PFL 2 Results: Recaps and Clips from all 12 Regular Season Fights and Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison’s Armbar Debut!
Chicago, Illinois – After a thrilling start to the 2018 regular season at PFL 1 from Madison Square Garden, PFL 2 moves to the Midwest for an evening of lightweight and light heavyweight tussles, plus the highly anticipated MMA debut of two time Olympic gold medalist in judo Kayla Harrison. Following along for live recaps and clips from the fights as they go down, starting at 6 PM EST / 3 PM PST on Facebook. and continuing on NBC Sports Network at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST.
PFL Scoring: 6 points for a round 1 finish, 5 points for a round 2 finish, 4 points for a round 3 finish, 3 points for a decision win.
PFL 2 NBCSN Main Card
155: Will Brooks (19-4, ex-Bellator champ, #43 World) UD3 Luiz Firmino (20-9, ex-WSOF title challenger, #56 World)
Perhaps the most famous face in PFL’s lightweight field, Will Brooks has never graded out as a finisher since he ascended to big league prominence and he seemed happy to grapple with longtime vet Luiz Firmino in the PFL 2 main event. After achieving top control early, Brooks found himself tossed to the mat by the Brazilian via single leg late in the stanza. Firmino was back on the offensive as he briefly threatened to take the back and settled for controlling the clinch. Brooks did a nice job of power judo-throwing Firmino to the ground but ended up once again nearly giving up his back when Luiz snuck out the back door. Firmino never got both hooks in but controlled position for much of round 2 before allowing Brooks a last second takedown of his own. The slowest fight of the entire PFL2 card failed to kick out of second gear as Brooks used his super cardio to control round 3 on the mat. Following 15 minutes of tussling, former Bellator kingpin Ill Will Brooks received the unanimous decision nod to break his recent 3 fight losing skid. 3 Points for Will Brooks
155: Brian Foster (28-10, 3-2 UFC, #30 World) TKO3-Flying Knee+ Ramsey Nijem (9-7, 5-5 UFC, #202 World)
Fistic fireworks ignited at the opening bell as Octagon-tested knockout mavens Brian Foster and Ramsey Nijem started out swinging in the pocket. Foster landed the first bomb that put Nijem on ice skates and forced the 10 fight UFC vet to switch gears and shoot in for a single leg. That takedown try from Ramsey bore no fruit as Foster worked to top control, but before long Nijem used his ground talents to reverse position. The surprise grappling match continued with both men exchanging top position in round 1 and Foster ending the round threatening with a kimura. Round 2 saw Foster immediately give up position by whiffing on a guillotine try. Foster stayed persistent with the submission efforts from his back, but that merely allowed Nijem to maintain control and pass to mount – although he lost the position with one minute to go. Once again Foster ended the round strong smashing away from top position as the two men prepared for round 3. Foster was finally done grappling in round 3 as he decked Nijem with a flying bicycle knee to the jaw/temple! Nijem couldn’t recover and the follow-up ground strikes put him out via TKO to cap an excellent fight! 4 Points for Brian Foster
One of WSOF's great action heroes, Brian Foster puts Ramsey Nijem away with a flying knee and punches in round three! Boasting 14 knockouts and 13 submissions, he has gone to the scorecards just once in a 38-fight career. #PFL2 pic.twitter.com/wsoKBPQQvM— Kyle Johnson (@Maldobabo) June 22, 2018
Brian Foster secures his 28th win, 23 seconds into the third which takes him 4 points into the LW rankings! That was a great fight with both fighters giving it there all. Ramsey fought hard and unlucky in this one. #PFL2 pic.twitter.com/8feIqzvVqq— Josh Mantle (@JoshMantleMMA) June 22, 2018
W155: Kayla Harrison (1-0, Judo Olympic Gold x2) vs. Brittney Elkin (3-5)
When the bell rang on her pro debut two-time Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison worked to the clinch, took down Brittney Elkins easily, and started smashing away on top from half guard. When Elkins gave her back, Harrison sunk in hooks and pounded from back mount. With three minutes to go Harrison rolled for an armbar, and seconds later she elicited the academic tapout from Elkins. Dominant work from Harrison, who got things to her world promptly and never gave the seven fight vet a chance to recover. Infinity Points for Kayla Harrison for a perfect MMA debut.
