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Sadibou Sy (170) vs. Alexey Kunchenko (169.5)
Round 1In the opener for tonight's card, recent UFC veteran Alexey Kunchenko (20-2) faces striker Sadibou Sy (8-5-2). Kunchenko was an excellent fighter in M-1, being an undefeated 18-0 champion who defended his title multiple times, and went 2-2 in the UFC that could have easily been 3-1 (most thought he defeated Zaleski dos Santos), including a close loss to Gilbert Burns. However, there are concerns about how much he has left at 37. Overseeing the intriguing bout will be Shooto legend, referee Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro. Both men begin cautiously, with Sy testing the waters with a few jabs and leg kicks. He then connects with a solid 1-2, keeping Kunchenko at the end of his punches. Kunchenko counters with a solid leg kick of his own. Sy continues working a steady, technical jab, and is occasionally following it up with the cross. Kunchenko is looking for an opening, and does come forward with a left hook and overhand right, although neither connects. Sy now adds leg kicks to his arsenal and a front kick, which are landing. Sy is circling very well on the outside, pairing it with a jab. Finally, Kunchenko decides to clinch halfway through the round, but Sy is ready, battling for underhooks well. Kunchenko lands a few short uppercuts, but nothing serious gets through. Sy angles his position well to avoid the takedown and manages to get off the cage. Kunchenko goes for a foot sweep, it's blocked, and Sy lands with several hard knees to the body, forcing Kunchenko to disengage. Sy continues landing with powerful kicks to the body, whether of the front or roundhouse variety, and Kunchenko decides to clinch again. Kunchenko goes for a few foot-stomps and hits a few uppercuts, but again, nothing significant. As the round ends, Kunchenko finally gets a nice outside trip to slam Sy to the canvas. Nevertheless, this is clearly the Swede's round. 10-9 Sy.
Round 2Kunchenko is moving well to star round 2, no surprise given he was used to 5-rounders in M-1. He is more aggressive with kicks, landing several to the body. Sy is a little less aggressive, pawing with the jab. But then, out of nowhere, he lands a BEAUTIFUL 1-2, with the cross badly hurting Kunchenko, who is seriously hurt. Sy jumps all over with him in punches, stunning him even more. Kunchenko clinches for dear life and manages to survive. Kunchenko is able to keep his opponent against him, with the pace of the fight slowing significantly. Halfway through the round, and Kunchenko is pushing Sy against the cage, with the occasional short uppercut. Kunchenko tries for a single-leg, but Sy has a solid base and good balance. Being a grappler himself, referee Vitor Ribeiro lets them work here, however. Kunchenko throws a few hooks to Sy's side. Finally, Sy pushes him off with 90 seconds left. He immediately punishes the Russian with roundhouse kicks to the body and one to the head that partially gets through. He is looking for the occasional punch, but Kunchenko blocks them. Still, Kunchenko is being purely defensive. He goes for a takedown late in the round, but with no success. 10-9 Sy.
Round 3Kunchenko, endlessly tough, isn't even thinking of giving up, and he lands several hard kicks to the legs and then body. Sy counters with a powerful head kick that is blocked but clearly bothers Kunchenko. Surprisingly, Sy is the one to shoot 30 seconds in, which Kunchenko stuffs with ease and pushes his opponent against the fence. They're in the 50/50 position, with each man having an underhook each, and Kunchenko is a little more active with short punches to the body. Sy looks moderately tired, and is unable to get off the fence like he did earlier in the contest. Kunchenko drops levels, going for a double-leg, but Sy correctly widens his base and stays upright. With 2 minutes left, Kunchenko knees Sy in his long legs. As with previous rounds, they separate with 90 seconds left. They trade crosses and Kunchenko appears to get the best of it. Sy doesn't have the same speed and pop on his strikes now, and Kunchenko is able to avoid them now. Kunchenko partially scores with a head kick of his own, and then lands a leg kick and body kick for good measure. He clinches again with 30 seconds left and is deep on a single-leg. However, Sy again defends as Kunchenko continues kneeing away on the thighs. A nice comeback round for the Russian, but it's not enough. 10-9 Kunchenko (29-28 Sy)
The Official ResultSadibou Sy def. Alexey Kunchenko via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Tom Lawlor (203.6) vs. Jordan Young (206)
