The Professional Fighters League had it’s second of three playoff evenings on Thursday, with the lightweight and featherweight quarter-finals and semi-finals taking place. As usual, the show had the structure of fighting twice in one night to make it to the finals at a later date. Live from the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, it was PFL 8.
The quarter-final fights were two-five minute rounds, as the semi-finals were three-five minute rounds.
Bout 1: Alexandre Almeida (21-9) (#9) vs. Lance Palmer (19-3) (#1) (Featherweight Quarter-Final)
The first undercard fight of the evening saw the top seed Lance Palmer versus Alexandre Almeida. Almeida tried for a takedown early but ended up in bottom position against Palmer. They were stood up with over a minute left in the first round. Palmer got another takedown shortly after. They stayed in that position until the round ended.
In the first minute of the final round, Palmer dropped Almeida with strikes. He then went into top position and threw strikes periodically, similar to what he did in the round before. He continued to throw strikes from top position until the round ended.
When consulting the judges, all three favoured Lance Palmer as the winner (20-17, 20-18 & 20-18).
Bout 2: Andre Harrison (21-1-1) (#5) vs. Alex Gilpin (13-2) (#4) (Featherweight Quarter-Final)
The second featherweight quarter-final fight of evening with Andre Harrison and Alex Gilpin. Harrison stopped a takedown successfully early on. After getting hit with some strikes in stand-up, Gilpin landed a trip takedown. Harrison got up, but was taken back down when Gilpin tried for a guillotine choke. They got back up with a minute left. Both fighters started to up their tempo of strikes. Harrison put Gilpin up against the cage as the round ended.
Harrison scored a double leg takedown early in the second round. Gilpin put in a choke which took out Harrison cold, giving Alex Gilpin the win. He got the choke in stand-up, bringing the fight to the ground with it.
Despite having a rough first round, Alex Gilpin pulled through and got a victory, moving on to the semi-finals.
Bout 3: Daniel Pineda (26-13) (#7) vs. Movlid Khaybulaev (14-0-1) (#2) (Featherweight Quarter-Final)
The next featherweight quarter-final fight saw Daniel Pineda face Movlid Khaybulaev. Earlier in the year, the undefeated Khaybulaev made the rounds online for a vicious knee knockout over Damon Jackson. Very early in this fight, Pineda stunned Khaybulaev with strikes. He kept pressing him until the referee saw enough. Underdog Daniel Pineda moved to the semi-finals scoring a quick stoppage over Movlid Khaybulaev, ending his undefeated record as well.
Bout 4: Jeremy Kennedy (14-2) (#6) vs. Luis Rafael Laurentino (34-2) (#3) (Featherweight Quarter-Final)
The final quarter-final featherweight fight of the evening was between Jeremy Kennedy and Luis Rafael Laurentino. Kennedy landed a jab early on which knocked Laurentino back. Kennedy tried for a takedown, pinning Laurentino up against the cage for a minute before eventually getting it. Laurentino tried for a leg lock on the ground.
Kennedy got a takedown early in the second round. He landed punches from top position, continuing until the referee stopped the bout.
Bout 5: Ramsey Nijem (10-7) (#8) vs. Natan Schulte (17-3-1) (#1) (Lightweight Quarter-Final)
The lightweight portion of the quarter-finals was next, starting with the top seed Natan Schulte facing Ramsey Nijem. Schulte was rocked early on but was able to find a rear naked choke on the ground which took Nijem out cold. Despite a rocky start to the round, Natan Schulte advanced to the next round.
Bout 6: Alex Gilpin (14-2) (#4) vs. Lance Palmer (20-3) (#1) (Featherweight Semi-Final)
The next fight was the first semi-final fight of the featherweight division, between Alex Gilpin and Lance Palmer. Before the fight started we saw Henry Cejudo in attendance. Gilpin was the more active striker early on, but that was ended after Palmer landed a takedown. Back in stand-up, Gilpin was the more aggressive striker. Palmer caught a flying knee attempt, putting Gilpin up against the cage as the round ended.
The fighters had pretty evenly matched stand-up in the second round. Palmer got a takedown with just over a minute left in the second round. He kept him on the ground until the round ended.
Palmer landed good punches early in the third round, though none of it seemed to shake Gilpin. Palmer got hurt my a knee then shot for a takedown. Palmer took top position with three minutes left in the round. With less than a minute left in the fight, Palmer started to pick up the ground and pound.
For the second time this evening, Lance Palmer looked at the scorecards to get a victory (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27). He’ll fight next on New Year’s Eve in the grand finals, attempting to win his second tournament in a row.
