Originally published at PFL 6 Report: Kayla Harrison submits Cindy Dandois in the first round
PFL 6 Report: Kayla Harrison submits Cindy Dandois in the first round
By: Eric Marcotte
On Friday evening, the PFL held their sixth card of the year at the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. With the Light Heavyweight and Welterweight playoffs set, fighters from the other four divisions looked to cement their place in the playoff brackets on this final regular-season card. In the main event, Kayla Harrison attempted to clinch her spot in the playoffs against Cindy Dandois, who lost her previous fight at PFL 3. And while this card mainly consisted of fights in the heavyweight and Women’s lightweight divisions, we had Anthony Pettis return, in his attempt to make the lightweight division’s playoff bracket against Raush Manfio. Additionally, two-time PFL featherweight champion, Lance Palmer faced Movlid Khaybulaev, with both men hoping to secure the final place in their division’s playoffs. The commentary team for this event consisted of Sean O’Connell, Kenny Florian, and Randy Couture.
For those unfamiliar, PFL’s “league” format implements a unique scoring system. A win earns you three points, and you have the opportunity to gain bonus points depending on the way in which you win the fight. If a fighter were to get a finish in the first round, they would earn a total of three bonus points (resulting in a grand total of six points from that win). A second-round finish would earn a total of five points, a third-round finish would result in a total of four points, and a decision win would simply award the standard three. A draw or no-contest results in one point gained for each fighter. There were a total of six cards throughout the PFL’s regular season this year, and the four fighters with the most accumulated points in each of the PFL’s six weight classes, qualified for the league’s playoffs. This particular card marked the end of the regular season, so the playoff brackets for each division would be known by the end of the night.
*Jamelle Jones def. Klidson Abreu by TKO at 1:43 of Round 1
*Mariana Morais def. Kaitlyn Young by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)
*Taylor Guardado def. Laura Sanchez by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Renan Ferreira def. Carl Seumanutafa by unanimous decision (30-26 all)
*Genah Fabian def. Julija Pajic by TKO at 4:16 of Round 2
*Ante Delija def. Chandler Cole by TKO at 4:39 of Round 1
*Larissa Pacheco def. Olena Kolesnyk by KO at 4:48 of Round 1
*Bruno Cappelozza def. Muhammad DeReese by KO at 2:21 of Round 1
*Denis Goltsov def. Brandon Sayles by TKO at 1:24 of Round 3
*Movlid Khaybulaev def. Lance Palmer by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Raush Manfio def. Anthony Pettis by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
*Kayla Harrison def. Cindy Dandois by armbar at 4:44 of Round 1
KLIDSON ABREU (15-4, 1 NC, 258, 0 PTS) VS JAMELLE JONES (10-6, 245, 0 PTS) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Jones caught a kick from Abreu and dumped him on his back. Jones began to land some heavy hammerfists from Abreu’s guard, and he just kept throwing them down until Abreu went unconscious.
WINNER: Jamelle Jones by TKO at 1:43 of Round 1 (6 PTS)
Jones’s ground and pound here was brutal. From the first one he landed, you knew Abreu was in trouble, and his inability to escape the position from his back resulted in Jones picking up the first-round stoppage. Jones earned six points with this first-round knockout, catapulting him near the top of the heavyweight division’s standings.
KAITLIN YOUNG (12-10, 1 NC, 155.6, 3 PTS) VS MARIANA MORAIS (16-11, 154.2, 0 PTS) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Both women were active on the feet early, which was certainly the right approach for Morais, who likely needed a finish in this fight to advance to the playoffs. As the round progressed, Morais had doubled up Young on the strikes count, but Young was able to make up some ground with a head kick. Morais looked somewhat hurt, and successfully took Young to the ground with a judo throw. Young finished the round strongly, however, transitioning on top and landing some strong ground and pound. 10-9 Young.
Morais continued to be slightly more active in the second round, but it felt as though Young was starting to time Morais well, and her counter shots seemed to be the heavier blows. Morais was able to take Young down with another judo throw, although Young quickly made it back to her feet. This was a very tough round to score, but I gave the slightest edge to Morais.
I thought the third round was Morais’s best. Her combinations were landing cleanly, and Young’s counters were far less effective than they were earlier in the fight. Young still appeared to have more power behind her individual shots, but Morais’s pace had caused Young to fade, and this was an excellent final round for Morais, who cut Young open with an accidental headbutt, and ultimately left her beat up and exhausted on the ground by the end of the fight. 29-28 Morais.
