Photo courtesy: PFL
The PFL wrapped its season on New Year’s Eve from the Hulu Theatre in New York City with six championship fights and each winner walking away with $1 million.
The final night of the season aired on ESPN 2 with Sean O’Connell and Randy Couture calling the show. Among those in attendance at the show included UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, UFC bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo, Mick Foley, and Mike Tyson.
Here are the results from the show:
JORDAN JOHNSON VS EMILIANO SORDI – Light Heavyweight
Sordi is from Argentina and went 4-0 during the season with four finishes. He began the fight throwing strikes and was briefly taken down but popped back up. Sordi landed with a right hand and followed with another successful shot that hurt Johnson. Sordi threw numerous strikes while Johnson tried to go for a single, he was covering up as Sordi continued and finished him with unanswered strikes from the back of Johnson.
WINNER: Emiliano Sordi by TKO at 2:01 of Round 1
Sordi ended off his year with his fifth victory of 2019 and was presented with the PFL light heavyweight title and $1 million cheque.
LANCE PALMER VS ALEX GILPIN – Featherweight
This is their third fight of 2019 and Gilpin joked that it was the fastest trilogy in MMA history.
Palmer dealt with an accidental eye poke in the first round but resumed with a takedown to put Gilpin on his back. Palmer won the first round through his wrestling and landed one final takedown near the end.
Palmer grabbed control of his waist and took Gilpin down into side control as the second round began. It was a grinding affair from Palmer utilizing his double-legs and dictating his skillset with the wrestling on display throughout the round.
Palmer was taking Gilpin down easier as the fight progressed and was comfortable with that game plan and working inside the guard. This was the story of round three and followed in the fourth round. Near the end of the fourth, Palmer moved to half-guard and dominated the round on top.
Palmer secured his seventh takedown of the fight in Round 5. Palmer advanced his position and ended the fight into side control. This was complete domination from Palmer.
WINNER: Lance Palmer by unanimous decision (50-43, 50-44, 50-44)
It wasn’t the most entertaining fight and it’s a drawback with the finals. When these fighters are staring at such a gigantic purse, there isn’t the incentive to take the additional risk if you have a game plan that is safe and will deliver the win and the money.
It’s Palmer’s second featherweight tournament win in the PFL as he won last year, as well.
Palmer improves to 22-3 and was his third win over Alex Gilpin since May of this year.
NATAN SCHULTE VS LOIK RAZHABOV – Lightweight
Razhabov looked very good in the opening round and got the better of the exchanges with his uppercuts and attacks to the body. Schulte stunned him briefly and made the round close but for the totality of the round, I thought Razhabov won the round.
In the second round, Schulte ducked a shot and tried to get Razhabov’s back and they got back to their feet. Razhabov was nailing him with lots of strikes with his back to the fence. Schulte ate the strikes and remained standing. Razhabov continued with strikes to the body and had nearly doubled Shulte in strikes landed by the end of the round. I have Razhabov up 20-18.
In the third, they were in the pocket trading back-and-forth. Schulte was racking up the leg strikes, and they started to pay off in this round. Schulte ended the round mounting Razhabov and won the round.
Schulte landed a big leg kick in the fourth round, Razhabov went down and was mounted again. He controlled Razhabov for the rest of the round and the leg kicks are a major factor in Schulte’s favor and the momentum had completely shifted in the last two rounds
Razhabov got Schulte into side control in Round 5 but Schulte swept him. Razhabov slipped off Schulte’s back and Schulte went to half-guard and finished the round on top.
WINNER: Natan Schulte by unanimous decision (49-44, 49-46, 48-47)
Schulte repeats after winning last year’s lightweight tournament and they had Mike Tyson present the championship to Schulte.
This was a strong fight and the best one of the show, so far. I had Schulte winning but I felt Razhabov still won the first despite the big strikes from Schulte and gave Razhabov the second round.
ALI ISAYEV VS JARED ROSHOLT – Heavyweight
Isayev got several takedowns in the first round while Rosholt attempted a guillotine to no avail in the first round.
Isayev was able to get Rosholt down numerous times and use his size to work on top and keep Rosholt on his back. Isayev was not shy about throwing several spin kicks that landed.
In the fourth round, they clinched against the fence and Isayev got him down to work in half-guard. Isayev began peppering him with strikes and loaded up with his left hand that started connecting with the power and they went unanswered and stopped Rosholt after he turned over.
WINNER: Ali Isayev by TKO at 4:09 of Round 4
Isayev is undefeated with a professional record of 9-0 after this victory and was his first season competing in the PFL. He made it to the finals defeating Satoshi Ishii and Denis Goltsov in the playoffs.
Sean O’Connell and Randy Couture interviewed Rory MacDonald about signing with the PFL and previewed the upcoming welterweight final.
RAY COOPER III VS DAVID MICHAUD – Welterweight
Cooper spent the first round fighting for the single leg before getting Michaud onto the canvas. He worked from half-guard for the duration of the round and tried to set up for an arm-triangle.
In the second round, Michaud unloaded with some huge punches along with several knees from the clinch. Cooper took him down to recover after absorbing some big strikes. Cooper put Michaud against the fence, dropped Michaud with a brutal body shot and finished with several strikes on top to win the fight.
WINNER: Ray Cooper III by TKO at 2:56 of Round 2
Michaud was looking good in the early part of Round 2 and landed some enormous shots that I’m amazed Cooper survived.
Unlike Lance Palmer and Natan Schulte, Cooper went to the finals in 2018 and lost, so this was his redemption year.
KALYA HARRISON VS LARISSA PACHECO – Women’s Lightweight
Harrison got an inside trip with Pacheco against the fence. Harrison maintained top position for the rest of the round. In the second, Harrison powered toward Pacheco for the takedown by the cage. Harrison had her back and then moved to mount, which is where the round ended. It’s all Harrison.
Harrison had a takedown stopped in the third, but it was a hiccup and Harrison would get on top of Pacheco. In the fourth, she had Pacheco into side control and dominated the rest of the way in the fifth round.
There should probably be at least one or two 10-8 rounds in there as this was a completely dominant effort from Harrison.
WINNER: Kayla Harrison by unanimous decision (50-43, 50-45, 50-45)
Harrison improves to 7-0 and was her second win over Pacheco this year. She said she rolled her ankle around the second round and had to deal with that during the fight.