PFL 10 went down on Wednesday night in Hollywood, Florida, and there was no shortage of great moments and stunning finishes on the card. Six fighters walked away from the tournament victorious and $1 million richer, each claiming their divisional title. What can be made of all this action? Read on and find out.
MAIN CARD (ESPN2, ESPN+)
- Kayla Harrison def. Taylor Guardado via submission (armbar) – Round 2, 4:00 – Women’s lightweight final.
- Ray Cooper III def. Magomed Magomedkerimov via knockout (punches) – Round 3, 3:02 – welterweight final.
- Abigail Montes def. Claressa Shields via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Bruno Cappelozza def. Ante Delija via unanimous decision (49-45, 49-45, 48-46) – heavyweight final.
- Movlid Khaybulaev def. Chris Wade via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45) – featherweight final.
PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN+)
- Antonio Carlos Junior def. Marthin Hamlet via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:49 – light heavyweight final.
- Raush Manfio def. Loik Radzhabov via unanimous decision (48-46, 48-46, 49-46)– lightweight final.
- Jordan Young def. Omari Akhmedov via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 1:32
- Julia Budd def. Kaitlin Young via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Don Madge def. Nathan Williams via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:15
Biggest Takeaways From Wednesday’s PFL Event
Kayla Harrison Needs a UFC Shot, and Now:
The former two-time judo Olympic champion Kayla Harrison (13-0-0) has repeated as PFL champion with a dominant armbar submission win over Taylor Guardado in the second round. She has finished her last five bouts and twelve of thirteen overall. She has steamrolled her competition, and last night’s bout was only another notch in her belt and another million dollars in her pocket.
There does seem to be some skepticism with Dana White opposing her move to the UFC, and for good reason. There does seem to be some skepticism with Dana White opposing her move to the UFC, and for a good reason. Harrison fights in the PFL’s 155-pound female division, which is nonexistent in other promotions, including the UFC. Additionally, Harrison has arguably fought a lower level of competition than what is seen in the UFC. The talent argument makes sense, but could the same thing not be said for Amanda Nunes, disregarding the Shevchenko fight?
The featherweight division in the UFC was essentially shut down due to lack of competition (there were only eight The featherweight division in the UFC was essentially shut down due to lack of competition (there were only eight fighters on the roster), and Amanda Nunes had beaten almost every one of them. If Harrison can make 145, there would be no reason not to have her in the UFC. Outside of Cris Cyborg, Harrison provides the only real challenge for Nunes, and her arrival could revitalize a near-dead division.
Ray Cooper III is a Bad, Bad Man:
Ray Cooper III (24-7-1) is the new PFL welterweight champion after defeating Magomed Magomedkarimov by third-round knockout. Cooper caught Magomedkarimov with a right hand, stumbling him, and followed with a left hook and another right hand to knock him down. It was a fearsome finish for the Hawaiian, who avenged his previous loss to Magomedkarimov.
Ray Cooper only needed three solid shots to finish Magomedkarimov, and he threw them with reckless abandon: his hands were down, and he moved forward with a ruthless instinct seen in few fighters. This is anything but a fluke, as Cooper dominated the PFL’s poster boy in ex-Bellator champion Rory MacDonald for three rounds en route to this title berth. Cooper is a star in PFL, and he could make waves in any promotion he wants to. A million dollars makes it that much sweeter, though.
Claressa Shields May Not Be Ready for MMA Stardom:
Boxing great Claressa Shields (1-1-0 MMA 11-0-0 Boxing) fought Abby Montes (2-0-0) last night at PFL 10, and the result was a 29-28 28-29 29-28 split decision for Montes. Montes won the second and third rounds by getting taken down and eventually mounted, and Montes almost finished Shields before the final bell. Shields was clearly lagging behind with her ground game and got dominated on the mat.
Shields went into the fight claiming she was the greatest female fighter of all time, and while that claim might be valid for boxing, she needs a lot of work in the sport. Actions speak louder than words, and so wins are the only thing that can back that up.
However, Shields still has boxing: she is the first fighter to hold all four organizational belts in two divisions, male or female. In December, she is putting three organizational belts on the line when she journeys to England to defend the WBC, WBA, and IBF middleweight titles. Shields must focus on one or the other if she wants to be successful, as MMA is a multidisciplinary sport, and there is a reason only well-rounded fighters win titles.
Shields looked lost in her bout, and she will need some serious training to become a legitimate lightweight contender in PFL. There is no clear path for her, so it might make sense for her to return to boxing.
PFL 10 was a fantastic event, and there were many great fights on the card. What big things did you take from the event?
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Featured Image credits to PFL MMA