PFL’s third and second last playoff evening of 2019 will take place on Thursday, with light heavyweights and heavyweights taking the stage. Between the two divisions, eight quarter-final fights and four semi-final fights will take place. Just like the two evenings before, the quarter-final bouts are two-five minute rounds, as the semi-finals are three-five minute rounds.
Bout 1: Emiliano Sordi (19-8) (#1) vs. Sigi Pesaleli (1-2) (#8) (Light Heavyweight Quarter-Final)
The evening will begin on ESPN+ at 5PM EST with six bouts. The first of the half-dozen is top light heavyweight seed Emiliano Sordi facing Sigi Pesaleli. Sordi did damage in his two-season fights, finishing Vinny Magalhaes and Bozigit Ataev. Pesaleli somehow made it into the playoffs despite losing his two-season matchups. Having a negative professional MMA record, Pesaleli is fighting an uphill battle to say the least.
Bout 2: Bozigit Ataev (21-4) (#4) vs. Viktor Nemkov (30-7) (#5) (Light Heavyweight Quarter-Final)
Bozigit Ataev will find himself in the PFL playoffs for the second time in his career, starting the evening off against Viktor Nemkov. Ataev lost one of his fights but secured a playoff spot by finishing Dan Spohn in the first round of a fight. Nemkov was 2-0 through the season, but went to the scorecards twice, hence his low ranking.
Bout 3: Maxim Grishin (30-7-1) (#2) vs. Jordan Johnson (11-1) (#7) (Light Heavyweight Quarter-Final)
Second year PFL competitor Maxim Grishin will face former UFC fighter Jordan Johnson. Grishin made it to the light heavyweight quarter-finals last season, falling short to Smealinho Rama. This season he got a decision win and a first round finish to move on to the playoffs. Johnson went 1-1 on decision fights in the season to move on. Johnson fought in the UFC four times prior to being in the PFL, going undefeated.
Bout 4: Vinny Magalhaes (19-11) (#3) vs. Rashid Yusupov (11-2) (#6) (Light Heavyweight Quarter-Final)
The final quarter-final light heavyweight bout of the evening will be between Vinny Magalhaes and Rashid Yusupov. Magalhaes was a finalist of the 2018 PFL season, attempting to win it all this time around. While Magalhaes lost his first fight via second-round punches, he got a first-round armbar victory against Rakim Cleveland to get into the playoffs. Yusupov was 1-2 in the regular season, defeating Mikhail Mokhnatkin via decision to get points and move to the playoffs.
Bout 5: Kelvin Tiller (11-3) (#4) vs. Ali Isaev (6-0) (#5) (Heavyweight Quarter-Final)
In the first of four quarter-final Heavyweight matches, Kelvin Tiller will face undefeated PFL rookie Ali Isaev. Tiller punches his ticket into the playoffs by getting a first round kimura victory. Isaev got two decision wins to make it into the playoffs. Isaev fought in Fight Nights Global before debuting in PFL this year.
Bout 6: Mo DeReese (8-1) (#2) vs. Jared Rosholt (18-7) (#7) (Heavyweight Quarter-Final)
Number two seeded Mo DeReese faces Jared Rosholt in the next fight. DeReese started his season with a loss, but bounced back with a first round stoppage against Valdrin Istrefi. Rosholt also had a 1-1 record, but is seeded lower since his victory was via decision. Rosholt has a clear experience advantage.
Bout 7: Denis Goltsov (24-5) (#1) vs. Satoshi Ishii (22-9-1) (#8) (Heavyweight Quarter-Final)
After six preliminary fights on ESPN+, the show will head to ESPN 2 for the rest of the card at 8 PM EST. The #1 Heavyweight seed Denis Goltsov will have a similarly experienced opponent in Satoshi Ishii in the quarter-finals. Goltsov got the top seed by winning twice, finishing Jared Rosholt and Kelvin Tiller. Ishii had a less successful season, getting a decision win and then losing to Rosholt at PFL 6.
Bout 8: Alex Nicholson (14-8) (#3) vs. Francimar Barroso (24-7-1) (#6) (Heavyweight Quarter-Final)
The final quarter-final fight of the evening will be a heavyweight clash between Alex Nicholson and Francimar Barroso. This fight will be a rematch from the regular season, where Barroso prevailed in a split decision. Nicholson defeated Zeke Tuinei-Wily in his sole win of the regular season, finishing him with strikes. Barroso was undefeated through the season, getting two wins through scorecards.
The show will feature four more semi-final fights, with the finalists competing at PFL 10 on New Year’s Eve for the 1 Million Dollar prize.