The second fight of the Professional Fighters League 2018 Season takes place in the beautiful Chicago Theater. The rainy weather in downtown Chicago was not enough to scare off diehard fans who have been anticipating the event since the PFL season was announced.
PFL 2 features fighters in the lightweight (155 pound) and light heavyweight (205 pound), divisions. Following the PFL season format, each fighter has the opportunity to earn points during their first two fights. The top eight fighters out fo twelve with the most points in each division will move on to the single-night tournament and put them in contention for the million-dollar finals on New Year’s Eve. The fighters will also be seeded in the tournament depending on their points during the regular season.
In addition to division match up, PFL 2 also features a special bout between U.S. Olympic Judo two-time gold medalist Kayla Harrison against Brittney Elkin. This is the first globally televised bout in the 155 pound women’s division.
Main card (NBC Sports at 9 p.m. ET)
Will Brooks defeated Luiz Firmino via unanimous decision
Brooks starts the first round with than early takedown attempt and Firmino refusing to let it stick. Firmino jumps for the guillotine but gets dropped to his back. Brooks is stuck in half guard. They work to their feet for active striking exchanges. Firmino shoots and secures the single-leg takedown. After a brief second on the ground, they are back to their feet and the end of the round follows close behind.
Firmino shoots early in the second round but Brooks finds solid underhooks to get the drop takedown. Firmino works back up and the fighters re-engage on the stand-up. Firmino keeps the forward pressure on and puts Brooks back on the cage. Brooks is able to break free and tries to work the long jab. Frimino is allowed to keep Brooks’ back dangerously close to the cage. Once backed into a corner, Brooks pushes for a takedown in the ten seconds and ends round two in dominant ground position.
Round three starts just how round two ended. Brooks is pressured to the cage and then explodes for the takedown. Forced to his feet, he hovers over Firmino until he can safely get around dangerous up-kicks. On the re-entry, Firmino looks for a leg. He finds no submission but does find a way up to his feet. He is brought back down with a single leg. Brooks has difficulty passing the guard without the threat of a submission but maintains top position until the bell rings.
Brian Foster defeated Ramsey Nijem via third round TKO
Foster comes in throwing volume to start the fight, forcing Nijem to the cage. Nijem reverses and a scramble places Foster in a dominant ground position. The ground battle extends the length of the round and Foster ends the round on top searching for a kimura.
Both fighters wanted to start round two with the kicking game which turned into a short barrage of punches and collision ending with Foster on his back but doing damage from the bottom. Nijem locks up a solid guillotine and Foster uses heart to push through it. Foster gets to his feet and rains down punches on Nijem who remains grounded. Nijem counters with up-kicks eventually reversing and ending the round on top.
I jumping knee from Foster drops Nijem hard. Foster seals the deal with ground and pound for the third round TKO.
Kayla Harrison defeated Brittney Elkin via first round armbar
Kayla Harrison moved in quickly to close the distance, pushing Elkin to the cage. Elkin was able to defend the trip for a while but once her back hit the mat, Harrison was determined to find her mark much like her Judo predecessor, Ronda Rousey winning via first round armbar.
Efrain Escudero defeated Jason High via third round guillotine choke
Round one consisted of numerous takedown attempts. All of the successful ones came from Jason High who showed off his wrestling skills throughout the round. The two lightweights spent a good deal of time on the cages exchanging knees before the fight went back to the ground with High landing in the guard of Escudero.
Round two opened with a short striking exchange before High secured a takedown though he had difficulty passing the guard and spent much of the round there.
In a surprising turn of events, High gets an early takedown but is caught in a guillotine. The tap was controversial, but Escudero is awarded the submission win. The commission later reviewed the footage and the submission stands.
Sean O’Connell defeated Ronny Markes via second round TKO
Markes opened up round one with kicks before diving in for a single leg that transitioned to a double leg. Markes gets the takedown and finds the back as Connell tries to stand up. O’Connell is able to get the reversal and throw punches from top position. A slow scramble places Markes back in dominant position on the back of O’Connell. They make space for a few seconds and then repeat nearly the exact same sequence of takedown, back-take, reversal and scramble. With a minute to go the fighters get back to their feet for a brief striking engagement. Markes catches a knee in on his way in for another takedown but is able to secure the position.
Markes came comes strong in the second and instigates a flurry of punches with a flying knee. Less than a minute into round two O’Connell lands a solid left hand that puts Markes down. Though he was able to cover up, Markes was not able to put up an intelligent defense, awarding O’Connell the TKO victory.
Undercard (Facebook at 6 p.m. ET)
Brandon Halsey defeated Smealinho Rama via doctor stoppage after round two
Islam Mamedov defeated Yuki Kawana via unanimous decision
Vinny Magalhaes defeated Jamie Abdallah via first round rear naked choke submission
Rakim Cleveland defeated Rashid Yusupov via second-round doctor stoppage due to a broken jaw
Maxim Grishin defeated Jason Butcher via first round TKO
Robert Watley defeated Thiago Tavares via controversial second-round TKO due to groin strike with opponent unable to continue after five minutes
Natan Schulte defeated Chris Wade via unanimous decision
Dan Spohn defeated Bazigit Atajev via third round TKO