KAYLA HARRISON DOMINATES EN ROUTE TO PFL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BERTH WITH TKO VICTORY
The Professional Fighters League (PFL) held its second 2021 PFL Playoff event tonight with four action-packed matchups across the women’s lightweight and men’s heavyweight divisions. In the night’s main event, 2019 PFL Champion and two-time Olympic judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison dominated her semifinal fight against Genah Fabian. Harrison took Fabian to the ground in short order and finished the fight with a first round technical knockout, taking her record to 11-0.
Harrison will face Taylor Guardado in the women’s lightweight division final on October 27 with a world championship and $1 million at stake. Guardado, the 4-seed in the division, won a hard fought split decision over playoff alternate Mariana Morais. Guardado, who returned to MMA after a nine year hiatus, is now a perfect 3-0 in PFL competition.
Bruno Cappelozza and Ante Delija came out on top in their respective men’s heavyweight semifinal fights and will square off at PFL World Championship in a rematch from earlier this season. Cappelozza strategically broke down Jamelle Jones before landing a crushing punch in the second round, leading to a TKO victory. Cappelozza’s MMA record now stands at 13-5 with all 13 wins coming by way of knockout, including the fastest knockout in PFL history at 46 seconds of the first round. Delija meanwhile, took Denis Goltsov - the favorite in his semifinal matchup - to the three round distance and won a unanimous decision. A protege of Mirko Cro Cop, Delija suffered a gruesome leg injury in 2015, but has posted wins in five of his last six fights since returning to action.
“The PFL Playoffs showcased the women’s lightweight and men’s heavyweight divisions in the second of three must-see playoff events being held at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida,” said Peter Murray, PFL CEO. “MMA fans saw action that only the PFL can deliver through our unique playoff format. The desire to be crowned PFL World Champion was on full display with these world class athletes raising the bar in combat sports once again.”
The determination to be the best in the world is what separates the fighters in PFL from all others,” said Ray Sefo, President of Fighter Operations of PFL. “The evening began with eight fighters looking to move on to the PFL World Championship. Now, we have four moving on to October.”
In the ESPN+ showcase matchup, Renan Ferreira earned an emphatic knockout victory over Stuart Austin just 31 seconds into the bout, moving to 8-2 overall with seven wins by stoppage. In another heavyweight bout, Muhammed DeReese went the distance for the first time since 2014 to earn a unanimous decision over Carl Seumanutafa.
Kicking off the ESPN+ card, Christian Lohsen defeated Jonas Flok by unanimous decision, improving his record to 9-2, including victories in five of his last six fights. In her professional MMA debut, Amanda Leve defeated Miranda Barber by first round submission via rear-naked choke. Marina Mokhnatkina defeated Claudia Zamora by unanimous decision in an undercard fight, improving to 6-2 overall and notching back-to-back wins.
The PFL returns to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Friday, August 27 with the final four fighters across featherweight and light heavyweight divisions competing for a spot in the world championship.
Kayla Harrison def. Genah Fabian by 1st round TKO (4:01) Bruno Cappelozza def. Jamelle Jones by 2nd round TKO (1:33) Taylor Guardado def. Mariana Morais by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Ante Delija def. Denis Goltsov by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) ESPN+ Card
Renan Ferreira def. Stuart Austin by 1st round knockout (0:31)
Muhammad DeReese def. Carl Seumanutafa by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Marina Mokhnatkina def. Claudia Zamora by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Amanda Leve def. Miranda Barber by 1st round submission (4:18)
Christian Lohsen def. Jonas Flok by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)