PFL 8 REPORT: Kayla Harrison stops Genah Fabian in the first round

Originally published at PFL 8 REPORT: Kayla Harrison stops Genah Fabian in the first round

PFL 8 Report: Kayla Harrison stops Genah Fabian in the first round

By: Eric Marcotte

The PFL returned on Thursday night, where they held their second playoff card of the 2021 season at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. This card featured the two first-round matchups for the women’s lightweight division, as well as the two first-round fights for the heavyweight division. In the women’s lightweight division, the undefeated Kayla Harrison was matched up against the third-seeded Genah Fabian, and with the division’s top seed, Larissa Pacheco, removed from the card after missing weight, the fifth-seeded Mariana Morais was moved into the playoff picture to face Taylor Guardado. For the heavyweights, the man at the top of the standings, Bruno Cappelozza, faced the division’s fourth seed, Jamelle Jones, and the second and third-seeded heavyweights clashed as Denis Goltsov was matched up against Ante Delija. Sean O’Connell provided commentary for this card, alongside Kenny Florian and Randy Couture.


*Christian Lohsen def. Jonas Flok by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

*Amanda Leve def. Miranda Barber by rear-naked choke at 4:18 of Round 1

*Marina Mokhnatkina def. Claudia Zamora by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

*Muhammed DeReese def. Carl Seumanutafa by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

*Renan Ferreira def. Stuart Austin by KO at 0:31 of Round 1

*Ante Delija def. Denis Goltsov by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

*Taylor Guardado def. Mariana Morais by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

*Bruno Cappelozza def. Jamelle Jones by TKO at 1:33 of Round 2

*Kayla Harrison def. Genah Fabian by TKO at 4:01 of Round 1


Flok tagged Lohsen with a left hook to begin the fight. Lohsen started to attack the lead leg of Flok, and mixed in some counter punches whenever Flok committed to closing the distance. Lohsen was able to drag Flok to the ground and took his back with about two minutes remaining in the round. He couldn’t find the finish, but Lohsen certainly took this opening round. 10-9 Lohsen.

Lohsen had doubled Flok on the strike count by the start of round two. He continued to have the edge on the feet, cutting Flok open right in the middle of his forehead. Lohsen eventually brought the fight back to the ground where there was a bit of a stalemate between the two fighters for the next minute or so. Late in the round, Flok began to pull ahead, threatening submissions and ending the round in dominant position. 19-19.

Lohsen brought Flok back to the ground, where he began to work from half guard. He was able to take Flok’s back, before he transitioned into mount. Lohsen began to throw down ground and pound strikes, and he went for an armbar, but Flok was able to twist his way out of it, and ultimately seized top control. Flok went for a heel hook, which allowed Lohsen to take back top position, and he ended the round on Flok’s back. 29-28 Lohsen.

WINNER: Christian Lohsen by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

The grappling exchanges in this fight were a lot of fun. There were a ton of scrambles and attempted submissions, making for a largely entertaining fifteen minutes. This marked Lohsen’s first fight in the PFL, as well as Flok’s.


The opening half of the round took place entirely on the feet. Leve had the slight edge in activity, but it was a fairly even round until Barber dropped Leve twice, with a pair of hard right hands. Leve was able to recover quickly and took Barber to the ground. She transitioned to the back of Barber and sunk in the rear-naked choke to secure the first-round submission victory.

WINNER: Amanda Leve by rear-naked choke at 4:18 of Round 1

She certainly had to overcome some early adversity, but Leve showed off strong instincts to secure the takedown while rocked, and that takedown led to the finish moments later. This marked Leve’s first professional MMA bout, and in her post-fight interview, she expressed her interest in returning to the PFL for their next season.


Mokhnatkina attacked the lead leg of Zamora to begin the fight. Zamora defended a pair of takedown attempts but was eventually taken down by the sambo specialist. Zamora worked her way back to her feet. There was not a ton of activity from either fighter on the feet, but Mokhnatkina was able to sweep Zamora to the ground once more before time expired. 10-9 Mokhnatkina.

Mokhnatkina continued to chip away at Zamora’s leg in the second round. Zamora was doing a good job of keeping the fight on the feet, but she was not doing much offensively to earn herself points on the scorecards. 20-18 Mokhnatkina, who secured the round with some strong right hands in the final minute

They displayed the live odds on this fight, which had Mokhnatkina as a -1800 favorite by the final round. Zamora was not taking the leg kicks from Mokhnatkina well, but Mokhnatkina never aggressively pursued a finish, and the fight went the distance.

WINNER: Marina Mokhnatkina by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

Both of these women had prepared for different fighters, but withdrawals from the event led to them fighting each other on a day’s notice. As such, it is difficult to really critique either fighter for their respective performances, but this was a pretty uneventful fight. Mokhnatkina clearly won every round and took home the win in her first PFL outing here.


DeReese immediately looked to drag Seumanutafa to the ground, resulting in a complete stalemate against the cage for almost the entirety of the round. Neither man did anything of significance, but DeReese landed enough short punches in the clinch to take the round. 10-9 DeReese.

Seumanutafa landed a powerful leg kick to begin the second round. They were laughing at each other about something, and then Seumanutafa kicked DeReese low (inadvertently of course). When the action resumed, DeReese flurried forward and landed some nice right hands before re-engaging Seumanutafa against the cage. Both men were able to secure late takedowns, but neither man could keep the other grounded for long. 19-19 on my scorecard, but a close round.

Much like the beginning of the previous round, Seumanutafa landed a heavy leg kick to begin the third. DeReese responded with a strong hook, and he seemed content to exchange whenever Seumanutafa closed the distance. DeReese rocked Seumanutafa badly with a shot, dropping him near the cage. DeReese tried to finish things with his ground and pound, but Seumanutafa survived and made it back to his feet. They were separated with a minute remaining, and Seumanutafa began to swing in an attempt to secure a late knockout. He was unsuccessful, and the fight went the distance. 29-28 DeReese.

