite. Delija was just 1-1 leading into the playoffs, and nobody was giving him much of a chance. However, he came to play spoiler tonight at PFL 8.

In the first two rounds, Goltsov was really controlling the first half of the round. However, Delija ended up on top to finish both rounds. In the first round, he controlled Goltsov for a significant portion of the round.

The third round was all Delija as he got an early takedown and controlled Goltsov. In the end, all three judges gave the fight to Delija as he pulled the upset and clinched a spot in the PFL finals.

Delija then sat back and watched Bruno Cappelozza (12-5) take on Jamelle Jones (12-6) in the other semifinal matchup. Cappelozza was another big favorite as the top overall seed after scoring two first round finishes. Jones was going to look to be the spoiler in this one.

However, it was evident from the opening minute that he was going to have his hands full. Cappelozza controlled the striking at range and showed off a big speed advantage in his matchup with Jones.

In the second round, a stiff left straight from Cappelozza put Jones down and he followed up to end the fight. Bruno Cappelozza will not take on Ante Delija in the PFL finals.

PFL Playoffs Preview: Heavyweights and Women’s Lightweight take center stage

Tonight, the PFL returns for the second playoff event of 2021. Last week, we saw the men’s lightweight and welterweight playoffs with two finale matchups booked. Tonight, it’s the women’s lightweight division and the heavyweight division that will take center stage.

Before previewing tonight’s PFL playoff action, there is one important note. The top seed in the women’s lightweight bracket has been pulled from the event. Larissa Pacheco (15-4) started her PFL season with two first round knockouts. She appeared to be on a collision course with Kayla Harrison (10-0).

However, Pacheco missed weight by two pounds and was pulled from the PFL playoffs. Mariana Morais (17-11) now steps in for Pacheco and will take on Taylor Guardado (2-1) in the first semifinal matchup. Of course, all eyes are going to be on the main event and the second lightweight semifinal matchup.

That matchup features the two-time PFL champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison. Harrison has stormed through all of her competition in her ten professional fights. Standing across from her tonight is Genah Fabian (4-1). Fabian is 2-0 with one finish thus far in the 2021 season.

PFL Heavyweights and Predictions

The other PFL playoff matchups feature the promotion’s heavyweight. The featured semifinal matchup pairs together Bruno Cappelozza (12-5) and Jamelle Jones (12-6). Cappelozza earned the top seed with two first round knockouts this year.

Jones was able to get into the playoffs while only having competed once in the 2021 PFL season. In his one performance, he was able to score a first round stoppage over Klidson Abreu back in June.

In the other PFL semifinal we have a matchup between two European heavyweights. Russia’s Denis Goltsov (27-6) takes on Croatia’s Ante Delija (18-4). Delija went 1-1 this season with a loss to Cappelozza while Goltsov went a perfect 2-0.

We should be in for a tremendous night of fights in the PFL playoffs.

Official Predictions: 

  • Kayla Harrison – Genah Fabian – Harrison by TKO (Round 1)
  • Bruno Cappelozza – Jamelle Jones – Cappelozza by TKO (Round 2)
  • Taylor Guardado – Mariana Morais – Morais by Decision
  • Denis Goltsov – Ante Delija – Goltsov by TKO (Round 1)

PFL 7 Preview: Welterweight and Lightweight playoffs begin tonight

Tonight the PFL is back with their seventh event of 2021 and the playoffs begin tonight. It will be the welterweights and lightweights that will take center stage tonight as four men look to punch their ticket to the finals and one step closer to one million dollars.

In the main event of the evening, former Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald (22-7-1) will be taking on former PFL champion Ray Cooper III (22-7-1). This is the welterweight matchup we were hoping to see out of this PFL season.

That said, nobody thought we’d see it in the semifinals. MacDonald was the victim of a horrific decision against Gleison Tibau back at PFL 5 which robbed him of a higher seed. Had MacDonald won that fight, he could’ve met Cooper III in the finals.

Instead, we see it in the semis. Cooper III has been dominant so far with two wins including a first round submission thus far in the 2021 PFL season. Whoever wins this matchup tonight could be the favorite heading into the finals.

