Happy Halloween! PFL held their final quarter-final and semi-final evening of fights in 2019 on Halloween night. The show showcased their light heavyweight and heavyweight fighters aiming to reach the New Year’s Eve grand finals.
All of the quarter-final fights this evening were two-rounds long, with the semi-final bouts being three-rounds.
Bout 1: Emiliano Sordi (19-8) (#1) vs. Sigi Pesaleli (1-2) (#8) (Light Heavyweight Quarter-Final)
The evening opened up with a quarter-final fight between top seed Emiliano Sordi and Sigi Pesaleli. Sordi was the more dominant striker from the start. Sordi started to pour on punches and kicks early on to Pesaleli, who was up against the cage. Pesaleli was dropped from uppercuts, getting hit a couple more times before the referee stepped in.
Bout 2: Bozigit Ataev (21-4) (#4) vs. Viktor Nemkov (30-7) (#5) (Light Heavyweight Quarter-Final)
The next light heavyweight bout was between the two closest light heavyweight seeds, Bozigit Ataev and Viktor Nemkov. Nemkov got a takedown in the first minute of the fight. They stood back up, with Nemkov keeping Ataev in a clinch against the cage. Ataev dropped Nemkov with strikes while in clinch. Nemkov was able to recover and stayed on the ground until the referee stood him back up. Ataev kept coming forward, landing punches. Nemkov stopped Ataev’s momentum with a headlock. Ataev got a takedown in the final minute of the round, catching a leg of Nemkov and throwing him.
In the second minute of the final round, Nemkov put Ataev up against the cage, attempting a takedown. Nemkov tried for another takedown which was stuffed. Not much more happened before the fight concluded. When heading to the scorecards, the fight was ruled a draw. When the judges were asked to pick one fighter, two of the three fighters chose Bozigit Ataev.
Bout 3: Maxim Grishin (30-7-1) (#2) vs. Jordan Johnson (11-1) (#7) (Light Heavyweight Quarter-Final)
The third light-heavyweight quarter-final saw the more experienced Maxim Grishin face Jordan Johnson. Johnson got a takedown in the first minute of the fight, taking the back of Grishin. They got back up shortly after, where Johnson pursued another takedown. Grishin was taken down by a strike and a shove, although he got back up quickly. Grishin had Johnson backing up in the final moments as he landed some good strikes.
At the very start of the second round, Johnson got another takedown. They stood back up after a minute or so. Grishin stopped another takedown attempt but was put up against the cage for some time. When going to the scorecards, the fight was ruled a majority draw. The tiebreaker had all three judges pick Jordan Johnson move on to the semi-finals.
Bout 4: Vinny Magalhaes (19-11) (#3) vs. Rashid Yusupov (11-2) (#6) (Light Heavyweight Quarter-Final)
The final light heavyweight quarter-final fight was between Rashid Yusupov and Vinny Magalhaes. After a close striking competition for a few minutes, Yusupov dropped Magalhaes with a two-punch combination, earning a walkoff knockout victory.
Bout 5: Kelvin Tiller (11-3) (#4) vs. Ali Isaev (6-0) (#5) (Heavyweight Quarter-Final)
The first heavyweight quarter-final of the evening was between Ali Isaev and Kelvin Tiller. Tiller clinched up early, although it was Isaev that got the takedown. Isaev did ground and pound on top of Tiller for most of the round.
Tiller found himself in the same position that he was in the round before, as Isaev took top position and continued ground and pound. When going to the scorecards, all judges favoured Ali Isaev in moving on (20-16, 20-17 & 20-17).
Bout 6: Mo DeReese (8-1) (#2) vs. Jared Rosholt (18-7) (#7) (Heavyweight Quarter-Final)
The next heavyweight bout saw Jared Rosholt face Muhammed DeReese. A leg kick brought Rosholt to the ground early. Rosholt took lots of damage on the ground but after a few minutes got up. Rosholt got a takedown and took the back of DeReese. Rosholt kept throwing punches from the back, with DeReese not doing anything to fight out of it. The referee eventually got involved, giving Rosholt a win.
Bout 7: Denis Goltsov (24-5) (#1) vs. Satoshi Ishii (22-9-1) (#8) (Heavyweight Quarter-Final)
Moving from ESPN+ to ESPN 2, the heavyweight quarter-finals continued. Satoshi Ishii faced top seed Denis Golstov. Ishii had Mirko Cro Cop cornering him for this fight. After a minute of slow striking from both fighters, Ishii tried for a single leg takedown. The referee stood them back up. Ishii eventually got a takedown, taking top position with a minute left in the round.