WINNER: Mariana Morais by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29) (3 PTS)
This was a pretty entertaining fight, with high output from both fighters, Morais in particular. This was not the ideal outcome for either of these Women, as Young needed a finish, and Morais needed a finish to really secure their place in the bracket. Regardless, a great win for Morais here, rebounding strongly from her loss to Kayla Harrison earlier in the year.
TAYLOR GUARDADO (1-1, 155, 3 PTS) VS LAURA SANCHEZ (1-1, 155.2, 0 PTS) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Guardado quickly got this fight to the ground. She was not terribly active from Sanchez’s guard, and the broadcast team began drawing on the screen to illustrate Guardado’s strategy. With a minute remaining in the round, Sanchez was able to work her way back to her feet, but just couldn’t create the separation she needed to break apart. 10-9 Guardado.
Sanchez was able to secure a takedown of her own second into the next round, however, Guardado was able to reverse it and gain top position. Once again, she wasn’t terribly active from on top, but it was more than enough to secure another round. 20-18 Guardado.
Unsurprisingly, Guardado did not stray from her earlier strategy, immediately taking Sanchez back down. Sanchez was able to use the cage to stand back up but was slammed back to the ground quickly. Sanchez transitioned to top position before the end of the fight, finishing with some hammerfists. 30-27 Guardado.
WINNER: Taylor Guardado by unanimous decision (30-27 all) (3 PTS)
A dominant win for Guardado, who kept herself in the playoff picture with this win. This was her second decision win of the PFL season, moving her to a total of six points. Kayla Harrison and Larissa Pacheco, who both competed later on this card, clinched playoff spots as a result of this outcome.
RENAN FERREIRA (6-2, 1 NC, 251, 1 PTS) VS CARL SEUMANUTAFA (12-12, 260, 0 PTS) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Ferreira began the fight with a strong leg kick, as well as an uppercut that brought the fight to the ground. Ferreira landed a number of vicious body shots from half guard, and whenever Seumanutafa attempted to improve his position, Ferreira started attacking the head, forcing Seumanutafa to cover up. 10-9 Ferreira.
Ferreira clipped Seumanutafa with a left head to the top of the head that sent him to the ground. The remainder of this round looked a lot like the previous five minutes, with Ferreira just dominating from top position. Ferreira started hunting for an arm triangle in the final minute of the round, but Seumanutafa stayed alive, raising his thumb in the air to signify his consciousness. 20-17 Ferreira.
Seumanutafa best moment of the fight came in the third round, when he picked Ferreira up in the air, before slamming him to the ground. He rode out the entire round from top position, which likely would have secured the final five minutes on the scorecards if the judges were in any way competent. 29-27 Ferreira.
WINNER: Renan Ferreira by unanimous decision (30-26 all) (3 PTS)
The first two rounds of this fight were dominant rounds in favor of Ferreira, but unfortunately for him, he needed a finish to keep himself alive in this PFL season. With this win, he accumulated a total of four points throughout the season, and he needed at least five to qualify for the playoffs at this point in the night. Seumanutafa showcased a ton of heart in this fight, taking a beating throughout the first two rounds and coming back to win the third (although the judges somehow disagreed).
GENAH FABIAN (3-1, 155.6, 3 PTS) VS JULIJA PAJIC (3-1, 156, 0 PTS) – LIGHTWEIGHT
The opening round was very slow. Fabian was able to take over in the latter half of the round, landing a number of hard knees, as well as a clean left hook on the break from the clinch. 10-9 Fabian.
The first half of the second round was fought at a similar pace. At one point, Fabian knocked Pajic’s mouthpiece out, and Pajic pretty much called a time out while she put the mouthpiece back in. Not long after, Fabian landed a clean head kick, before dropping Pajic hard with a left hook. She followed it up with a number of left hands, and the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Genah Fabian by TKO at 4:16 of Round 2 (5 PTS)
This was a huge win for Fabian, who clinched a spot in the playoffs with this second-round stoppage. With a total of eight points, Fabian definitely gave a good account of herself throughout the regular season, but she would have a tough matchup ahead of her in the playoffs, regardless if it was Larissa Pacheco or Kayla Harrison that she ultimately matched up with.