The other semifinal matchup features former PFL champion Magomed Magomedkerimov (28-5) taking on Sadibou Sy (9-5-2, 1 NC). Magomedkerimov has never lost under the PFL banner and he’s the big favorite to get it done tonight against Sadibou Sy. Sy is just 3-3, 1 NC in seven career PFL bouts.

PFL Lightweight Playoffs

Opening up the featured card on ESPN is the two lightweight semifinal matchups. The popular Clay Collard (20-8) takes on Raush Manfio (13-3) in one of the matchups. Both of these men have shared the same two opponents thus far in the 2021 season.

Collard and Manfio have decision wins over Anthony Pettis and Joilton Lutterbach. Both of Manfio’s wins were by split decision while Collard was able to get a unanimous decision over Anthony Pettis.

This is a tremendous matchup and is likely to gain a lot of attention at PFL 7. The other lightweight semifinal actually features a rematch from the first PFL event of 2021.

Alex Martinez (8-1) will be taking on Loik Radzhabov (14-3-1). Martinez picked up the split decision back at PFL 1 and Radzhabov bounced back to defeat Akhmed Aliev by first round knockout at PFL 4.

Alex Martinez lost his first professional fight in his last appearance by dropping a split decision to Natan Schulte. That said, despite both men being 1-1, they’ve both secured a spot in the semifinals tonight.

Playoff Predictions

  • Rory MacDonald vs Ray Cooper III – Cooper III by Unanimous Decision
  • Magomed Magomedkerimov vs Sadibou Sy – Magomedkerimov by Unanimous Decision
  • Clay Collard vs Rausch Manfio – Collard by Unanimous Decision
  • Alex Martinez vs Loik Radzhabov – Martinez by Split Decision

PFL books Claressa Shields – Abigail Montes

The greatest female boxer in the world has her next PFL fight set. Today, the promotion announced that Claressa Shields (1-0) will be returning to the cage this fall. Shields will be taking on Abigail Montes (2-0) in her next matchup.

The two ladies will square off at the PFL Championship event that is scheduled for Wednesday, October 27th. Shields will be making her second appearance for PFL and she’s hoping for an easier outing this time around.

That said, she’s not getting an easy fight in her next matchup. Abigail Montes is very young in her career just like Shields is. Montes just competed in her second professional MMA fight back in April when she got a TKO victory.

This will be her first fight with PFL. In her two wins thus far, Montes has shown good ground skills and some pretty decent kickboxing. Granted, competition needs to be taken into consideration here.

Second PFL appearance for ‘The GWOAT’

When Shields makes the walk on October 27th, it will be her third combat sports event of the year in 2021. Back in March, Shields defeated Mare Eve Dicaire by unanimous decision to win another world title in boxing.

After that victory, Shields shifted her focus towards her MMA debut with PFL. Shields made her debut back in June when she took on Brittney Elkin. Elkin entered the contest at just 3-6 professionally. However, Elkin was big and she had a jiu jitsu brown belt.

The first two rounds really showed Shields’ inexperience. While Shields had a couple of moments of success on the feet, Elkin was able to get the fight to the ground and control her at PFL 4.

In the third round, Shields was going to need a finish and that’s what she got. After hurting Elkin on the feet, Shields was able to stuff a takedown and she ended up on top. Once on top, Shields rained down punches and elbows to get the finish.

You have to imagine that Shields has been continuously working on her ground skills and takedown defense leading into this next PFL matchup. If she can keep a fight standing, there’s virtually no woman in the world that can beat her. However, she’s got her work cut out for her in terms of keeping it standing.

After failing to make the PFL playoffs, where does Anthony Pettis go from here?

Last December, PFL made huge waves when they signed former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis (24-12). The Professional Fighters League really wanted to invest in big names and they signed one of the biggest on the market.

The UFC tried to resign Pettis earlier in 2020, however, Showtime wanted to bet on himself. Pettis won his final two UFC fights and rode that momentum wave into free agency. Once on the open market, PFL made their big offer.

Pettis signed an exclusive deal with PFL just days after wrapping up his contract with the UFC. Heading into the 2021 season, there were a ton of eyes on Anthony Pettis. Pettis had a target on his back and he said that he relished that.

