NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Professional Fighters League (PFL), the first organization to showcase mixed martial arts in a true sport format, launched their debut season with a night of exciting match-ups that featured five first-round finishes and a few unexpected upsets. The 11-bout card had the packed house at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on their feet early and often as PFL fighters began their chase for the valuable points that will unlock their chance at the Playoffs--and the ultimate goal of being crowned 2018 PFL champion and the $1 million that comes with that honor.
“We couldn’t have asked for a more successful kick-off of our 2018 regular season,” said Carlos Silva, League President of PFL. “It’s clear from the way that the fights went down that our fighters are determined to take full advantage of the ability to win points early. That’s the power of this format--guys know what it takes to get to the next fight and the title--and they put in the work to get there.”
New York’s own Andre Harrison closed out the NBCSN portion of the broadcast with a dominating decision over Chinese contender Juma Tuerxun by scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26, earning a crucial three points and positioning himself favorably for a playoff run. Harrison kicked his opponent’s legs out from under him in the opening exchange and repeatedly battered him with punches and kicks. While Tuerxun’s toughness was on display, Harrison ultimately prevailed after 15 hard-fought minutes.
Former Ohio State Buckeye Lance Palmer took care of Bekbulat Magomedov via rear naked-choke in the second round of their featherweight matchup. The four-time All-American was more than ready to grapple with Magomedov who was moving up from bantamweight. Palmer shut down all of his opponents’ shots and eventually maneuvered to Magomedov’s back before sinking the fight-ending choke at 3:21, earning him five points in the competitive featherweight division.
The highlight of the night came when heavyweight Alex Nicholson landed a spectacular flying knee just 58 seconds into the second frame of his fight with Jake Heun. The former Hawaii linebacker landed some big shots and danced around the cage in the first, but Nicholson caught him with a devastating knee in the second round that sent Heun crumbling to the canvas. The win banked five points for Nicholson and made him a virtual lock for the playoff round.
“I’m so proud of the 22 incredible fighters that entered the cage at Madison Square Garden and even more proud that they fight for the PFL,” said Ray Sefo, President of Fighter Operations, PFL. “It takes a lot of heart to dedicate yourself to MMA and I know that the fans watching live and on Facebook and NBCSN saw every bit of that drive, heart and commitment.”
Andre Harrison (3 pts.) def. Juma Tuerxun (0 pts.) by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26 and 30-27)
Lance Palmer (5 pts.) def. Bekbulat Magomedov (0 pts.) by submission (RNC) at 3:21 of the second round
Timur Valiev (3 pts.) def. Max Coga (0 pts.) by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 and 30-27)
Alex Nicholson (5 pts.) def. Jake Heun (0 pts.) by knockout (flying knee) at 0:58 of the second round
Jared Rosholt (3 pts.) def. Valdrin Istrefi (0 pts) by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-25 and 29-28)
Nazareno Malegarie (3 pts.) def. Marcos Galvao (0 pts.) by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 and 29-28)
Kelvin Tiller (6 pts.) def. Caio Alencar (0 pts.) by knockout at 3:34 of the first round
Steven Siler (6 pts.) def. Magomed Idrisov (0 pts.) by submission (triangle choke) at 4:19 of the first round
Alexandre Almeida (6 pts.) def. Lee Coville (0 pts.) by submission (armbar) at 1:22 of the first round
Francimar Barroso (6 pts.) def. Daniel Gallemore (0 pts.) by TKO (doctor stoppage) at 3:57 of the first round
Jack May (6 pts.) def. Josh Copeland (0 pts.) by TKO at 4:30 of the first round
Heavyweights and featherweights will be back in action for their second fight of the season at PFL 4 on July 19th at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY.
Standings After One Event:
|PFL Heavyweight Standings|
|Kelvin Tiller (USA)||1||6||1-0|
|Francismar Barroso (BRA)||2||6||1-0|
|Jack May (USA)||3||6||1-0|
|Alex Nicholson (USA)||4||5||1-0|
|Jared Rosholt (USA)||5||3||1-0|
|Philipe Lins (BRA)||6||3||1-0|
|Valdrin Istrefi (SUI)||7||0||0-1|
|Jake Heun (USA)||8||0||0-1|
|Josh Copeland (USA)||9||0||0-1|
|Daniel Gallemore (USA)||10||0||0-1|
|Caio Alencar (BRA)||11||0||0-1|
|Shawn Jordan (USA)||12||0||0-1|
|PFL Featherweight Standings|
|Alexandre Almeida (BRA)||1||6||1-0|
|Steven Siler (USA)||2||6||1-0|
|Lance Palmer (USA)||3||5||1-0|
|Andre Harrison (USA)||4||3||1-0|
|Timur Valiev (RUS)||5||3||1-0|
|Nazareno Malegarie (ARG)||6||3||1-0|
|Marcos Galvao (BRA)||7||0||0-1|
|Max Coga (GER)||8||0||0-1|
|Juma Tuerxun (CHN)||9||0||0-1|
|Bekbulat Magomedov (RUS)||10||0||0-1|
|Magomed Idrisov (RUS)||11||0||0-1|
|Lee Coville (ENG)||12||0||0-1|
The 2018 PFL season features 126 fights on Thursday nights in seven regular-season events, bracket-style “win or go home” playoffs, and a $10 million post-season prize pool—the largest prize pool in the history of MMA. The season began with 12 athletes in each of six different weight-classes. Eight fighters from each class will earn their way into the playoff round, and one fighter in each division will earn the title of champion.
U.S.-based and international fans can watch all PFL regular season, playoff, and championship fights—over 66 hours of live action—for free. In the United States, all of the PFL regular season events air live on Thursday in primetime exclusively on NBCSN, and stream live on NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, and pflmma.com. Outside the U.S., Facebook streams up to six hours of free, live coverage for each event. In the U.S., fans can watch the first three hours of coverage of each event on Facebook.
About Professional Fighters League™
The Professional Fighters League presents MMA for the first time in the sport format where individuals compete in a regular season, “win-or-go-home” post-season, and championship. Co-founded by Donn Davis, Russ Ramsey, and Mark Leschly, the Professional Fighters League is backed by an ownership group of sports, media, and business titans. The PFL 2018 Season has 72 fighters in six weight-classes, competing in the regular season on Thursday nights in June, July, and August. The top eight in each weight-class face off in single-elimination playoff fights on Saturday nights in October and the PFL season concludes December 31 with six championship bouts back-to-back with a $10 million prize pool. Watch the entire PFL season action live on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), Facebook Watch, and PFLmma.com. For more visit www.PFLmma.com.