WINNER: Muhammed DeReese by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

This was a long fifteen minutes. There was very little activity throughout the first two rounds, with the few impactful exchanges occurring in the final minutes. The first round is a strong candidate for the worst round of the year. DeReese was able to rack up enough control time early, and enough damage late, to secure the win, breaking his recent skid of losses. He improved to 4-4 in the PFL with this win, and this was the first time one of his fights has gone the distance since 2014.


Ferreira began the fight with a trio of leg kicks, before knocking Austin unconscious with a straight right hand.

WINNER: Renan Ferreira by KO at 0:31 of Round 1

Wow. This was an emphatic knockout from Renan Ferreira, who picked his shots perfectly and picked up the brutal first-round knockout finish here. After starting off the PFL season with a controversial no-contest against Fabricio Werdum, Ferreira was able to rebound strongly with a pair of wins, capped off by this highlight reel knockout. Ferreira is now 2-0 (1 NC) in the PFL.


Delija brought Goltsov to the cage almost immediately as he pursued a takedown. They eventually separated and exchanged powerful jabs. Delija was looking to trade in the pocket, but Goltsov had no interest in that, wrapping Delija up before tripping him to the ground. Delija scrambled to top position, and he began to work from Goltsov’s guard. Delija cut Goltsov open on the bridge of his nose, and finished the round on top. 10-9 Delija.

Delija landed a charging right hand that Goltsov responded two with a counter left hook. Goltsov proceeded to take Delija down and landed numerous hard right hands. Delija was in trouble but managed to pick himself up as they battled in the clinch against the cage. Delija secured a takedown of his own after a failed body lock from Goltsov, riding out the final minute of the round on top. 19-19.

Delija successfully took Goltsov to the ground with a double leg to begin round three. Delija controlled the first three minutes of the round before Goltsov was able to scramble to his feet. Goltsov landed a couple of good shots in the final seconds, but it wasn’t enough to steal him back the round, and I scored the fight 29-28 for Delija.

WINNER: Ante Delija by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

Goltsov was the favorite heading into this, but whenever Delija worked his way into top position, Goltsov just had no answers in getting back to his feet. It was a slow fight at times, but Goltsov just spent too much time inactive while giving up dominant position, and I agreed with the judge’s scorecards here. With this win, Delija secured his spot in the heavyweight finals, where he will be set to meet the winner of the fight between Bruno Cappelozza and Jamelle Jones.


They exchanged right hooks to begin the fight. Guardado eventually shot for a takedown, but it was Morais who threw Guardado to the ground, as she began to work from half guard. Guardado quickly worked her way back to her feet and began to hunt for a takedown of her own. She was unsuccessful, and they spent the next few minutes wrestling against the cage. 10-9 Morais on my scorecard, but you could really score this one either way.

Guardado found that takedown she was looking for a minute into the second round, where she began to work from the card of Morais. While she maintained top position for two minutes, they were eventually stood up due to inactivity. The striking was fairly even, but I thought Guardado landed the better shots for the remainder of the round, and she was able to avoid the hardest shots that were thrown her way by Morais. 19-19.

Guardado was chipping away at the lead leg of Morais, which convinced her to switch her stance. Morais seemed to be having difficulties finding her target, but she was able to complete a big takedown with two minutes remaining. She was able to control the remainder of the round from top position, making for a very difficult round to score. I scored the fight 29-28 for Morais.

WINNER: Taylor Guardado by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

Another rough fight. It resulted in another close decision as well, with Guardado ultimately getting the split decision nod. I scored it for Morais, but I don’t think I could argue with a scorecard for Guardado at all, it was just one of those fights. With this win, Guardado will advance to the finals for the women’s lightweight division, where she will face the winner of Kayla Harrison and Genah Fabian.


Cappelozza landed a pair of hard leg kick in the opening minute, as well as a sharp one that dug right into the body of Jones. Jones was really looking like that lead leg was bothering him, and while Cappelozza wasn’t landing a ton, everything he connected with looked as though it was really affecting Jones. Combined, there were less than twenty strikes that landed throughout this opening round.

Just over a minute into the second round, Cappelozza landed a jab that rocked Jones badly, and he immediately moved in with the intention of finishing the fight. Cappelozza just threw shot after shot, as Jones went down and shelled up on the ground, and the fight was stopped.

WINNER: Bruno Cappelozza by TKO at 1:33 of Round 2

Cappelozza was ahead in this fight from the first leg kick he landed, and it felt as though it would only be a matter of time before Cappelozza secured a finish. He has been dominant throughout this season of the PFL, picking up stoppages in all three of his fights, and he will advance to the heavyweight finals, likely as a strong favorite, against Ante Delija, who he stopped in forty-six seconds earlier this year.


Harrison was able to press Fabian to the cage, where she began to hunt for a takedown while landing a number of short shots. It did not take her long to secure the takedown, and she began to work from side control. Harrison moved into top mount, where she began to throw down ground and pound, and with Fabian unable to improve her position, the fight was eventually stopped.

WINNER: Kayla Harrison by TKO at 4:01 of Round 1

Harrison was a -4000 favorite coming into this, and this fight played out exactly as everyone expected it to. I don’t believe she got hit once, and just bulldozed through Fabian after taking the fight to the ground. With this win, Harrison will advance to the women’s lightweight finals, where she will be set to face Taylor Guardado, which is another fight in which she will be an astronomical betting favorite for. Harrison improved to 11-0 professionally here, and this was her ninth career win by stoppage.

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Was I watching mid 2000s TNA or what?