Back in April, Pettis made his debut with the promotion against Clay Collard. Collard dominated the first two rounds before Pettis came on strong and nearly got a finish in the third round. Ultimately, Pettis lost at PFL 4.

Last week at PFL 6, Pettis made his second appearance against Raush Manfio. Pettis needed a win of any kind to get a spot in the playoffs. However, after starting strong, Pettis was dominated in the third round which ultimately swung the decision in the favor of Manfio.

What’s next after being eliminated from the PFL playoffs?

With Anthony Pettis being eliminated, I think he’s going to take a little time off. PFL is shifting to their playoffs and it doesn’t look like Pettis will have an opportunity to compete until next year under the Professional Fighters League banner.

Now, PFL could always let him take a one-off fight in his down time. The promotion has hinted that they would allow fighters to do that. However, we don’t know if that’s the route that Pettis will take.

The former UFC lightweight champion is starting his own MMA Promotion called Showtime Fighting Championship. The SFC will make it’s promotional debut in October of this year. My guess is that Pettis will be focused on that and business ventures for the time being.

By all accounts, Pettis will be in the PFL in 2022. While PFL’s 2021 season was contained mostly in a bubble, hopefully when Showtime makes his return next year it can be in front of a packed crowd.

PFL 6 Results: Anthony Pettis eliminated from playoffs and Kayla Harrison stays perfect

The PFL returned tonight for their sixth and final regular season event of 2021. In the co-main event of the evening, former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis (24-12) returned as he took on Raush Manfio (13-3).

Pettis was a massive signing for PFL heading into the 2021 season. The Professional Fighters League put a ton of money behind Pettis and they hyped up the signing. It was a big signing for PFL, but Pettis needed to perform to make it worth it.

However, Pettis dropped his PFL debut to Clay Collard back in April. Tonight, he stood across the cage from Raush Manfio and he needed a win to even be in contention for the playoffs. A decision win for Pettis would’ve put him in tiebreaker, but a finish would’ve guaranteed him a spot.

PFL 6 Recap

I was incredibly encouraged with what I saw from Pettis in the opening rounds at PFL 6. Pettis looked much more aggressive and you could tell that he knew that he needed a big victory to advance to the playoffs.

Through the first two rounds, I thought that Pettis was getting the better of the striking at PFL 6. I had Pettis up 2-0 heading into the third and final round where the fight completely changed.

Early in the round, Manfio landed a big shot that hurt and dropped Pettis. Manfio then landed a big knee which put Pettis down a second time. Pettis was able to get back up and finished the round, but it was a clear round for Manfio.

Personally, I still had Pettis winning at PFL 6, but two of the judges didn’t agree. Raush Manfio took the split decision victory and eliminated Pettis from the 2021 playoffs. Definitely not what the promotion that was going to happen when they brought in Anthony Pettis.

In the main event of the evening, Kayla Harrison (10-0) returned to the cage. Harrison took on the veteran Cindy Dandois (16-7) who was looking to pull off the massive upset over the PFL queen. However, it was not meant to be.

As Harrison has done with all of her opponents, she went through Dandois like a hot knife through butter. Harrison picked up the first round armbar finish after dominating Dandois on the ground in the first. I don’t know if anyone in PFL can even be competitive with her at this point.

PFL 6 Preview: Kayla Harrison and Anthony Pettis make their second appearances of 2021

MMA, PFL

Tomorrow night the PFL returns for their sixth event of 2021. The card will see a mix of weight classes competing, but in the main event, the women’s lightweight division will be the focus.

Two-time defending PFL lightweight champion and former Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison (9-0) returns to the cage. She will be looking to pick up her second win of the season as she takes on Cindy Dandois (16-6).

Dandois is a veteran who has fought for all of the big promotions during her career. She dropped her PFL debut earlier this year, but she will be looking to pull off the massive upset tomorrow night.

Standing in her way might just be one of the best women’s fighters in the world. Kayla Harrison has been nothing short of dominant in her professional fighting career thus far. The former Judo Gold Medalist is progressing in her career and she keeps getting better.

After her first round win in her 2021 PFL season debut, Harrison said that she was the baddest woman on the planet. While that title still belongs to Amanda Nunes, Harrison is on her way to making it interesting.

