PFL 1 Results: Andre Harrison and Lance Palmer roll in regular-season opener

The Professional Fighters League’s first season is off to a rollicking start.

The outfit formerly known as World Series of Fighting launched its second incarnation with a card featuring featherweights and heavyweights on Thursday at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater, with Andre Harrison schooling a helpless Jumabieke Tuerxun en route to a one-sided decision that kept his record unblemished in the 145-pound closer. The ex-WSOF titleholder found a home for his mitts at will and blanketed Tuerxun on the canvas every time the action made it there, while the UFC alum did little but shoot for ill-advised takedowns when he wasn’t eating leather and shinbone.

In the co-main event, former two-time WSOF featherweight king Lance Palmer – a former conquest of Harrison’s – chain-wrestled his way to ex-bantamweight champ Bekbulat Magomedov’s back, then sunk in a rear-naked choke for the tapout at the 3:21 mark of Round 2. Palmer had amicably left longtime home Team Alpha Male for a reunion with UFC flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez in Las Vegas ahead of the matchup, and secured his first win streak in three years with the submission. Magomedov, meanwhile, fell to 19-3 as a pro in a move up from 135 pounds.

Timur Valiev spoiled Max Coga’s stateside debut with a unanimous verdict he needed every tool in his arsenal to claim. The Dagestan native scored a takedown in each of the three frames, but Coga was not easily subdued and outdueled him on the feet with a variety of looks while matching his frenetic pace. The long, rangy German had found his groove by Round 2 and tagged a flurrying Valiev with a short counter left hook, but the judges ultimately put more stock in Valiev’s wrestling and top control – however fruitless – their verdict extending his win streak to three and halting Coga’s eight-fight win streak.

Undeterred by a last-minute opponent change spawned by a weight-related rule in the NYSAC’s books, Alex Nicholson made Jake Heun pay for chewing up his lead leg in Round 1 with a flying knee to the kisser that brought a bitter end to his foe’s night less than a minute into Round 2 of the main card’s heavyweight curtainjerker.

Contrary to the prevailing school of thought heading into fight night, the bulk of Thursday’s undercard victors were anything but risk-averse, with heavyweight Kelvin Tiller leading the charge. The beneficiary of a questionable stand-up from referee Dan Miragliotta, Tiller coolly slipped a looping right hand from Caio Alencar, then uncorked a thunderous overhand that put the Brazilian veteran’s lights out at the 3:34 mark of Round 1.

The jaw-dropping KO marked the fourth of as many first-round stoppages on the prelims, which saw Steven Siler survive an early knockdown and subsequent barrage of ground-and-pound to submit Magomed Idrisov in featherweight action. His chin ripe for the testing, the UFC alum was floored by a hellacious left hand, but regained enough of his faculties on the mat to get back to the feet, shoot for a takedown, and slap on a triangle choke in the ensuing scramble for the comeback tapout with under a minute to go in the opening stanza.

Not to be outdone, Alexandre Almeida – a former 145-pound titlist of the PFL’s original incarnation – made short work of the UK’s Lee Coville, tripping the career Muay Thai man to the canvas before slicing through his guard and securing an armbar in just 82 seconds of work for six points of his own in the featherweight standings.

Opening the card were UFC castoff Francimar Barroso and Daniel Gallemore, with the former’s looping haymakers halving the latter’s vision and prompting the cageside physician to call off yet another clash of middling behemoths – thereby anointing Barroso the winner by TKO four minutes into his heavyweight debut.

The season’s second bill is scheduled for June 21 in Chicago and will feature lightweight and light heavyweight matchups, as well as the MMA debut of Kayla Harrison, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in judo who meets Brittney Elkin at 155 pounds. Former Bellator champion Will Brooks will face Pride FC and WSOF veteran Luiz Firmino in the headliner.

See the full results from Thursday’s action below:

NOTE: Fighters are awarded six points for first-round stoppages, five for second-round stoppages, four for third-round stoppages, and three for a decision victory. Bouts ending in a draw will leave each fighter with one point.

Main Card
: Andre Harrison def. Jumabieke Tuerxun via unanimous decision (3 pts)
Featherweight: Lance Palmer def. Bekbulat Magomedov via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:21 of Round 2 (5 pts)
Featherweight: Timur Valiev def. Max Coga via unanimous decision (3 pts)
Heavyweight: Alex Nicholson def. Jake Heun via KO at 0:58 of Round 2 (5 pts)

Heavyweight: Jared Rosholt def. Valdrin Istefi via unanimous decision (3 pts)
Featherweight: Nazareno Malegarie def. Marcos Galvao via unanimous decision (3 pts)
Heavyweight: Kelvin Tiller def. Caio Alencar via KO (right hand of doom) at 3:34 of Round 1 (6 pts)
Featherweight: Steven Siler def. Magomed Idrisov via submission (triangle choke) at 4:19 of Round 1 (6 pts)
Featherweight: Alexandre de Almeida def. Lee Coville via submission (armbar) at 1:22 of Round 1 (6 pts)
Heavyweight: Francimar Barroso def. Daniel Gallemore via TKO (doctor stoppage) at 3:57 of Round 1 (6 pts)

Jack May def. Josh Copeland via TKO  (liver kick+) in Round 1 (6 pts)

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