155: Efrain Escudero (30-13, TUF winner, #90 World, missed weight) Sub3-Guillotine/Phantom Tap Jason High (21-7, 5-3 UFC/Strikeforce, #51 World
Guillotine master Jason High grabbed a front headlock and force Efrain Escudero to the mat seconds into their contest, but the TUF champ used a leglock to get back to the feet. After an extended period of clinch control, the former “Kansas City Bandit” – now known as “Rex Highwalker” – used his respected wrestling skills to score the takedown and control the last couple minutes of round 1. It took about a minute for High to find the double leg in round 2, and he was firmly in control heading into round 3 when Escudero grabbed onto a guillotine choke. Despite High never tapping, the unknown local Illinois referee waved the fight off and awarded Escudero the fight via phantom round 3 submission. 0 Points for Efrain Escudero due to missing weight.
Here's a way to play the heel: Miss weight by seven pounds and submit your opponent without tapping him. Efrain Escudero defeats Jason High via second-round guillotine, despite "Rex Highwalker" never asking out. #PFL2 pic.twitter.com/oIUB0jEeMA— Kyle Johnson (@Maldobabo) June 22, 2018
205: Sean O’Connell (18-9, 2-5 UFC, #65 World) TKO2-Left Hook+ Ronny Markes (18-6, 3-2 UFC, #44 World)
After taking on play-by-play duties for the first few bouts of PFL 2, and doing a fine job of it, Sean O’Connell found himself tackled to the mat early on by KOTC champ and UFC vet Ronny Markes. Markes quickly achieved back mount but O’Connell managed to defend effectively. Both men traded top position in surprisingly even ground exchanges over the ensuing minutes. That’s when the brawl broke out, with both men smashing away with big punches and flying knees in the last minute of the round! Markes punctuated a very fun round 1 with a thunderous takedown. Round 2 started out just as high-octane as Markes threw a jumping karate kick but ate a massive left hook moments later! O’Connell followed up with ground strikes on the fallen Markes that earned him the round 2 TKO 41 seconds into round 2! Excellent start to the NBC Sports Network portion of the card. 5 Points for Sean O’Connell
Emerging from a year-and-a-half retirement and a commentary gig on tonight's prelims, Sean O'Connell blasts off Ronny Markes in round two! After suffering a one-sided first, "The Real OC" launched Nova União's Markes with a winging left, finishing with ground n' pound. #PFL2 pic.twitter.com/zPSYQpCqIo— Kyle Johnson (@Maldobabo) June 22, 2018
PFL 2 Facebook Main Card
205: Brandon Halsey (11-3, ex-Bellator champ, #43 World) TKO3-Doctor’s Stoppage/Cut Smealinho Rama (10-4, ex-WSOF champ, #64 World)
Former Bellator middleweight champ Brandon Halsey lived up to his nickname “The Bull” as he rushed straight in and ragdolled former WSOF heavyweight champ Smealinho Rama to the mat. Rama withstood that early charge and scrambled to top position before the two returned to striking three minutes in. A perfectly timed Rama leg kick dropped Halsey, and the Canadian took the opportunity to jump to Halsey’s back momentarily. Back in the center, Rama smashed Halsey with a liver kick that sent him to the mat – the same shot that Alexander Shlemenko used to fell Halsey in a 2017 M-1 bout. Rama ended the round squeezing a fully-sunk Mata Leon (RNC) but couldn’t quite put his man out before the round 1 bell sounded! Moments into round 2 Rama sent Halsey down hardway with a flush left head kick. But Halsey showed his tougness as he recovered from the flash knockdown and worked to top position of his own! With three minutes to go in round two, Halsey passed to mount as Rama bled on the mat! “The Bull” continued to pound away as Rama lacked the tools to free himself from mount. Finally, Rama managed to roll Halsey over, but made the mistake of going for a kneebar that allowed Halsey to get back on top in mount and pound away for another full minute. What a crazy, back-and-forth fight between these two warriors, who somehow slugged it out to the round 2 bell. Just as round 3 started the ref intervened to wave the cut off due to a massive cut on Rama’s right brow. What an incredible fight as both Rama and Halsey laid it all out on the line. 4 Points for Brandon Halsey