The second round was another slow one. Ishii stayed on his back for a lot of the round, while Goltsov threw strikes while standing. Selected to move on via majority decision, Denis Goltsov got the win (19-19, 20-18 & 20-18).
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 was between Alex Nicholson and Francimar Barroso. In the first minute of the fight, Barroso got a takedown. When they stood back up, both fighters were trading hard punches. Barroso landed an overhand right that shoot Nicholson. He later connected with another overhand, this time it dropped Nicholson. Barroso took top position on the ground. They got back up, with Nicholson throwing bombs. Nicholson landed a low blow knee to Barroso while up against the cage, causing a pause in the fight. They eventually resumed, with Barroso trying for a single leg. They went to the ground for a short moment. Nicholson stormed forward with punches as the round ended.
Nicholson started the second round with another charge forward of strikes. Nicholson slipped while doing a kick, hitting Barroso in the groin once again. Referee Herb Dean did not opt to take a point away from Nicholson. When they resumed, Nicholson landed a push kick which hit Barroso in the groin. A point was taken away that time. Nicholson got hurt by a punch from Barroso, falling to the ground. He recovered and got back up, but was taken down moments later. Nicholson tried for a kimura from the bottom position but couldn’t secure it. After going the distance, all three judges put Francimar Barroso to the semi-finals (20-17, 19-18 & 19-18).
Bout 9: Jordan Johnson (11-1-1) (#7) vs. Rashid Yusupov (12-2) (#6) (Light Heavyweight Semi-Final)
The first semi-final fight of the evening was between Jordan Johnson and Rashid Yusupov. The first round was a striking battle, with both fighters having good combinations.
Johnson got a takedown halfway through the second round. While both fighters were active strikers, it was clear that Johnson was the more active striker.
Johnson dumped Yusupov onto the ground in the opening of the second round as well. He kept the pressure from top position for the whole round. When going to the scorecards, all three judges selected Jordan Johnson as the winner (30-26, 30-26 & 29-27).
Bout 10: Bozigit Ataev (20-4-1) (#4) vs. Emiliano Sordi (20-8) (#1) (Light Heavyweight Semi-Final)
To find the grand final opponent of Jordan Johnson, Emiliano Sordi and Bozigit Ataev faced off next. This was a rematch from August, where Sordi beat Atave in the first round. Sordi had the better striking early on, although Ataev landed a punch which stunned Sordi for a moment late in the round. Sordi got a takedown, eventually took the back of Ataev and put in a rear naked choke which made Ataev tap out. After quite the quick and successful evening, Emiliano Sordi punched his ticket to PFL 10.
Bout 11: Kelvin Tiller (11-4) (#4) vs. Jared Rosholt (19-7) (#7) (Heavyweight Semi-Final)
In the first of two heavyweight semi-final fights, Jared Rosholt and Kelvin Tiller competed. Tiller was the replacement fighter after neither Francimar Barroso or Alex Nicholson were able to fight. Rosholt looked like he was in pain when doing his walkout. Rosholt got a takedown in the second minute of the fight. He stayed in that position until the round concluded.
After Rosholt was on top of Tiller on the ground for a while, the referee stood them back up for the final 30 seconds of the second round.
Rosholt got a takedown early in the final round, assuming the position he was in for the two prior rounds as well. They stayed on the ground until the fight concluded. Jared Rosholt won over the judges with his performance, moving on to the finals (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).
Bout 12: Ali Isaev (7-0) (#5) vs. Denis Goltsov (25-5) (#1) (Heavyweight Semi-Final)
The main event of the evening determined the final entrant into the PFL finals. Undefeated heavyweight Ali Isaev went up against top seed Denis Goltsov. The first round was a very methodical one from both fighters.
In the second minute of the second round, Isaev tried for a takedown but Goltsov got out of it shortly. Isaev got a takedown again, but it was Goltsov who got the better position. Isaev eventually got in top position and kept control until the round ended.
The final round was mostly inactive until the final moments when Isaev dropped Goltsov with a punch. He continued to throw down punches from above until the referee stepped in with only a few seconds left. Ali Isaev is the final entry into the PFL 10 grand finals.