By Patrick DeMoss, 6/9/18–Well, the first PFL event in my opinion, was a great success. It displayed some fantastic fights and has brought some intriguing factors into the MMA world that I think many will tune into just to see how it plays out. The point system introduced encourages fighter to seek a finish as fast as they can, and it really made for pretty much every fight be entertaining to watch, even to a casual fan.
RECAP: Main Card
The first fight on NBCSN certainly didn’t disappoint. Alex Nicholson (12-5, MMA) didn’t leave the crowd displeasured, scoring a second-round KO of Jake Heun, (11-7, MMA). Nicholson pulled a flying knee out of his back pocket that left Heun unconscious on the mat. Nicholson timed it perfectly, setting up with faints and waiting for Heun to shoot in, well executed, well timed, and ultimately earned the “Spartan” five points.
Next up we had Timur Valiev (12-2, MMA) and Max Coga, (19-4) go the distance at an incredible pace. Ultimatley, Valiev used his high-volume pressure and wrestling to pull of the victory, but Coga never faded and threw everything he could put on Valiev up until the final bell.
The co-main event saw a familiar face in Lance Palmer (13-3, MMA) put his mark in the PFL’s featherweight division with a beautiful second-round RNC of Bekbulat Magomedov (19-2, MMA). It was a stiff challenge for the former WSOF champion to take on in his first fight for PFL, but Palmer passed the test and racked up five points in the process.
The main event was a great scrap, but not all too competitive, as undefeated talent, Andre Harrison (18-0, MMA), dominated China’s Juma Tuerxun. Juma had glimpses here and there, but Harrison’s striking and grappling just outmatched anything Tuerxun could present to him. Harrison may have only received three points, but he is going to be very difficult to beat in this stacked featherweight division.
The fights were fantastic from start to finish. The opening fight on the card, Francimar Barraso (20-7, MMA) vs Daniel Gallemore (7-5, MMA), was an intense fight up until an eye injury handed Gallemore the loss. Barraso had a stint in the UFC, and I think his cage experience will be something to watch out for in the future.
Hopping down to the Featherweight division, we saw Brazilian talent, Alexandre Almedia (19-7, MMA) claim his six points with a first round stoppage of Lee Coville, (4-2, MMA). Almedia dominated the mat and swept up Coville with a beautiful armbar to secure the victory.
The next fight up was Magomed Idrisov (8-3, MMA) and Steven Siler (30-17, MMA). It was a competitive bout and had a good pace up until Siler was able to pull off a triangle choke late in the first to also rack up six points. It was highly impressive considering Siler had been cracked right on the button moments before and was dropped and nearly was TKO’d by Idrisov.
Heavyweight action followed up and certainly did not disappoint. Kevin Tiller (9-1, MMA) cracked Caio Alencar, (11-3, MMA) with a beautiful right hand that put Alencar unconscious before he could even fall to the mat. Tiller, a former middleweight, claimed his ninth overall career victory and showcased some freaky power I’m sure all the other heavyweights are now aware of.
After four first round finishes, the streak was broken as Nazareno Malegarie, (28-4, MMA) and Marcos Galvao (18-9-1, MMA) went the full three rounds. Ultimately, Malegarie earned the decision by finding his distance and controlling the tempo throughout the fight.
Next up, we saw heavyeight veteran, Jared Rosholt (16-4, MMA) absolutely dominating Valdrin Istrefi (12-2, MMA) from the opening bell, to the closing bell. Rosholt’s wrestling and constant pressure turned out to be far too much for Istrefi to handle, giving Rosholt the decision.
To close out the prelims, Jack May (10-3, MMA), scored a first round TKO over Josh Copeland (16-5, MMA). The heavyweight division is always an interesting one, so I’m not too sure how impressive overall May is, but he does have six points next to his name.
PFL 2 takes place next Thursday, June 21st, and takes place in Chicago, IL! We’ll have a full recap of PFL 2 as well, so stay tuned. Meanwhile check out our intro to PFL below and interview with league president, Carlos Silva.