Fight Facts is a breakdown of all of the interesting information and cage curiosities on every card, with some puns, references and portmanteaus to keep things fun. These deep stat dives delve into the numbers, providing historical context and telling the stories behind those numbers.
The organization formerly known as World Series of Fighting brought with it more than a new name to Madison Square Garden in New York City, lighting the fuse for the first season of the Professional Fighters League in 2018. The landmark event held bouts at featherweight and heavyweight, and featured a rare high flying knockout, a “Comeback of the Year” contender, and an undefeated fighter with no end to his streak in sight.
Total number of PFL Events: 39
CHECK THE SCOREBOARD: With impressive first round finish victories for Alexandre Almeida and Steven Siler, they both earned 6 points and sit atop the featherweight leaderboard. At heavyweight, Francimar Barroso, Jack May and Kelvin Tiller all scored first round finishes, with each tied at 6 points in their division.
NEW YORK GONNA NEW YORK: In a bizarre move by the New York State Athletic Commission the day before the event, heavyweights Alex Nicholson and Kelvin Tiller were slated to fight one another, as well as Caio Alencar and Jake Heun. Due to a difference in weight above 25 pounds between the competitors, the bouts were forcibly restructured to Nicholson vs. Heun and Alencar vs. Tiller.
DON’T BOTHER: Three fighters on PFL 1 closed on the betting lines as staggering favorites, with Andre Harrison closing as a -4500 favorite compared to Jumbieke Tuerxun’s comeback at +1800. Almeida and Magomed Idrisov closed as the -2000 favorites against Lee Coville and Steven Siler at +1100, respectively.
HARRISONNED: Harrison improved his impressive undefeated record to 18-0 with a dominant decision victory over Jumabieke, although the win was Harrison’s 13th by decision, with only five stoppage victories along the way.
PARTY ALL THE TIME: Lance “The Party” Palmer fought for the ninth time under the WSOF/PFL banner, the most of any fighter currently on the roster. Winning his sixth bout in the organization, he is now tied with Jon Fitch for the fifth-most wins in PFL history.
TIMUR TIME: With a tough decision win over Max Coga, Timur Valiev picked up his seventh win inside the Decagon, making Valiev the winningest active fighter on the PFL roster. The only fighters with more wins in the organization (Marlon Moraes, David Branch, and Justin Gaethje) are all currently signed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
HIGH FLYING MAN: By knocking out Heun in the second round with a flying knee, Nicholson scored the third knockout from a flying knee in PFL history. No PFL fighter above 150 pounds had ever achieved such a feat.
MAKING Bas Rutten PROUD: Jack May stopped Josh Copeland with a perfectly placed liver kick, and while doing so, he picked up just the second stoppage victory in PFL history to come directly from strikes to the body.
IN SOVIET RUSSIA, GRIND EMBRACE YOU: Picking up a unanimous decision win against Valdrin Istrefi, Jared Rosholt became just the fourth heavyweight in PFL history to win more than once by decision (Blagoy Ivanov, Derrick Mehmen and Copeland).
WHAT A COMEBACK: All but unconscious in the first round, Siler survived the onslaught from Idrisov and pulled off an unlikely triangle choke, only the eighth triangle choke in PFL history.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? : Closing as an unbelievable +1100 underdog, Siler’s shocking defeat of the gargantuan favorite Idrisov (-2000) enshrined his victory as one of the biggest betting upsets in MMA history.
WHO DOES THAT? : Shawn Jordan missed weight before his potential bout against late replacement Philipe Lins, coming in nine pounds heavy. While the bout was ultimately scratched by the commission, it would not have been the first time a fight took place inside the Decagon above heavyweight. Tim Hague came in 10.1 pounds over the heavyweight limit and fought Craig Hudson at a de facto superheavyweight class at WSOF 14 in 2014.
NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN: Coming into PFL 1, Bekbulat Magomedov had never been stopped (20 fights), Idrisov had never been submitted (9 fights) and Barroso had never competed at heavyweight (26 fights).
Jay Pettry is an attorney and statistician. Writing about MMA since he started studying the “Eminem Curse” in 2012, and writing for Vice Sports and Combat Docket along the way, he put together many UFC result and entrance music databases to better study the sport. You can find him on twitter at @jaypettry.