ANTE DELIJA (17-4, 239.2, 0 PTS) VS CHANDLER COLE (8-2, 262, 0 PTS) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Cole attempted to throw Delija to the ground, which backfired as it allowed Delija to partially take his back. Both men had their moments throughout this extended grappling sequence, but I thought Delija was able to do more damage with his strikes. As time was winding down in the round, Delija really began to unload with his ground and pound, knowing he needed a first-round stoppage to keep his playoff hopes alive. He kept raining down punches, and the fight was eventually stopped.
WINNER: Ante Delija by TKO at 4:39 of Round 1 (6 PTS)
Delija needed the first-round finish to stay in the playoff picture, and he achieved that here. He showcased a degree of urgency that we hadn’t seen from some other fighters in his situation, and that urgency was rewarded here. He put himself in the best position possible to make it to the playoffs with this performance, and by the end of the night, that effort was ultimately rewarded as Delija secured the third seed.
LARISSA PACHECO (14-4, 156, 6 PTS) VS OLENA KOLESNYK (5-3, 1 NC, 157.6, -1 PTS) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Kolesnyk missed weight by 1.6lbs, and she was deducted a point, as well as made ineligible to gain playoff points in this bout.
This was a very fun round. Both fighters came out firing, and Kolesnyk defended an early takedown attempt from Pacheco. Kolesnyk could not miss with her looping left hook, which forced Pacheco to go back to her grappling. Pacheco was unable to take Kolesnyk down, however, and the fight remained on its feet. They resumed their wild brawl in the final minute, and Kolesnyk charged right into a powerful 1-2 that knocked her unconscious.
WINNER: Larissa Pacheco by KO at 4:48 of Round 1 (6 PTS)
This was the perfect night for Larissa Pacheco. After starting her PFL season with a six-point first-round finish, her opponent (Kolesnyk) missed weight for this fight, giving her a guaranteed three -points on this night, and then she picked up another first-round finish to earn herself the full six points. Twelve points put her at the top of the division’s rankings, and with Kayla Harrison not beating her combined finish time, she secured that top spot by the end of the night. She is expected to begin the playoffs by facing the fourth-seeded Taylor Guardado.
BRUNO CAPPELOZZA (11-5, 233.4, 6 PTS) VS MUHAMMED DEREESE (8-3, 254.2, 0 PTS) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Cappelozza fought very aggressively, just swarming DeReese with strikes. He hurt DeReese with a left hook and began to unleash with punches against the cage. Just when DeReese began to return fire, he slumped against the cage, unconscious.
WINNER: Bruno Cappelozza by KO at 2:21 of Round 1 (6 PTS)
DeReese’s delayed knockout reminded me somewhat of Shane Burgos going down against Edson Barboza back in May. This was a fun fight for as long as it lasted, and Cappelozza seems like a very entertaining fighter from what I’ve seen of him. This first-round finish bumped him up to twelve points total in the season, moving him into the first seed at heavyweight. Denis Goltsov had an opportunity to take that spot from him in the next fight, but his spot in the playoffs was secured.
DENIS GOLTSOV (26-6, 246.4, 6 PTS) VS BRANDON SAYLES (6-1, 264.4, 5 PTS) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Goltsov worked his jab throughout the opening minutes. They exchanged leg kicks before Sayles caught Goltsov with a sharp hook. Sayles defended a takedown attempt, before searching for one of his own. He was ultimately unsuccessful, and Goltsov tripped him to the ground late. Close round. 10-9 Goltsov.
Goltsov was a bit more aggressive on the feet in this second round. He landed a pair of head kicks early, as well as a powerful right hand. Goltsov tripped Sayles to the ground yet again, and he immediately went for an Ezekiel choke. Sayles escaped the choke but was stuck in a rough position, with Goltsov in full mount on top of him. 20-18 Goltsov.
Sayles looked exhausted by this third round, and he ate a huge combination from Goltsov that ended with a head kick. Sayles showcased a tremendous chin, and Goltsov decided to take him back to the ground. He started throwing down right hands, Sayles was unable to improve his position, and the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Denis Goltsov by TKO at 1:24 of Round 3 (4 PTS)
This was an important fight for their division’s playoff picture. With this third-round stoppage, Goltsov earned a total of ten points throughout the season, securing the second seed in the heavyweight bracket. Sayles needed a win to stay in the heavyweight playoff picture, so he dropped out of the bracket, and Jamelle Jones, who picked up six points earlier in the night, officially took the final playoff spot.
