Professional Fighters League Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight fighters competed in PFL 3 on Thursday Night at NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, on Long Island, N.Y.
PFL 3 concluded the first half of the regular season, and fireworks were expected as the Light Heavyweights and Heavyweights have the highest early stoppage rates in the PFL at 92% and 73% respectively.
The 12-fight event began at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN 2 and ESPN Deportes, then continues on ESPN+ at 9:00 p.m. ET.
“We’re looking forward to closing out the first half of our 2019 regular season in spectacular fashion. Last season, our Heavyweights and Light Heavyweights electrified fans with early stoppages, and we expect the same Thursday night on ESPN,” said Ray Sefo, President of Fighter Operations of the PFL. “Our sport-season format incentivizes fighters to dominate in the cage, and this is the first opportunity for these fighters to earn points toward a potential playoff spot. The stakes are high, every round counts, and our fighters are focused and determined to put on a show.”
Vinny Magalhaes, a former Jiu Jitsu World Champion, returned seeking the Light Heavyweight title and million-dollar prize that escaped him last season. In 2018, Magalhaes finished his first four opponents, each in less than 2 minutes, en route to the PFL Light Heavyweight Championship fight, where he fell to Sean O’Connell. He led the PFL in submissions (3) and was tied for the lead in stoppages (4), and will begin his 2019 campaign with the final fight of the night versus Argentina’s Emiliano Sordi, who had the fastest stoppage of the 2018 season – a 0:16 KO of Jason Butcher.
Undefeated Light Heavyweight Jordan Johnson made his highly anticipated PFL debut against Russian fighter Maxim Grishin, who won both of his 2018 regular season fights by stoppage. Johnson held a perfect 10-0 career record and joined the PFL from UFC.
In Heavyweight action, one of the most exciting fighters from the 2018 season, Alex “The Spartan” Nicholson, made his return. All four of Nicholson’s fights in 2018 ended in knockout, with Nicholson coming out on top in two of them. His flying knee KO at PFL 1 last season was one of the highlights of the year across all of MMA. Nicholson clashed with the man who earned the #1 heavyweight seed after the regular season last year – Francimar Barroso. The Brazilian secured two first-round stoppages to claim the top spot but was upset in the quarterfinals.
PFL newcomer Satoshi Ishii joined Kayla Harrison as Olympic Judo Gold medalists competing in the PFL. Ishii won Gold at the 2008 Beijing Games representing Japan. He has 10 wins by submission, and he’s already been busy this year, notching 3 victories. He will face another PFL newcomer in Zeke Tuinei-Wily, a former defensive tackle for the University of Utah. The “Samoan Rhino” has a 3-1 career record.
In the Light Heavyweight division, Ronny Markes failed to make weight but his fight with Sigi Pesaleli went on as planned. Markes was ineligible to earn any points toward making the playoffs, regardless of the fight outcome. Pasaleli will automatically be awarded three points, but could have earn up to six points with an early finish.
Bozigit Ataev opened up the card in impressive fashion, finishing Dan Spohn with strikes in the very first round.
— #PFLmma (@ProFightLeague) June 6, 2019
Heavyweight Denis Goltsov never looked better, as he welcome Jared Rhosale the promotion.
— #PFLmma (@ProFightLeague) June 7, 2019
PFL 3 will air across ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+.
PFL 3 results below:
1. Bozigit Ataev defeated Dan Spohn via TKO – Round 1, 3:25
2. Ante Delija defeated Carl Seumanutafa via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
3. Maxim Grishin defeated Jordan Johnson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
4. Francimar Barroso defeated Alex Nicholson via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
5. Rashid Yusupov defeated Mikhail Mokhnatkin via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
6. Ronny Markes defeated Sigi Pesaleli via TKO – Round 2, 3:44
7. Viktor Nemkov defeated Rakim Cleveland via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
8. Ali Isaev defeated Valdrin Istrefi via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
9. Denis Goltsov defeated Jared Rosholt via TKO – Round 1, 2:03
10. Satoshi Ishii defeated Zeke Tuinei-Wily via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
11. Kelvin Tiller defeated Muhammed DeReese via submission (kimura) – Round 1,
12. Emiliano Sordi defeated Vinny Magalhaes via TKO – Round 2, 2:45
Photo gallery by MyMMANews photographer Tim Stype