UNIONDALE, N.Y.: The first half of the 2019 Professional Fighters League (PFL) season concluded with Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight action at PFL 3, the final event of 2019 at NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, on Long Island, N.Y. The twelve-fight event featured Maxim Grishin handing PFL newcomer Jordan Johnson his first career loss, five early stoppages, including three in the first-round and a banner showing by Russian fighters who wound up tallying a 6-1 record on the night.
“It has been a truly historic first half of Thursday Night MMA action with the PFL on ESPN. With our season-format, the best fighters from around the world fought to position themselves for a playoff spot with eyes on the million-dollar prize,” said Peter Murray, CEO of the PFL. “The PFL has delivered thrilling finishes, unique behind-the-scenes content and real-time, next gen stats showcasing the incredible feats of strength and athleticism taking place in the cage to fight fans in over 150 countries around the world. We’re excited to continue the season in Atlantic City, where playoff spots will be determined.”
“Tonight, we saw impressive wins by PFL newcomers and top returning fighters, competitors from Russia, Brazil, Croatia, Argentina and the United States,” said Ray Sefo, President of Fighter operations of the PFL. “Our depth of talent from around the world was on full display tonight. Heading into the second half, playoff spots are up for grabs. With our format, every fight counts, and I’m looking forward to seeing how everyone responds as we head to Atlantic City.”
In Light Heavyweight action, Argentina’s Emiliano Sordi, who had the fastest stoppage of the 2018 season, dominated 2018 Runner-Up Vinny Magalhaes by second-round TKO, earning 5 points. Sordi improves his career record to 18-8-0 with his 13th career win by knockout. All 18 of his career wins have come by stoppage.
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In a highly anticipated showdown, 2018 Light Heavyweight Quarterfinalist Maxim Grishin handed PFL newcomer Jordan Johnson his first career loss. Grishin scored a knockdown in the final minute of the third round, connecting on a right hand that forced Johnson to the mat. The unanimous decision victory means 3 points for Grishin toward a potential playoff spot. He improves to 29-7-1, while Johnson falls to 10-1-0.
Viktor Nemkov defeated Rakim Cleveland in his PFL debut by unanimous decision, earning 3 points. Nemkov improves to 27-7-0. PFL 3 got off to a fast start on ESPN2, with Bozigit Ataev defeating Dan Spohn by first-round knockout, earning 6 points and the division’s top seed heading into Atlantic City. Ataev’s 15th career win by knockout improves his record to 20-3-0.
In Heavyweight action, Denis Goltsov had the first early stoppage of the night for the Heavyweights, beating 2018 Semifinalist Jared Rosholt by first-round TKO in his PFL debut, earning 6 points and jumping to the top of the standings. At 23-5-0, Goltsov has now won 18 of his last 19 fights.
Kelvin “Mama’s Boy” Tiller defeated Muhammed DeReese by first-round submission (kimura) to also accumulate 6 points. Tiller improves to 11-2-0, with his 7th career win by submission. His last 9 wins have come by stoppage. This was DeReese’s first professional loss, dropping to 7-1-0.
In a thriller to conclude ESPN2 action, Francimar Barroso defeated Alex Nicholson by split decision, earning 3 points. Both fighters left it all in the cage, going blow for blow, connecting on powerful shots. Barroso was able to score multiple takedowns, which ultimately resulted in a tight victory. Barroso is unbeaten in his last 5 fights (4-0-1) and improves to 23-7-1, 1 no contest.
PFL heads to Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City for the second half of the season, beginning with Welterweight and Women’s Lightweight action at PFL 4 on July 11. The women’s division is up for grabs. Kayla Harrison can clinch a playoff spot with an early stoppage, while Sarah Kaufman is in control of her destiny after securing 6 points in PFL 1. Magomed Magomedkerimov looks to extend his eight-fight win streak as he faces PFL newcomer Chris Curtis, who has won eight-straight.
Light Heavyweight Standings
|Rank||LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS||PFL 3 Pts||PFL 3 Result|
|1||Bozigit Ataev||6||Win – 1st round KO (3:25)|
|2||Emiliano Sordi||5||Win – 2nd round TKO (2:45)|
|3||Rashid Yusupov||3||Win – Unanimous Decision|
|4||Maxim Grishin||3||Win – Unanimous Decision|
|5||Viktor Nemkov||3||Win – Unanimous Decision|
|6||Sigi Pesaleli||3||Win – Walkover|
|7||Jordan Johnson||0||Loss – Unanimous Decision|
|8||Rakim Cleveland||0||Loss – Unanimous Decision|
|9||Mikhail Mokhnatkin||0||Loss – Unanimous Decision|
|10||Vinny Magalhaes||0||Loss – 2nd round TKO (2:45)|
|11||Dan Spohn||0||Loss – 1st round KO (3:25)|
|12||Ronny Markes||0||Loss – Walkover (missed weight)|
|Rank||HEAVYWEIGHTS||PFL 3 Pts||PFL 3 Result|
|1||Denis Goltsov||6||Win – 1st round TKO (2:03)|
|2||Kelvin Tiller||6||Win – 1st round submission (3:22)|
|3||Ante Delija||3||Win – Unanimous Decision|
|4||Ali Isaev||3||Win – Unanimous Decision|
|5||Francimar Barroso||3||Win – Split Decision|
|6||Satoshi Ishii||3||Win – Split Decision|
|7||Alex Nicholson||0||Loss – Split Decision|
|8||Zeke Tuinei-Wily||0||Loss – Split Decision|
|9||Valdrin Istrefi||0||Loss – Unanimous Decision|
|10||Carl Seumanutafa||0||Loss – Unanimous Decision|
|11||Muhammed DeReese||0||Loss – 1st round submission (3:22)|
|12||Jared Rosholt||0||Loss – 1st round TKO (2:03)|
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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