Round 1Next up, we have part-time fighter, full-time pro wrestler Tom Lawlor (10-8) fighting 26 year-old prospect Jordan Young (11-1). At 38 and not fully invested in MMA for a long time, Lawlor has talked about retiring if he loses. Giving them a close look will be referee Gary Copeland. Lawlor bounces in and out to start the fight, and a poorly-timed leg kick by Young allows Lawlor to push him and get the takedown. Young is immediately active off his back, throwing up a triangle. Lawlor is wise to it, though, and after defending, uses it to pass. After a roll he gets a wrestling ride and lands some solid punches to the head. However, Young is able to post-up and then wall-walk, getting back up to his feet. They are now in the clinch, with Lawlor landing the occasional short uppercut. It's not much, but it's more than Young is doing, which is content to keep overhooks. Once Young goes for underhooks, Lawlor lands a knee to the body and a series of hooks that partially get through. After they separate, Young goes for a few knees of his own in the clinch. However, it's also ill-advised, as Lawlor times a double-leg perfectly and gets yet another takedown. Young is active against from the bottom, but his attempt to get up results in Lawlor going for an Anaconda choke. It's unsuccessful, but he does get a mat return on Young. Young is undeterred, though, as he eventually works his way back up to the feet. Again, Lawlor is throwing the occasional short punch, which is more than what Young is doing. For all of Young's talk about being much stronger, more skilled, and a better grappler, he is being out-wrestled in the first stanza by the 38 year-old. The action slows down considerably as the round whiles away, with Lawlor having Young against the cage. Finally, Lawlor throws a punch as Young escapes, which misses. 10-9 Lawlor.
Round 2The second round begins with a little bit of striking, but it's not long before Lawlor clinches Young against the cage. This time, Young is able to break free sooner. He throws a head kicks that is firmly blocked by Lawlor. Lawlor is throwing punches to the head, but they lack speed and technique and are also easily blocked. Young has more success with teep kicks to Lawlor's legs. Lawlor brawls his way inside with punches and grinds for a takedown. However, he exposes his neck in the process and Young locks in a very tight Anaconda. It's deep, but Lawlor fights and wriggles his way out, although he ends up on his back now, with Young in side control. Halfway through the round, Young is doing little with the position, not even throwing any strikes. Lawlor manages to neatly scramble back up to his feet and again pushes Young against the fence. With almost 2 minutes left, they disengage again. Young lands a body kick. Lawlor again comes forward and with his wrestling tenacity, gets a double-leg takedown. Then, he shockingly passes to mount against Young, who offers no resistance. From there, he immediately locks on an arm triangle, and it's very tight! Young looks like he might be going out at one point, but he just manages to get to his side at the last moment. Nevertheless, Young is simply looking to survive in this position, and Lawlor keeps the choke on. Young then wraps both arms underneath his right thigh to survive until the end of the round. 10-9 Lawlor.
Round 3Young throws a kick to the body to begin the round, but it's blocked. He also scores an eyepoke, which causes a brief halt to the action. As they resume, Lawlor again throws a few easily blocked punches as a way to brawl into a clinch. Lawlor is pushing Young against the fence and looking for a takedown, although without much success. Young appears to try attacking the neck, but in the process, he gives up a double-leg takedown and the veteran is yet again on top. Young goes for a triangle but it's loose and Lawlor has no troubles getting out. He lands a punch from top position. Young looks tired now, no longer having the energy to get back up like he did in the first stanza. He is angling his hips and throwing up his legs, but with little effect. Lawlor is landing the occasional short arm punch or hammerfist from the top, but with little effect. Eventually, he tries another arm triangle, but without being in mount, it's not very dangerous, and he soon gives up on it. Lawlor is in half-guard though and able to land the occasional punch, as there is slightly more than a minute remaining. Young regains full guard, but it's hard to see what the point of keeping the wrestler in his closed full guard is with little time remaining. Lawlor is content to stay in this position, eating up time and occasionally throwing a small strike. The fight ends. This appears to be a very nice comeback victory for Tom Lawlor but a very disappointing performance for Young, especially given his big talk in the interview segments beforehand. 10-9 Lawlor (30-27 Lawlor)
The Official ResultTom Lawlor def. Jordan Young via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Magomed Magomedkerimov (171) vs. Curtis Millender (170.6)
Round 1In tonight's third bout, UFC and Bellator veteran Curtis Millender (18-7) battling the returning Magomed Magomedkerimov (26-5), fighting for the first time since 2019, who is a perfect 8-0 in the PFL and hasn't lost since 2015. Keeping them honest will be referee Gary Copeland. Millender comes out and lands a hard jab. He then throws a flying knee that barely misses Magomedkerimov and a short while later, scores with a hard teep kick to the ankle that has the -1600 favorite from Dagestan stumbling backwards. Magomedkerimov is able to reset and lands a solid punch of his own. An early takedown attempt is stuffed by the American. However, about 90 seconds into the round, Magomedkerimov goes for a single-leg, and despite Millender's hopping, he manages to get him down. From there, he works his way upwards and locks in an Ezekiel Choke, which fans will recognize as a speciality of Alexey Oleynik. Millender immediately taps. Despite some early striking hiccups, a very impressive return fight for the Dagestani.
