PFL 2019 #9 Preview

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.

PFL 2019 #6 Live Report

On Thursday night, the Professional Fighters League wrapped up their final regular season show. This show had the light heavyweights and heavyweights on the card. Live from the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA, it was PFL 2019 #6.

For first time viewers, PFL fighters earn points in the regular season based off if and how they win. A victory by default earns a fighter three points. A first round stoppage gives you three more points, a second round stoppage gets you two more points and a third round stoppage gives you one extra point. In regular season bouts, elbows are not allowed.

Here were the standings before the evening of fights.

Light Heavyweight Standings

Place Fighter 2019 Record Points
1 Bozigit Ataev 1-0 6
2 Emiliano Sordi 1-0 5
3 Dan Spohn 1-1 3
4 Rashid Yusupov 1-0 3
5 Maxin Grishin 1-0 3
6 Viktor Nemkov 1-0 3
7 Sigi Pesaleli 1-0 3
8 Jordan Johnson 0-1 0
9 Rakin Cleveland 0-1 0
10 Mikhail Mokhnatkin 0-1 0
11 Vinny Magalhaes 0-1 0
12 Ronny Markes 0-2 0

Heavyweight Standings

Place Fighter 2019 Record Points
1 Denis Goltsov 1-0 6
2 Kelvin Tiller 1-0 6
3 Ante Delija 1-0 3
4 Ali Isaev 1-0 3
5 Francimar Barroso 1-0 3
6 Satoshi Ishii 1-0 3
7 Alex Nicholson 0-1 0
8 Zeke Tuinei-Wily 0-1 0
9 Valdrin Istrefi 0-1 0
10 Carl Seumanutafa 0-1 0
11 Muhammed Dereese 0-1 0
12 Jared Rosholt 0-1 0
13 Ben Edwards 0-0 0

Bout 1: Jordan Johnson (10-1) (0-1) vs. Sigi Pesaleli (1-1) (1-0) (Light Heavyweight)

The evening started on ESPN 2 with four preliminary bouts. The first fight of the evening was a light heavyweight bout between Jordan Johnson and Sigi Pesaleli. While Johnson had more career experience, Pesaleli has a win this season while Jordan doesn’t. In the first minute, Johnson landed an overhand right then got a takedown. He was in top position for a minute or so on the ground before they got back up. Johnson got another takedown with over a minute left in the first. The round concluded in this position. Johnson got in top position yet again early in the second round. After Johnson got yet another takedown, the fight was paused so that Johnson could get some tape cut off his glove. They resumed on the ground and stayed on the ground until the round ended. The third round was the most decisive one for Johnson, taking it to the ground immediately and landing strikes periodically from top position. The fight was a textbook example of “lay and pray,” which awards you the least amount of points in the PFL system. The fight went all three rounds, with Jordan Johnson winning via unanimous decision and earning three points (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Johnson 10 10 10 30
Pesaleli 9 9 9 27

Bout 2: Alex Nicholson (13-8) (0-1) vs. Zeke Tuinei-Wily (3-2) (0-1) (Heavyweight)

Heading up to the heavyweight division, the next fight was between two fighters who have yet to win this season. Nicholson doesn’t have a perfect record by any means, but he has all of his wins via stoppage. After a few minutes of stand-up striking, Nicholson landed a right cross which dropped Teinei-Wily. Tuinei-Wily retreated before then, getting hit with a kick to the mid-section.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total

Bout 3: Bozigit Ataev (21-3) (1-0) vs. Emiliano Sordi (18-8) (1-0) (Light Heavyweight)

The next light heavyweight bout was the first fight of the evening where two 2019 season 1-0 record fighters faced off. Unlike some people in the league, these two fighters have very extensive records. In the first minute of a fight, Sordi was hit in the eye. Sordi took out Ataev with punches mid-way through the first round. Ataev didn’t really get clipped with anything clean on the feet, but once he was wobbled and fell, punches on the ground made it a decisive finish. Emiliano Sordi earned six points, making it 11 points in total as his regular season comes to a close.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total

Bout 4: Kevin Tiller (11-2) (1-0) vs. Denis Goltsov (23-5) (1-0) (Heavyweight)