Former champions from different divisions and promotions, one-time Bellator middleweight Brandon Halsey tops erstwhile WSOF heavyweight Smealinho Rama. Reversing multiple knockdowns with brutal mat control, "Bull" opened up a fight-ending cut with the below ground n' pound. #PFL2 pic.twitter.com/LqjIQF56Hj— Kyle Johnson (@Maldobabo) June 22, 2018
155: Islam Mamedov (15-1, 4-0 WSOF, #82 World) UD3 Yuki Kawana (14-2-5, Shooto champ, #174 World)
Undersized Shooto champ Yuki Kawana threw hard early and surprisingly managed to pin WSOF veteran Islam Mamedov against the cage for the first half of round 1. Mamedov exploded out of the position with two minutes to go and worked a single leg before taking Kawana down with multiple mat returns from waistlock position. Mamedov assumed one-hook back control and pounded away with right hands as Kawana tried to squirm away – that proved effective until the ref stood the fight up with 30 seconds to go in R1 due to a Mamedov fence grab while on top. Round 2 saw Mamedov work a nice standing knee from the clinch before briefly scoring a takedown midway through the round. Kawana was clearly outgunned, but to his credit he kept on struggling back to his feet and made it to the round 2 bell. Kawana came out swinging for the fences in the third and managed to land a couple of big punches that forced the huge favorite Mamedov to shoot desperately for the legs! Once he got his arms around Kawana, Mamedov kept it in grappling distance for the rest of round 3 en route to the 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 unanimous decision win. 3 Points for Islam Mamedov
205: Vinny Magalhaes (15-9, #41 World) Sub1-Mata Leon Jamie Abdallah (7-3, ex-Australia FC champ)
Australian big show rookie Jamie Abdallah came out throwing leather but the boxer found himself hip-tossed down under a minute in by BJJ world champ Vinny Magalhaes. Vinny fluidly swiveled around to the back, sunk hooks, and squeezed the fight out of Abdallah via Mata Leon in under two minutes. That’s 12 submissions in 15 pro wins for Pezao. 6 Points for Vinny Magalhaes
205: Rakim Cleveland (19-9-1, #82 World) TKO3-Injury Rashid Yusupov (9-1, M-1 Champ, #18 World)
Undefeated M-1 Global champ Rashid Yusupov set Rakim Cleveland on his back foot with pistonlike right hands early on before scoring the takedown. When Cleveland popped up by the cage, Yusupov attained back mount and worked for a close looking Mata Leon (RNC). The American defended effectively, earning a pop from the crowd, as Yusupov settled for whacking away from back mount for the rest of round 1. Cleveland heated up on the feet in round 2, and following a flurry of offense midway through the round, Yusupov tried to call timeout for some reason. The timeout was not granted, and the Russian shelled up for the rest of round 2 while Cleveland controlled the clinch. Just one second into the third stanza, the doctors stopped the fight due to TKO – shocking upset win for +500 underdog Rakim Cleveland, who becomes the first man to fell the previously undefeated Yusupov. 4 Points for Rakim Cleveland
205: Maxim Grishin (27-7, WFCA champ, #39 World) TKO1-Right Hands/Leg Injury Jason Butcher (11-3, KOTC champ, 5-2 Bellator, #65 World)
Akhmat Fight Club rep Maxim Grishin found himself pressed to the cage early as Jason Butcher tried to overwhelm the former M-1 heavyweight. Moments later Grishin ripped into Butcher’s jaw with two straight right hands! Butcher fell hard on his right leg as he went down, and when Grishin waved him to get back to the feet the American was unable to stand back up. Big round 1 TKO win for the Russian, who made hay as the favorite. 6 Points for Maxim Grishin.