The Official ResultMagomed Magomedkerimov def. Curtis Millender via Submission (Ezekiel Choke) at 1:57 of Round 1
Joao Zeferino (171) vs. Jason Ponet (169.4)
Round 1Moving up the card, Joao Zeferino (25-9), "The Brazilian Samurai", clashes with "The Amazonian Samurai" Jason Ponet (20-13). In other words, a duel between samurais! Both men are primarily strikers so we may see some fireworks here. Referee Vitor Ribeiro, who was a grappler, will have the best seat in the house. Zeferino comes forward with a left hook, but is countered hard with a gorgeous right hook, which floors Zeferino. Ponet pounces with a barrage of strikes, but Zeferino manages to grab a leg and he recovers. They restart back at range and each man is now more cautious. After a few testing punches from both men, Zeferino is the one who decides to clinch. He has a tight bodylock and briefly manages to get Ponet to his knees, but the Frenchman recovers and gets back up. Eventually, he spins away. At range, he lands a nice leg kick. Ponet moves forward with several punches, and a right cross connects flush on Zeferino's chin. The Brazilian just seems a little slow, with his guard a little too loose here. Zeferino fires off a few straight rights, but Ponet moves well out of the range. Zeferino goes for another clinch attempt, clasping onto the leg, but Ponet easily gets away. Zeferino comes forward and as he changes levels, eats a huge kick to the face. However, he perseveres and does get Ponet onto his back. Zeferino works to get to side control and a short while later, transitions to full mount. There is only 45 seconds left but this is a huge opportunity for the Brazilian, who has been battered all round long. Ponet keeps him close, though. Ponet tries to get up, gives up his neck, but he quickly resets. Zeferino lands a never-ending stream of short punches, but none are particularly big. 10-9 Ponet.
Round 2They are a little more cautious to start the stanza, and Zeferino opens up with a nice right cross that lands, his best strike of the fight. He immediately transitions to a double-leg and this time gets it, putting Ponet solidly on his back. The Brazilian is immediately active from the top, and gets into half-guard immediately, throwing the same short punches that were getting through in the first round. Zeferino is potentially looking for a kimura, but Ponet is aware and defends. The Brazilian is comfortable and continues working and soon gets a nice transition to the mount. From there, Zeferino locks in a very deep arm triangle. Ponet, flat on his back against the cage, has no escape, and soon taps. Awesome comeback win for the Brazilian Samurai Zeferino!