MOVLID KHAYBULAEV (16-0-1, 1 NC, 145.4, 3 PTS) VS LANCE PALMER (22-4, 146, 0 PTS) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Both fighters threw numerous leg kicks throughout the opening minutes. The pace of the fight was very slow, with Palmer not committing too much offensively. Palmer was able to shove Khaybulaev down as he was charging in at one point, but I don’t believe it quite qualified as a knockdown. While I’m always somewhat skeptical of the broadcasts strike counter, the official numbers had them tied at 15 strikes each by the end of the round. 10-9 Khaybulaev.
Khaybulaev was able to back Palmer up and take him down quickly into the second round. Palmer did his best to return to his feet, but Khaybulaev was able to repeatedly return him to the ground. Khaybulaev controlled the vast majority of this round, with Palmer breaking away with a minute left. Palmer threw a pair of powerful left hands, but couldn’t secure a finish, and thus his chance of becoming a three-time PFL Champion this year was ended. 20-18 Khaybulaev.
Khaybulaev just had to go the distance now to secure his spot in the playoffs, assuming he was up on the scorecards going into this final round. Khaybulaev continued to fight intelligently, avoiding the majority of Palmer’s biggest shots. I scored this final round for him, as well as the fight. 30-27 Khaybulaev.
WINNER: Movlid Khaybulaev by unanimous decision (29-28 all) (3 PTS)
With this win, Movlid Khaybulaev moved into the featherweight playoff bracket, taking the spot of Sheymon Moraes. Khaybulaev and Bubba Jenkins are tied at six points total, so a coin flip takes place to determine which man gets the third and fourth seeds respectively. Notably, the man who won the last two PFL seasons at featherweight, Lance Palmer, was eliminated here after going 0-2 throughout the regular season this year.
RAUSH MANFIO (12-3, 156, 3 PTS) VS ANTHONY PETTIS (24-11, 156, 0 PTS) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Pettis and Manfio exchanged strikes throughout the opening minutes, both men looking confident on their feet. Neither man was fighting at a wild pace, instead, it felt as though they were both looking for that one big shot to end the night. This inactivity led to a close round, however, with relatively even statistics and no significant moments of offense that would have secured either man the round. 10-9 Pettis.
A kick from Manfio landed low early in the second round, but Pettis didn’t take much time to recover. The commentators were puzzled at Manfio’s lack of pressure, a strategy that has been used to negate Pettis’s offense many times in the past. While their striking numbers were fairly even, I thought Pettis landed the better strikes (by the narrowest of margins) and gave him this round as well. 20-18 Pettis.
Manfio landed a hard right hand and swarmed Pettis with strikes afterward, and Pettis pulled guard in response. Manfio let Pettis up, but he continued his attack, dropping Pettis against the cage with a knee to the head. Pettis recovered, and Manfio let up with his pressure, allowing the fight to resume at a similar pace to the prior rounds. This round could arguably be scored a 10-8, but I ultimately went with a 10-9, scoring the fight 29-28 for Anthony Pettis.
WINNER: Raush Manfio by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) (3 PTS)
I scored the fight for Pettis, but you could honestly argue Manfio winning all three rounds, and as a whole, Manfio definitely won this fight. By getting the decision nod here, Manfio earned three more points, bringing him to six total. This was enough to lock him into the third seed of the playoffs, where he will be set to meet Clay Collard (the other fighter to beat Anthony Pettis in this PFL season, coincidently). This was unquestionably a rough year for Anthony Pettis in the PFL, finishing the season with a record of 0-2, and tying for the bottom position at lightweight.
KAYLA HARRISON (9-0, 156, 6 PTS) VS CINDY DANDOIS (16-6, 152.2, 0 PTS) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Harrison was a -3335 favorite going into this fight. Harrison stuffed a takedown from Dandois in the opening minute and quickly moved into side control. Dandois did an admirable job of keeping Harrison from advancing, but ultimately, Harrison locked in an armbar, and Dandois was forced to submit.
WINNER: Kayla Harrison by armbar at 4:44 of Round 1
Harrison picked up the first-round finish she was looking for here but was just seconds off from beating Larissa Pacheco’s time to secure the first seed. Regardless of positioning, Harrison unsurprisingly qualified for the division’s playoffs with this performance, and she will be slated to face the third-seeded Genah Fabian next. In her post-fight interview, Harrison made it clear she was not impressed by the performances of Pacheco or Fabian, and she views herself as miles ahead of her competition, a stance that would be difficult to argue against.