155: Robert Watley (11-1, LFA champ, #84 World) TKO2-Nut Punt Thiago Tavares (21-8-1, 10-7 UFC, #40 World FW)
After a minute of standing with prolific LFA champ Robert Watley, 17 fight UFC vet Thiago Tavares drove in hard for a takedown but founded himself flattened down to the mat. Tavares ate a handful of ground strikes before rolling for a kneebar, but Watley spun away and re-engaged on the mat. The same sequence played out a second time, with Tavares failing to secure a submission and eating more serious strikes in return. Back on the feet, Watley punctuated the final moments of round 1 with a clean left hand followed by a perfectly timed double leg takedown. As round 2 started Tavares seemed invigorated as he threw heavy hooks, but a shin to the groin 35 seconds in put Tavares down and out. After five minutes of recovery time, Tavares was still unable to stand and the fight was waved off. Somehow in Illinois, not being able to continue following a ball kick is a TKO loss? 5 points for Robert Watley via ball kick TKO, though to be fair he was dominating before the bizarro finish.
PFL official tells me the Watley result was a commission call since Tavares couldn’t continues after what was deemed an accidental low blow in which the fighter could not continue after the recuperation period.— John Morgan (@MMAjunkieJohn) June 21, 2018
155: Natan Schulte (12-3, #237 World) UD3 Chris Wade (12-4, 5-2 UFC, #98 World)
If you’re familiar with Chris Wade‘s work from his successful UFC run, you won’t be surprised to hear that he worked his way to 2 takedowns in this fight’s opening moments. It may be a bit of a surprise to learn that unknown Brazilian Natan Schulte reversed the star wrestler with a judo throw shortly thereafter and ended up scoring four brief takedowns total in round 1. On the feet, Schulte appeared to be the more powerful striker as he walked forward with power hooks but ate a few clean counter uppercuts from Wade. The takedowns went out the window in round 2, with Wade landing more shots in the clinch and at distance, but Schulte landing the hardest punches and moving forward relentlessly. The highlight shot of the round saw Schulte land an awesome high knee to the face 3 minutes in that briefly took Wade’s balance away and put him on the mat. This was a high-intensity, grueling fight that saw both men digging deep in round 3. Wade used a ton of his remaining energy to complete a takedown early in the frame but Schulte slipped out as soon as it was complete. Moments later the Brazilian slipped to the back before Wade recaptured guard with two minutes to go. Schulte stayed heavy on top from half guard and side wrestling ride en route to the very surprising 30-26, 30-26, 29-28 unanimous decision victory via superior grappling. 3 Points for Natan Schulte.
205: Dan Spohn (17-5, 1-0 DWCS, #36 World) TKO3-Killer Comeback! Bazigit Atayev (18-2, 39 y/o, 0-1 PRIDE, #169 World HW)
The first round of this nearly-15 minute contest saw Bazigit Atayev move forward on the feet, looking plenty nimble for a 39 year old with one fight in the past decade. Atayev stung Dan Spohn with punches while the American tried to counter off his back foot. Round 2 became a grappling match, with Spohn achieving back mount briefly but Atayev calmly reversing to top control for the second half of the round. Atayev tried to keep things conservative in round 3 with several minutes of zero-offense clinch control. Spohn broke briefly and managed to smash the Russian with several powerful knee strikes to the body and head. Then with under 30 seconds left, Spohn came back with a wicked flurry that overwhelmed Atayev and earned him the comeback round 3 TKO! Amazing tenacity from “The Dragon”, who simply wouldn’t go down without a fight and came away with a huge win for for his efforts. 4 Points for Dan Spohn
Current PFL 2018 League Standings after PFL 1
images via @ProFightLeague
Learn about the 155 and 205 PFL Fields:
Bring on the Big Boys – PFL’s classy 205 pound field includes Rashid Yusupov, Brandon Halsey, Maxim Grishin, Vinny Magalhaes
Get to Know the Lightweights! Will Brooks, Chris Wade, and LFA champ Robert Watley lead a strong veteran field at PFL Chicago
Thanks to Josh Mantle for researching PFL’s rules on weight misses. 0 Points for Escudero despite his “win”
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