The Official ResultJoao Zeferino def. Jason Ponet via Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) at 2:16 of Round 2
Marthin Hamlet (205.6) vs. Cory Hendricks (205.6)
Round 1Coming off an impressive PFL debut, Norway's Marthin Hamlet (7-1) takes on Cory Hendricks (7-3). Referee Gasper Oliver presides for the first time tonight. Hendricks scores first with a leg kick and immediatley shifts position. However, a second such attempt leads to a furious double-leg shot by Hamlet, slamming Hendricks into the cage. However, Hendricks immediately springs back up, wall-walking neatly, and they clinch hard against the fence. Hamlet is working hard to get a leg, but Hendricks is tough, and even lands a solid knee to the Norwegian's head. Hamlet forces the action, but Hendricks shows great balance by resetting back against the cage. As the action slows, Hendricks lands a knee to the stomach of Hamlet. Hamlet is persistent, however, and he scores of a thunderous outside trip. Hendricks again immediately springs back up, but the Norwegian has a tight bodylock from behind. They stall on this position, with Hendricks slowly moving along the fence. Eventually, he breaks free and they are once aagain at range. Hendricks throws a head kick that is blocked. Soon, he goes for another leg kick, but this is a grave mistake, as Hamlet starches him with a hard right cross that has him hurt. Hendricks backs up and suddenly Hamlet opens up with punches in bunches, very badly hurting Hendricks and forcing him to the ground. Hamlet is furiously pounding away from the top, but Hendricks just barely manages to survive and hold on. Hamlet smells blood, though, and goes for an arm-triangle. Hendricks turns away but Hamlet takes his back. Hendricks continues showing a great ability to get up, though, wall-walking back up into the clinch, if more deliberately this time. The furious round ends. 10-8 Hamlet.
Round 2Hendricks decides to stick with his punches this time, and after a wild exchange from both men, with nothing landing solidly, Hamlet slips and falls, but comes back furiously looking to grapple. Yet again, Hamlet is grinding for a takedown in the clinch. It's an interesting strategy, since it's clearly his bread-and-butter, but he had such great success with his strikes in round 1. Hamlet has the better position, with solid head position underneath Hendricks' jaw, but he isn't making progress. Referee Oliver separates them with about 100 seconds elapsed in the round. At range, Hendricks throws a hard head kick that partially gets through, one that Hamlet clearly felt. He responds by again charging forward and clinching. The pace stalls halfway into the round, but Hamlet isn't having as much success grappling this time. Hendricks slowly angles off, looking for an opportunity to spin away, and he manages to do so. Hamlet goes for another of those risky leg kicks, but this one lands. Hamlet charges forward with a punch, but it's too telegraphed and Hendricks dodges. Hamlet does however get yet another clinch, though. Once again, they are in a stalemate and the referee again wisely separates them with 40 seconds left. Hamlet throws a head kick of his own that misses. They come forward with straight punches, all of which miss. Hendricks does score with several head kicks to end the round. Hamlet takes him down at the very end of the stanza, but it's meaningless. A nice comeback for the American. 10-9 Hendricks.
Round 3Hendricks starts the round with a solid right hand that connects. Hamlet runs forward and while telegraphed, scores with a neat right cross connection of his own. It's not long, however, before Hamlet again grinds Hendricks against the cage. With both men feeling fatigue, there is little action against the fence. Hendricks tries to spin away but Hamlet manages to push him ack against the fence. Referee Gasper Oliver is again taking a close look to see whether it should be restarted. They're moving around a fair amount against the cage, but Hamlet is making little progress and no strikes are being thrown. Eventually, with the round almost half over, Oliver breaks them up and has them back at range. Hendricks soon scores with a powerful leg kick that stumbles the Norwegian when he tries to shoot with a double-leg. He then hammers him with punches. Hamlet looks absolutely exhausted as he eats punches and is shockingly forces to his own back. Hendricks even has a good rear-naked choke attempt, but manages to turn over in time. Hendricks continues landing hard ground-and-pound, however, and eventually takes Hamlet's back with both hooks in. After threatening with the submission for a while, he lets go to land some punches to Hamlet's head. It's a smart decision, because Hamlet suffers a defensive lapse and Hendricks locks the rear-naked choke back on, and this time it's very tight indeed. The Norwegian is forced to tap. What an incredible turnaround and comeback for Hendricks after almost being finished in round 1!