Other matchups at PFL 6

In addition to the women’s lightweight division, the men’s lightweights will be on display in the co-main event of PFL 6. Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (24-11) will be making his second appearance with The Professional Fight League.

Pettis will be taking on Raush Manfio (12-3). The former UFC champion was a massive signing for PFL for the 2021 season, but he dropped his season debut to Clay Collard. Now, Pettis will look to get back on track tomorrow night.

Lance Palmer (22-4) will also be competing tomorrow night at PFL 6 as he takes on the undefeated Movlid Khaybulaev (16-0-1). There are a ton of great matchups tomorrow night as PFL goes head-to-head with Bellator on Friday night.

I’m looking forward to this card and you can see the full lineup below.

PFL: Claressa Shields second fight date is set

Arguably the greatest female boxer of all time has her second date under the PFL banner. The ‘GWOAT’ Claressa Shields (1-0) will be competing in her second professional MMA contest on August 27th.

The news was first reported yesterday by Ariel Helwani who confirmed with PFL officials. August 27th will also play host to the women’s lightweight playoffs. We will likely see fellow Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison on the same card as Shields.

At this time, PFL has not announced who Shields will be taking on in August. She made her professional mixed martial arts debut a couple of weeks ago at PFL 4 and she’s looking to get right back in there.

While Shields has said that she will continue to box along with competing in MMA, she’s not going back to boxing just yet. Based on the performance at PFL 4, I think Shields realizes that there is a lot of work to be done in the cage.

Expectations for Shields’ next PFL Fight

In her first fight at PFL 4, Shields took on Brittney Elkin (3-7), Elkin didn’t have the prettiest record, but she was a jiu jitsu brown belt and she was bigger that Shields. In the first two rounds, it was very clear that Shields was inexperienced on the ground.

Elkin was able to get dominant positions in both of the first two rounds. You could tell how dangerous Shields is with her hands by watching their brief striking exchanges, but that was washed out by her inexperience on the ground.

However, in the third round at PFL 4, Shields was able to rock Elkin bad on the feet. She sprawled well in defending a takedown and got top position. Once there, she rained down massive shots and picked up the come from behind TKO win in her MMA debut.

It was a great moment for Shields and it was a big learning opportunity. In my opinion, I think PFL is going to give her potentially someone even easier for her second fight. The promotion is betting big on Shields and she was dangerously close to losing her first fight.

If I was thinking about this from a business perspective, I would book her against someone she’s likely to have a highlight reel knockout against. Give her a ton of confidence while she continues to build her skills. I’ll be very interested to see how PFL books her.

Previewing PFL 5

Tonight PFL returns for their fifth event of the 2021 season. Welterweights and light heavyweights will take center stage this evening. In the main event of the evening, former Bellator champion and top UFC contender Rory MacDonald (22-6-1) will be taking on UFC veteran Gleison Tibau (35-15).

MacDonald is making his second appearance for PFL after being one of the promotion’s biggest signings before the 2020 season. Last year was supposed to be the PFL coming out party for Rory MacDonald, however, the pandemic cancelled his first season.

Back in April, he finally got to make his PFL debut when he took on Curtis Millender. MacDonald made quick work of the UFC and Bellator veteran as he submitted him in the first round. Now, he takes on another UFC veteran in Gleison Tibau.

Tibau lost his opening matchup at PFL 2 by decision. That loss snapped a two-fight winning streak which included a victory over former Bellator champion Will Brooks. At 37 years old, Tibau is now fighting in the welterweight division after spending the majority of his career at lightweight.

I do not expect this main event at PFL 5 to be very competitive. We very well might see another first round finish from The Red King. Rory MacDonald is a massive betting favorite and he should be.

Other matchups at PFL 5

I’m incredibly excited to see the 2019 PFL champion Ray Cooper III (21-7-1) compete tonight as he takes on Nikolay Aleksakhin (24-5, 1 NC). Cooper had a dominant first round submission victory back in April to start his 2021 season.

Ray Cooper III made his PFL debut in the 2018 season. He started 4-0 which included two stoppage wins over former world champion Jake Shields. Cooper was then submitted in the finals. However, he bounced back to win the 2019 season and become welterweight champion.

