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The playoffs are now set for PFL’s 2019 season, with the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions each playing out their final regular season matchups on Thursday.
PFL 2019, Week 6 took place at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J. The night’s main card streamed live on ESPN+ following prelims on ESPN2.
The No. 1 seeds for both weight classes were locked up early in the evening. Russia’s Denis Goltsov (24-5) clinch the top spot in the heavyweight division with a dominating performance against Kelvin Tiller (11-3), hurting him early and then finishing things with an Ezekiel choke in the second. After scoring a first-round knockout at June’s PFL 2019, Week 3, Goltsov finished the season with 11 of a maximum 12 points, locking up the No. 1 spot.
Meanwhile, Argentina’s Emiliano Sordi (19-8) secured the No. 1 seed at light heavyweight with his 83-second knockout win over Bozigit Ataev (21-4) at Thursday’s event. Sordi also upset PFL 2018 finalist Vinny Magalhaes with a second-round TKO win in June, meaning he also finished with 11 points on the regular season, good for tops in the table.
In truth, the bout was a rather forgettable affair, with both grapplers keeping a moderate pace, at best. Neither man really imposed his will on the other, though Rosholt did score a handful of takedowns over the course of 15 minutes and did enough on the feet, as well, to take home the judges’ decision, 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
The three points earned Rosholt the No. 7 slot in the playoffs.
“There’s a reason why he has that Olympic gold medal,” Rosholt said after the win. “I haven’t had a fight this tough in a long time. Ishii is tough as nails.”
With the regular season complete, the heavyweight playoff matchups include:
- (1) Denis Goltsov vs. (8) Satoshi Ishii
- (4) Kelvin Tiller vs. (5) Ali Isaev
- (2) Muhammed DeReese vs. (7) Jared Rosholt
- (3) Alex Nicholson vs. (6) Francimar Barroso
Magalhaes used his striking to close the distance, getting inside and changing levels, to bring the action to the floor. Once there, it was a quick transition, taking the top and looking first for a kimura before transition to an armbar and scoring the tap at the 1:56 mark of the first. With the six points earned, Magalhaes secured the No. 3 seed in the upcoming playoffs.
With the regular season complete, the light heavyweight playoff matchups include:
- (1) Emiliano Sordi vs. (8) Sigi Pesaleli
- (4) Bozigit Ataev vs. (5) Viktor Nemkov
- (2) Maxim Grishin vs. (7) Jordan Johnson
- (3) Vinny Magalhaes vs. (6) Rashid Yusupov
The heavyweight and light heavyweight playoffs both commence on Oct. 31 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
The night’s main card kicked off with a special bout contested as a “New Fighter Showcase,” featuring the undefeated cousin of UFC champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, Umar Nurmagomedov (11-0), picking up a decision win over fellow bantamweight Sidemar Honorio (13-7).
After some brief striking exchanges on the feet to open, Honorio pulled guard and looked to work from his back. Once there, it was Nurmagomedov who was far more active on top, switching positions at will before moving back to his feet to resume his preferred striking attack. With his opponent clearly getting the best of those exchanges, Honorio looked to clinch, but he was on bottom when the fight hit the floor again.
Nurmagomedov continued to be the more effective striker in the second, mixing up his approach with punches and kicks to all levels. Honorio did his best to swing back and keep it interesting, but Nurmagomedov controlled the center and seemed to get the best of most of the exchanges.
The third saw more of the same, with Nurmagomedov outstriking his opponent on the feet, particularly with frequent kicks he threw without concern. Twice the action went to the canvas, with Honorio looking to change the momentum, but Nurmagomedov took top position each time, leaving his opponent with few offensive options. At the close of the contest, Nurmagomedov was awarded the clear decision win, 30-27 on all three cards.
“I could definitely see that my opponent was quite experienced, judging by the way he fights and moves in the cage,” Nurmagomedov said after the win. “But I was completely prepared for today, and now I’m taking my victory home.”
PFL 2019, Week 6 results include:
- Jared Rosholt def. Satoshi Ishii via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Vinny Magalhaes def. Rakim Cleveland via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 1:56
- Viktor Nemkov def. Rashid Yusupov via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Ali Isaev def. Carl Seumanutafa via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Maxim Grishin def. Mikhail Mokhnatkin via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 0:48
- Muhammed DeReese def. Valdrin Istrefi via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 2:06
- Umar Nurmagomedov def. Sidemar Honorio via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Francimar Barroso def. Ben Edwards via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Denis Goltsov def. Kelvin Tiller via submission (Ezekiel choke) – Round 2, 3:40
- Emiliano Sordi def. Bozigit Ataev via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 1:23
- Alex Nicholson def. Zeke Tuinei-Wily via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:07
- Jordan Johnson def. Sigi Pesaleli via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
This is a PFL regular-season event. Under the PFL’s standings format, a fighter who wins via first-round finish earns six points; second-round finish earns five; third-round finish earns four; decision victory earns three; a draw earns both fighters one point; and a losing fighter earns zero. A fighter who wins but missed weight the previous day is not eligible to earn points.
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