The Official ResultCory Hendricks def. Marthin Hamlet via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 4:09 of Round 3
Antonio Carlos Jr. (205) vs. Vinny Magalhaes (204)
Round 1In a battle of two BJJ legends, Antonio Carlos Junior squares off against Vinny Magalhaes. Of course, knowing how these affairs go, it might well be a largely stand-up affair. Looking on is referee Keith Peterson. Magalhaes lands the first strike, a leg kick, and soon adds a second one. Carlos Junior is trying to find his range with a jab, but so far he is unsuccessful. Magalhaes lands a third leg kick. Carlos Junior is starting to sense the range a little better, as subsequent leg kicks miss. Carlos Junior is starting to touch Magalhaes with his punches now, and he is throwing in combinations, not fearing a counter. He frequently ends with a right hook, and he rips one to the body, landing flush. A short while later, he does the same but goes upstairs with the right hook, barely blocked but slightly getting through. Magalhaes goes back to his leg kicks and they land heavily, perhaps because Carlos Junior is too aggressive coming forward. After one of them, Carlos Junior backs up with a slight limp. With 2 minutes elapsed, it's Carlos Junior who is the first to grapple, pushing Magalhaes against the fence and working for the takedown. They are in a stalemate when Carlos Junior throws a knee that lands, hard and accurate, to Magalhaes' nether region. Magalhaes crumples to the canvas in pain and he gets time to recover. Magalhaes is still on the floor when the doctors come in to check on him. They even place a bucket in front of him to throw up into from the nausea of the received blow. As a few minutes have elapsed, Magalhaes is still on his knees on the ground, with no signs of getting up. Indeed, the fight is waved off and we get a very anti-climactic no contest.
The Official ResultAntonio Carlos Junior and Vinny Magalhaes is Ruled a No Contest (Accidental Knee to Groin) at 2:45 of Round 1
Cezar Ferreira (205.4) vs. Chris Camozzi (204.6)
Round 1Fresh off a terrific 37-second knockout victory in his PFL debut last month, long-time UFC veteran Cezar Ferreira (14-8) faces another UFC mainstay in Chris Camozzi (25-15), who had a very close, exciting fight against PFL star Emiliano Sordi on the same card, coming up just short. Keeping them honest will be referee Gary Copeland. Both men start out southpaw and are cautious to start. Ferreira throws a leg kick that is partially checked. Camozzi comes forward with punches but Ferreira easily evades. Ferreira then lands a very hard calf kick that hurts Camozzi. A while later, he lands another one. With Camozzi worried about the striking, Ferreira takes the opportunity to shoot a double-leg, picking up and slamming the American on his back. Ferreira is immediately agressive from the top, giving Camozzi no space and slicing through Camozzi's guard, temporarily gaining mount. Camozzi manages ot regain half-guard, though, and gets on a hip trying to get up. Ferreira is wise to it, though, and blocks him off, gputting him back down solidly on his back. Camozzi pushes off with his legs effectively though, and regains full guard. Ferreira decides to soften him up with a few punches from the top, first landing several to the head and then landing even harder blows to the body. Camozzi closes his guard and decides to strike off his back, but they obviously don't have the same power as the strikes of his opponent. Ferreira continues to work from the top, and lands some hard ground-and-pound with a series of punches to the head, putting his body into them well. Camozzi manages to cover up. A while later, he scrambles to get up but puts his neck at risk, with Ferreira gaining a front headlock and looking for a possible guillotine. Ferreira scores some heavy knees to the shoulders of the downed Camozzi. He eventually gets up. As the round ends, Camozzi charges forward with punches and lands several against Ferreira, who isn't moving his head. Nevertheless, this is clearly the Brazilian's round. 10-9 Ferreira.
Round 2Ferreira lands another hard leg kick to begin the round, but Camozzi counters with punches that partially get through. Out of nowhere, Ferreira lands a pin-point accurate jab that snaps Camozzi's head back. However, the American is game and tough as always, and comes forward with a punch combination that scores. Ferreira looks to grapple but he is less explosive now, and Camozzi shrugs him off. Camozzi then lands a nice left cross and then rips a right hand to the body. This causes the Brazilian to drop his hands and Camozzi takes advantage perfectly, tagging him with several clean shots to the chin, punctuated by a fine left hook, dropping the Brazilian. Camozzi swarms over him, pounding him with blows, but the Brazilian quickly ties him up. Camozzi goes to work in the clinch, landing decent ground-and-pound of his own, alternating between head and body. Ferreira looks hurt and a little exhausted, simply hanging on as he absorbs further damage. Camozzi manages to posture up and land some hard, clean punches every so often, before Ferreira ties him up again. A minute in, Camozzi starts landing a series of short punches, which, while not powerful, are getting through, and adds some hammerfists for good measure. Ferreira simply eats it. He briefly tries an armbar but doesn't even get close to it. Camozzi continues delivering powerful ground-and-pound to end the round. Very dominant, one-sided stanza for the American. 10-8 Camozzi.