The next fight was two heavyweights who, like in the last fight, have yet to lose this season. Even though he only has one inch of an arm reach advantage, Goltsov had a five inch height advantage in this bout. Goltsov had his powerful jab showcased from the start. Tiller’s mouthpiece fell out in the first minute. Tiller was completely eating punches and was a living, breathing punching bag by the time the second minute had ended. His mouthguard fell out two more times. Goltsov got a takedown after being clinched up against the cage for a few moments. Tiller’s mouthguard fell out yet again. Goltsov’s flurry was slowed down on the ground. Tiller started the second round with two leg kicks. Tiller landed a takedown, but Goltsov quickly flipped over into top position. The referee eventually stood up both fighters due to inactivity, and then took a point off of Tiller due to losing his mouthguard so many times. Tiller got another takedown, and like last time, immediately lost the dominant position. Goltsov put in a ezekiel choke, which made Tiller tap out. Denis Goltsov earned five points for his second round stoppage.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Tiller 8
Goltsov 10

Bout 5: Francimar Barroso (23-7-1) (1-0) vs. Ben Edwards (3-0) (0-0) (Heavyweight)

The final preliminary fight was Francimar Barroso versus Ben Edwards. Edwards, unlike most people on this show, was making his PFL debut. In the first minute of the fight, Edwards was landing good punches. Barroso, who has a BJJ background, scored a takedown. They stayed on the ground for a few minutes with Barroso on offense the whole time. They went back down with a minute left in the first round. At the start of the second round, Barroso was coming forward with strikes. He caught a kick and turned it into a takedown. Barroso tried for a head and arm choke but couldn’t finish the fight with it. Apart from a couple seconds as the round ended, Barroso was in the dominant position on the ground for the rest of the round. Edwards was cut open by an accidental headbutt as Barroso scored a takedown. The fight was paused as the referee wanted to take a look at Edwards’ cut. Edwards took top position on the ground as the final round concluded. He threw some shots as the fight clock ran out. Francimar Barroso earned three points with a unanimous decision victory (30-27, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Totalq
Barroso 10 10 10 30
Edwards 9 9 9 27

Bout 6: Umar Nurmagomedov (10-0) vs. Sidemar Honorio (13-6) (Bantamweight Showcase)

Switching to ESPN+, PFL 6 continued with a showcase bout between bantamweights Umar Nurmagomedov and Sidemar Honorio. This fight was not a part of the 2019 season. A large difference between these two fighters was a 16 year age difference, with Nurmagomedov being the younger of the two (23). Nurmagomedov did a head kick, and then Honorio pulled guard, letting Nurmagomedov take top position on the ground. Not much happened on the ground, with the fight going back to the feet eventually. Nurmagomedov had some good striking before the fight went to the ground once again. Nurmagomedov’s striking was showcased well in the second round. His counter-striking had great reads of Honorio’s moves. Nurmagomedov landed a takedown in the third round, but the referee stood them up due to inactivity eventually. The fight went the distance with Umar Nurmagomedov getting a unanimous decision victory, with a clean sweep on the cards (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27). 

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Nurmagomedov 10 10 10 30
Honorio 9 9 9 27

Bout 7: Valdrin Istrefi (13-3) (0-1) vs. Muhammed DeReese (7-1) (0-1) (Heavyweight)

Kicking off the PFL season fights on the main card, heavyweights Valdrin Istrefi and Muhammed DeReese fought. Both fighters have yet to see a victory in the PFL 2019 season. The first two minutes of the fight was stand-up. With Istrefi being the more dominant fighter. DeReese was kicked in the groin, causing a pause in the fight. When they resumed Istrefi was dropped by punches, and then finished on the ground. Istrefi came in aggressive after the break and it cost him. DeReese survives in the 2019 PFL season, earning six points from this fight.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total

Bout 8: Maxim Grishin (29-7-1) (1-0) vs. Mikhail Mokhnatkin (11-4-2) (0-1) (Light Heavyweight)

In the first light heavyweight main card fight, Maxin Grishin fought Mikhail Moknatkin. Not a lot happened, until Grishin came forward with a right cross punch which knocked out Mokhnatkin. The referee was able to storm in before Grishin was able to get any real insurance shots in.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total

Bout 9: Ali Isaev (5-0) (1-0) vs. Carl Seumanutafa (13-10) (0-1) (Heavyweight)]

Undefeated fighter Ali Isaev fought Carl Seumanutafa in the next bout. Isaev was a -2400 favourite heading into this fight. Isaev scored a single leg takedown in the first round. Seumanutafa tried for a guillotine from the bottom. Isaev popped out of the position and started to wail punches at Seumanutafa. He tried for a head and arm choke, and landed some punches in the position as well. Isaev let go of the hold, in side position now. The rounded concluded in this position. In the second round, Isaev got in top position again. They were stood up by the referee, although Isaev didn’t like that. The final round was a slow one from both fighters, who were definately tired. The fight relied on the judges to find a winner, with Ali Isaev being favoured unanimously (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28)

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Isaev 10 10 10 30
Seumanutafa 9 9 9 27