Bout 7: Rashid Magomedov (23-4-1) (#5) vs. Akhmed Aliev (18-5) (#4) (Lightweight Quarter-Final)
Starting the main card was a quarter-final match between Rashid Magomedov and Akhmed Aliev. The fight started with some good striking from both fighters. Magomedov landed a solid two-punch and knee combination. Aliev was landing good counter-punches. Aliev landed a german suplex in the final minute of the round. Aliev got a trip takedown as the round closed out.
Aliev had a strong second round, pushing the pace and landing the better shots. Akhmed Aliev won over all three judges to advance to the semi-finals (20-18, 20-18 & 20-18).
Bout 8: Loik Radzhabov (12-1) (#7) vs. Islam Mamedov (18-1) (#2) (Lightweight Quarter-Final)
The next lightweight quarter-final matchup was between Loik Radzhabov and Islam Mamedov. Early on Mamedov was stunned while trying for a single leg takedown. He was able to endure the strikes and eventually get his takedown, although they stood up seconds later. After Mamedov had top position again they stood up again. Mamedov got a third takedown with a minute left in the round. Mamedov was on the back of Radzhabov as the round ended.
Mamedov went into a standing clinch early in the second round, eventually getting a trip takedown. Radzhabov got a takedown in the final minute of the fight and slipped in a choke which threatened Mamedov. When going to the scorecards, the bout was ruled a majority draw. When going to a tiebreaker, each judge picked Loik Radzhabov as the winner of the fight as a whole, making him advance in the fight.
Bout 9: Nate Andrews (16-2) (#6) vs. Chris Wade (16-5) (#2) (Lightweight Quarter-Final)
The final quarter-final fight of the evening was between Nate Andrews and Chris Wade. Wave clinched up in the first 10 seconds of the fight. Andrews got a takedown from the clinch, but they got up seconds later with Wade getting the takedown that time. Wade held top position until the round concluded.
Wade put Andrews up against the cage in the first minute although they separated shortly after. Andrews landed a good jab before being taken down. When they got back up, Andrews connected with a few more punches. Wade got another takedown and kept the fight on the ground yet again until it concluded.
The scorecards sent Chris Wade to the semi-finals over Nate Andrews (19-19, 20-18 & 20-18).
Bout 10: Daniel Pineda (27-13) (#7) vs. Jeremy Kennedy (15-2) (#6) (Featherweight Semi-Final)
The three last fights of the evening were semi-final bouts. The first of the trio was between Daniel Pineda and Jeremy Kennedy. Kennedy got a takedown early on, though Pineda was able to flip the position on the ground quickly. After Kennedy was controlling Pineda on the ground, Pineda came out of nowhere with a guillotine choke which made Kennedy tap out.
Bout 11: Akhmed Aliev (19-5) (#4) vs. Natan Schulte (18-3-1) (#1) (Lightweight Semi-Final)
The first of two lightweight semi-final matches was between Akhmed Aliev and defending champion Natan Schulte. Aliev got a trip takedown in the first minute, with two more seconds later. In the second minute of the fight, Schulte was able to get up and eventually take the back of Aliev. Aliev shook him off and went back to a standing clinch, getting another trip takedown. Aliev was the more active striker in the round.
Staying in stand-up for the first minute of the second round, Aliev got to show more striking. Schulte got a judo throw takedown in the second minute, getting top position from it. He put in a head and arm choke which gave him the win. Natan Schulte punched his ticket to New Year’s Eve for the second year in a row, getting a finish victory.
Bout 12: Loik Radzhabov (12-1-1) (#7) vs. Chris Wade (17-5) (#3) (Lightweight Semi-Finals)
The main event of the evening decided who the second spot in the lightweight grand finals would go to. The fight was between Loik Radzhabov and Chris Wade. At the very start, Wade tried for a flying kick which Radzhabov caught and took down Wade with. When they got back up, Wade did a judo throw to get Radzhabov back down. While both fighters were exchanging strikes in stand-up, a pause cause as Wade was kneed in the groin. The fight resumed after a few minutes of a break. Radzhabov was coming forward with good punches. He threw Wade to the ground and tried for a north south choke.
In the second round, Wade took top position on the ground after throwing Radzhabov down. He was able to escape and return to stand-up. Both fighters were clearly tired by this point in the fight. Both fighters had good stand-up moments. Radzhabov was hit hard from a punch which knocked out his mouthpiece. Radzhabov put in a choke near the end of the second round which Wade escaped.
Radzhabov was on the back of Wade in the final round, trying for a rear naked choke. He was dominant on the ground for a couple of minutes. All three judges gave the fight to Loik Radzhabov (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).
PFL will return with PFL 9 on October 31st, with the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight brackets finding their finalists.