Round 3Ferreira continues firing leg kicks, which have some success. However, Camozzi throws a nice punch combination that partially gets through. Ferreira shoots, but Camozzi stuffs him completely and manages to push him over to his back. Ferreira finds a hip, unlike in the previous round, and stands back up. Ferreira loads up on a big overhand left that slightly connects. Camozzi has slowed too, but he splits Ferreira's guard with straight punches and then throws that same effective right hook to the body. After landing a few smaller punches, it's Camozzi's going for the takedown, although Ferreira manages to defend. Both men are now very tired, but it's Camozzi landing a jab. Ferreira counters with a leg kick, and when Camozzi goes for a leg kick, he shoots. However, the American is ready, and after stuffing the takedown, manages to push him over again and end up on top. Now, however, it's questionable if Ferreira has the energy to hip-escape and explode back up. However, after resting on his back for the better part of the round, Ferreira musters his remaining energy to hip-escape back up. That might not have been a good idea, as Camozzi repeatedly peppers him with punch combinations and then chains a series of leg kicks to the end, which land and clearly bother Ferreira. He does this several times, with no retaliation from the Brazilian. With less than a minute left, Ferreira comes forward with an uppercut and clinches, but with no success. A late takedown attempt from Ferreira is also stuffed. Both men thorw punches at the end, but it's Camozzi's straighter, more technical punches that are more successful. Ferreira does land a solid right hook at the end, but it's not enough. 10-9 Camozzi (29-27 Camozzi)
The Official ResultChris Camozzi def. Cezar Ferreira via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
Emiliano Sordi (205) vs. Dan Spohn (205.6)
Round 1Argentinian Emiliano Sordi (23-8), riding a 6 fight winning streak in the PFL, goes to war with Dan Spohn (18-8), who is on a three-fighting losing streak. Referee Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro gets the assignment. Spohn comes out agressively with punches, but Sordi easily evades. Sordi throws a head kick but it's blocked. Sordi comes forward with punches, but none land and Spohn clinches. Spohn then gets a bodylock takedown and seemingly takes Sordi's back immediately with both hooks in. Suddenly, he has a rear-naked choke that seems very tight indeed! However, Sordi guts it out and slowly but steadily Sordi moves his neck away, then stands up, and with Spohn being high, he turns into him and is in top position! Sordi then starts pounding away with punches, a steady diet of short blows that Spohn is doing nothing to defend against. He keeps throwing punches and everything is landing. Spohn makes a brief attempt to get back up, but it's unsuccessful, and Sordi continues punishing him with short punches that seemingly never end. While each individual punch might not be hard, the sheer accumulation is incredible, and the fight stats show that he has landed well over 100 already. Spohn tries to get up, but only succeeds in Sordi taking his back with both hooks in. He continues to pound away mercilessly and Spohn is simply turtling up, doing little to defend. Sordi even looks up at the referee, hoping for a stoppage. Of course, Vitor Ribeiro is an old-school fighter, so nothing is doing. Eventually, in the midst of his barrage, Sordi lands several punches to the back of the head and Ribeiro steps in, separating them. Ribeiro then makes an interesting decision to take one point away for the blows to the back of the head and they restart in the center of the cage. Sordi isn't discouraged and fires an overhand right that lands. Both men exchange tired blows to end the round. Still, Sordi delivered a tremendous amount of damage. It would have been 10-8 if not for the point deduction. 9-8 Sordi.
