NEW YORK: Thursday night, Professional Fighters League (PFL), the first organization ever to present MMA through a Regular Season, Playoffs and Championship format, returns for the final playoff event of the 2019 season at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. All PFL heavyweight and light heavyweight competitors successfully weighed-in and now need to fight twice and win twice in one night to advance to the 2019 PFL World Championship on NYE in NYC, where a title and million-dollar prize will be on the line.
“It has been a historic playoff run in Las Vegas for PFL, and we’re excited to finish up with two weight classes that are known to deliver early finishes and action-packed fights,” said Ray Sefo, President of Fighter Operations of the PFL. “They get after it, and our fight twice in one-night format adds to the excitement. A new PFL heavyweight and light heavyweight champion will be crowned on New Year’s Eve in New York City, and rest assured that victory will be earned, not given.”
Opening the night on ESPN+ is Argentina’s Emiliano Sordi, who locked in the light heavyweight #1 seed on the back of two statement knockout wins. Sordi has proven himself a finisher, with all 19 of his wins coming by stoppage. Sordi will go up against #8 Sigi Pesaleli in the quarterfinals. #2 Maxim Grishin faces #7 Jordan Johnson in a PFL 3 rematch. Johnson entered the PFL from UFC with a 10-0 record but suffered his first career defeat to Grishin. He now has a chance to avenge that loss.
2018 light heavyweight runner-up Vinny Magalhaes seeks a return to NYC. Following a knockout loss to Sordi at PFL 3, Magalhaes rebounded by submitting Rakim Cleveland in under two minutes at PFL 6 to secure the #3 seed. The BJJ World Champion will face #6 Rashid Yusupov, a talented wrestler with an 11-2 record. #4 Bozigit Ataev takes on #5 Viktor Nemkov to round out the light heavyweight quarterfinals.
In the heavyweight division, #1 Denis Goltsov looks to continue his dominant season, after knocking out Jared Rosholt and submitting Kelvin Tiller in thrilling fashion. Goltsov will go head-to-head with 2008 Olympic judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii, who will have MMA legend Mirko Cro Cop in his corner. #2 Muhammad “Mo Muscle” DeReese faces #7 Jared Rosholt, who is coming off an impressive ‘win or go home’ victory against #8 Satoshi Ishii at PFL 6.
#3 Alex Nicholson earned his division-leading 13th career knockout last time in the cage, a first-round highlight reel KO of Zeke Tuinei-Wily to clinch a playoff spot. For Nicholson, 11 of his last 12 fights have ended with a knockout; the one that didn’t was a split decision loss at PFL 3 to his quarterfinal opponent #6 Francimar Barroso. Kelvin “Mama’s Boy” Tiller takes on Ali Isaev in the #4 and #5 matchup, as Tiller looks to punch a ticket to New York with his mom in attendance.
- Emiliano Sordi (205.8) vs Sigi Pesaleli (204.8)
- Bozigit Ataev (205.0) vs. Viktor Nemkov (206.0)
- Maxim Grishin (205.4) vs. Jordan Johnson (205.4)
- Vinny Magalhaes (205.0) vs. Rashid Yusupov (204.4)
- Kelvin Tiller (266.0) vs. Ali Isaev (264.4)
- Muhammed DeReese (248.2) vs. Jared Rosholt (254.0)
- Denis Golstov (239.0) vs. Satoshi Ishii (230.6)
- Alex Nicholson (234.6) vs. Francimar Barroso (228.6)