Now, it is worth noting that Cooper missed weight for this fight. As a result, he was docked a point in the standings which makes a win even more important for the former champion. Aleksakhin had his first matchup of the season end in a No Contest after an accidental eye poke back in February. That was Aleksakhin’s second appearance in the PFL cage.

I’m also very excited to see the matchup between light heavyweights Vinny Magalhaes (19-12, 1 NC) and Antonio Carlos Jr (11-5, 1 NC). The two UFC vets are two of the best submission artists in the game. If you’re a fan of grappling this is definitely one to watch at PFL 5.

You can check out the full lineup for tonight’s PFL card below.

PFL 4 Recap: Claressa Shields survives early onslaught to score third round TKO

Tonight at PFL 4, Claressa Shields (0-0) made her highly anticipated MMA debut. Arguably the greatest female boxer of all time took to the cage to take on 12-year MMA veteran Brittney Elkin (3-6).

In the first round at PFL 4, Shields immediately took the center and looked for her right hand. However, Brittney Elkin went for the takedown as soon as she could. Elkin was able to land the takedown, but Shields did a good job of getting up to her feet.

Shields was actually able to reverse the position and land good shots. However, Elkin was able to immediately get back to the top position and she was able to work her way to the mount. Elkin, a jiu jitsu brown belt, held the mount but couldn’t mount a ton of offense.

In the final minute of the first round at PFL 4,. Elkin did some damage from the mount, but couldn’t finish the fight. In the second round, Shields started the round extremely well. She landed some bombs on Elkin and looked like she hurt Elkin which forced a sloppy shot.

Shields followed Elkin to the ground and she was immediately put on her back. It was very evident at PFL 4 that Shields was showing a ton of inexperience on the ground. Elkin moved right to the mount as soon as she got the top position.

The rest of the second round featured Elkin dominating from the mount position. Shields did show some good defense in escaping an arm bar just at the end of the second round and she landed bombs in the final seconds of the round.

In the third round, Shields completely turned things around. She defended a takedown beautifully and was able to get top position on Brittney Elkin. Shields rained down bombs and scored the TKO win in her MMA debut at PFL 4.

Clay Collard picks up second win of 2021

In the co-main event, Clay Collard (19-9, 1 NC) returned to take on Joilton Lutterbach (35-9, 1 NC). Back at PFL 1, Collard spoiled the debut of former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. On the heels of his successful year in professional boxing, Collard rode that momentum into PFL 1.

However, tonight was a different story. From the first round, you could tell that Lutterbach was going to be a challenge for Collard. It took Collard a while to get comfortable and throughout the night he would try striking blitzes to throw off Lutterbach.

However, every time he did that, he would get taken down. The fight ultimately came down to the grappling of Lutterbach versus the striking of Collard. The third round was the decisive round  of the fight. Collard landed bigger shots, but Lutterbach landed takedowns. Ultimately, two of the judges at PFL 4 gave the fight to Clay Collard.

Other PFL 4 Main Card Results

The action was great from start to finish at PFL 4. With the main card on ESPN2, all of the fights delivered. In the first fight on the main card Natan Schulte (21-4-1) took on Alex Martinez (8-1, 1 NC). Martinez was originally supposed to fight Anthony Pettis, however, Pettis pulled out yesterday due to an illness.

It was a very close fight this evening and Martinez had some big moments. However, the takedowns proved to be the difference as Natan Schulte won a split decision. A big bounce back win for the former PFL champion who lost in his opening fight in 2021.

Fresh off of defeating Lance Palmer, Bubba Jenkins (16-4) returned to take on Bobby Moffett (13-6, 1 NC). Jenkins controlled the first part of the fight, but Moffett proved to be extremely tough. Moffett poured it on in the third round, but ultimately it wasn’t enough to sway the judges and Jenkins picked up the win.

Brendan Loughnane (21-3) and Tyler Diamond (12-2) put on an incredible fight at PFL 4. Both men left everything they had in the cage, but Loughnane won a decision and clinched a spot in the PFL featherweight playoffs. It was an incredible night of fights for the Professional Fight League overall.