Round 2They immediately engage to start the round, with Sordi's leg kick being countered by a punch from Spohn, although he is too tired to hurt the Argentinian too badly. In fact, both men look worn out after that insane opening round. Spohn then lands another left cross, connecting flush but again lacking the power to put his opponent down. Sordi comes forward with punches, and while none land, he throws a head kick that catches Spohn dipping down and he is hurt. He desperately tries to clinch but gets shucked off. Sordi then lands a hard right hand that has Spohn on wobbly legs. He tries desperately to defend but Sordi smells blood now, and lands several more hard right hands. However, almost halfway through the round, Spohn grabs Sordi's head and lands several hard uppercuts in the clinch, a fine example of dirty boxing. Eventually, Sordi just pushes Spohn over and starts working with ground-and-pound. However, Sordi then postures up and gives Spohn an opportunity to post up and take Sordi down with a double-leg which he does. Spohn then continues to advance position and takes Sordi's back, again working for the rear-naked choke. However, he is too high and falls off, with Sordi again in top position! So many twists and turns to this contest! Sordi goes back to what worked in the first round, scoring again and again with ground-and-pound. However, Spohn eventually turns into him, and after a while, he is once again in top position! Sordi tries to wall-walk but gives up his back. Sordi gets to his feet but Spohn is holding on, lanidng punches. With less than 10 seconds left, Sordi spins for a heel hook of all things! What an absolutely insane round! Very difficult to score, but I think Sordi's damage overall won out. 10-9 Sordi.
Round 3Spohn comes forward with punches, but his overhand left is wide and clumsy, not helped by being utterly exhausted. Sordi reaches forward, but it's too slow, and Spohn counters with a straight left. Sordi throws another very slow, telegraphed, left hook which only hits air. Spohn lands a right jab to the stomach a short while later. Spohn goes for a leg kick, but unfortunately, hits Sordi in the groin instead. After a short respite, they restart and Sordi lands a leg kick of his own, this one legal. Spohn comes forward with punches, but it's slow and blocked. Sordi comes forward but he is so tired he is only able to throw one slow punch at a time and Spohn keeps ducking out of the way. Sordi has some success with a right uppercut, however, which Spohn doesn't avoid. With half a round left, both men look like they're struggling to even stand. Spohn throws punches, but they are utterly bereft of any strength now. Sordi looks to be slightly fresher and lands slightly better strikes in the clinch. A while later, he lands a solid body kick, perhaps the best strike of the round, which Spohn tries to take him down from, but he has no energy to complete it. Another body kick is caught by Spohn, who briefly kicks Sordi's other leg out. Spohn throws a 1-2 with the left cross landing, but again, lacking any and all power. Sordi ducks his head down but gets hit with an overhand left. It might have dropped him if it had come earlier in the fight. Sordi tries to wrestle, grabbing Spohn's leg, but of course, has no energy for it. The highly entertaining, utterly wild bout comes to an end. 10-9 Spohn (28-27 Sordi)
The Official ResultEmiliano Sordi and Dan Spohn fight to a Unanimous Draw (28-28, 28-28, 28-28)
Ray Cooper III (171.8: Missed Weight) vs. Nikolay Aleksakhin (169)
Round 1In the co-main event, top PFL star Ray Cooper III (21-7-1) came in overweight and is facing tough Russian veteran Nikolay Aleksakhin (24-5), who is surprisingly a significant betting favorite. Keeping order in the cage will be referee Gasper Oliver. They start out energetically, with Aleksakhin trying to get a sense of the distance with a few jabs. However, it's Cooper whose jabs are more effective, several touching the Russian and getting his attention. After they close the distance and Aleksakhin goes for a knee to the body, Cooper shoots in for a takedown. However, Aleksakhin defends and then counters with a beautiful judo hip-toss. Cooper scrambles back up quickly though and suddenly lands a big left hook that has Aleksakhin moderately wobbly. However, he is too aggressive in coming forward and Aleksakhin manages to clinch with him and recover. The pace slows as they battle against the cage, Cooper looking for a takedown. However, Aleksakhin is strong and counters each attempt. They disengage and Cooper very nearly lands another huge left hook, one the Russian just barely avoids. Aleksakhin tries a leg kick, but Cooper counters with a right hook into a left hook that partially lands and bizarrely, goes back to the clinch. Aleksakhin hits him with a right cross on the break. Aleksakhin tries a few jabs, but they are largely ineffective, and only increase the chances of him being countered. Cooper keeps throwing big hooks, but they are a little more predictable, as Aleksakhin avoids them. Aleksakhin lands a solid right cross of his own. Cooper comes forward with another flurry of powerful hooks, which are partially blocked, despite the excitement of the commentators, and they are back to the clinch. Cooper goes for a leg, but Aleksakhin wrenches it out and circles away. Cooper comes forward but he is being sloppy now, being hit with a right cross and a knee. He counters with a left hook, but it doesn't have the same sting. Close round, and it will be interesting to see how Ray Cooper's stamina holds up. 10-9 Cooper III.