Bout 10: Rashid Yusupov (11-1) (1-0) vs. Viktor Nemkov (29-7) (1-0) (Light Heavyweight)

In the second last light heavyweight fight of the evening, Rashid Yusupov fought Viktor Nemkov. This was a rematch between the two fighters, as they faced off in 2016 in M-1 with Yusupov coming out victorious. Nemkov landed a takedown early in the fight, but they went back to the feet shortly after. They had quite evenly matched striking throughout the round. The second round was close as well, with Nemkov scoring another takedown as the round was closing. Halfway through the final round, Yusupov dropped Nemkov with punches. Nemkov was able to recover quickly and stay in the fight. Yusupov took top position on the ground. The fight ended in this position. The judges had a split decision, with two of the three judges giving the fight to Viktor Nemkov (29-28 Nemkov, 29-28 Yusupov & 29-28 Nemkov). This fight made the feud between these two fighters 1-1.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Yusupov 9 9 10 28
Nemkov 10 10 9 29

Bout 11: Vinny Magalhaes (18-11) (0-1) vs. Rakin Cleveland (19-12-1) (0-1) (Light Heavyweight)

In the final light heavyweight bout of the evening, Vinny Magalhaes fought Rakin Cleveland. Both fighters have yet to win this season. The crowd seemed to disappear significantly after the last fight. It was past midnight New Jersey time at this point, and keep in mind, it’s a Thursday night. Magalhaes landed a takedown in the first minute. He put in an armbar which made Cleveland tap out quickly. Magalhaes got six points, and advanced to the PFL playoffs.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total

Bout 12: Satoshi Ishii (22-8-1) (1-0)  vs. Jared Rosholt (17-7) (0-1) (Heavyweight)

Finally, in the main event of the evening and the final fight of the PFL Regular Season, Satoshi Ishii fought Jared Rosholt. Ishii already has three wins, while Rosholt’s playoff chances hang in the balance. The first round was slow paced and methodical, with Rosholt out-striking Ishii. When the corner for Rosholt was shown during the second round, the only person in-shot had their phone out, glancing up periodically. Rosholt laneded another takedown as the fight was concluding. The fight went all three rounds with the judges choosing Jared Rosholt (30-27, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Ishii 9 9 10
Rosholt 10 10 9

PFL will take a break before they start their playoffs in October. The three shows in the month will all take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The light heavyweights and heavyweights, who were showcased tonight, will have their playoff fights on Halloween.

Here’s how the standings for both divisons looked after tonight. Worth noting, only the top eight advance to the playoffs.

Light Heavyweight:

Place Fighter 2019 PFL Record Points
1 Emiliano Sordi 2-0 11
2 Maxim Grishin 2-0 9
3 Vinny Magalhaes 1-1 6
4 Bozigit Ataev 1-1 6
5 Viktor Nemkov 2-0 3
6 Rashid Yusupov 1-1 3
7 Jordan Johnson 1-1 3
8 Sigi Pesaleli 1-1 3
9 Dan Spohn 1-1 3
10 Rakim Cleveland 0-2 0
11 Mikhail Mokhnatkin 0-2 0
12 Ronny Markes 0-2 0


Place Fighter 2019 PFL Record Points
1 Denis Goltsov 2-0 11
2 Muhammed DeReese 1-1 6
3 Alex Nicholson 1-1 6
4 Kelvin Tiller 1-1 6
5 Ali Isaev 2-0 6
7 Jared Rosholt 1-1 3
8 Satoshi Ishii 1-1 3
9 Ante Delija 1-0 3
10 Carl Seumanutafa 0-2 0
11 Zeke Tuinei-Wily 0-2 0
12 Valdrin Istrefi 0-2 0
13 Ben Edwards 0-1 0

The quarter finals of the playoffs will look like this:

Light Heavyweight:

Emiliano Sordi (2-0) (#1) vs. Sigi Pesaleli (1-1) (#8)

Maxim Grishin (2-0) (#2) vs. Jordan Johnson (1-1) (#7)

Vinny Magalhaes (1-1) (#3) vs. Rashid Yusupov (1-1) (#6)

Bozigit Ataev (1-1) (#4) vs. Viktor Nemkov (2-0) (#5)


Denis Goltsov (2-0) (#1) vs. Satoshi Ishii (1-1) (#8)

Muhammed DeReese (1-1) (#2) vs. Jared Rosholt (1-1) (#7)

Alex Nicholson (1-1) (#3) vs. Francimar Barroso (2-0) (#6)

Kelvin Tiller (1-1) (#4) vs. Ali Isaev (2-0) (#5)