Round 2Cooper throws a few hard jabs to start the round, but none land. Aleksakhin misses a few jabs of his own but scores with a nice front kick to the body, which will help reduce Cooper's energy even lower. Both men are a little more cautious now. Aleksakhin is throwing jabs and front kicks to the body, and having success with the latter. Cooper keeps coming forward but isn't throwing the same powerful hooks anymore. Aleksakhin is circling well and Cooper ends up just pursuing them. Aleksakhin is starting to have some success with the jab. Cooper has some success with the jab, but his attempts to follow it up with the left hook only hit air. A short while later, Aleksakhin lands an uppercut and a left hook that lands cleanly. Cooper eats it. Coming forward, Cooper lands a pretty jab that snaps Aleksakhin's head back. Finally, with Cooper coming forward, Aleksakhin decides to clinch and is now the one pushing Cooper against the fence. Cooper gets deeper position, and turns the Russian around into the fence. Aleksakhin lands a knee to the body as Cooper decides to grind for a takedown. The pace slows as four minutes have elapsed in the round. Eventually, Cooper makes a move, throwing Aleksakhin onto his knees, but he is unable to finish the takedown. Cooper holds on as the round ends, throwing an occasional knee to his opponent's thighs. Another very close round, but this time I give it to Aleksakhin, who landed the better, harder strikes. 10-9 Aleksakhin.
Round 3Aleksakhin is fresher to begin the round and lands a few jabs to start the stanza, ones that were being evaded earlier in the contest. Cooper comes forward but is throwing little of consequence. An attempt to clinch is easily shrugged off by Aleksakhin now. As Cooper comes forward, Aleksakhin lands a series of very hard knees to his head from the Thai clinch. However, it allows Cooper to get deep position and finish with a double-leg pick-up and slam. Aleksakhin immediately gets to his knees and tries to get back up, although Cooper is holding on tightly to his back. They reach a stalemate of sorts, as Aleksakhin is unable to stand up, but Coopre is doing little except hanging on. Eventually, Aleksakhin posts up with his hands and stands back up, although Cooper still has a bodylock from behind. Aleksakhin desperately fights the lock around his waist, but Cooper hangs on for dear life and lands several knees to his body. Finally, Aleksakhin spins around to face Cooper they grapple. Cooper very nearly gets a single-leg pick-up and slam, but the Russian resists. A short while later, he finally disengages. Both men are very tired now and don't throw much, despite there being 30 seconds left. With a few seconds left, Aleksakhin shoots for a takedown and is stuffed. Yet another close stanza. 10-9 Cooper III (29-28 Cooper III)
The Official ResultRay Cooper III def. Nikolay Aleksakhin via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Rory MacDonald (171) vs. Gleison Tibau (170.6)
Round 1In the main event of the evening, former top UFC star and former Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald (22-6-1) meets with Gleison Tibau (35-15), who came up short against Joao Zeferino in his PFL debut last month. Getting the final assigment will be referee Keith Peterson. MacDonald comes out pumping his jab, touching Tibau. Tibau comes back with a 1-2 of his own, but it's easily avoided. Tibau is opening up with big right power shots and he gets close, albeit without success. MacDonald fakes a shot to keep Tibau guessing and is gaining a sense of the distance. MacDonald lands a nice front kick to the body. Tibau comes forward, but his overhand left misses. MacDonald is working well from range, and he throws a head kick to punctuate his normal punches. Tibau is throwing solid punches, but he is out of range, especially with MacDonald moving swiftly across the cage. Tibau comes forward with punches, but MacDonald's outstretched hand ends up poking him very hard in the eyes and Tibau immediately yells in pain. Halfway through the round and the doctor is examining Tibau closely now. However, Tibau has no desire to have the fight stopped and assures the doctors he is okay, although there is visible redness and irritation over his right eye. Tibau is aggressive when they resume, throwing a 1-2 that barely misses. MacDonald goes in on a single-leg, but Tibau peppers him with short punches and the Canadian is forced to disengage. However, MacDonald is able to push Tibau back against the fence. Eventually though, Tibau disengages. MacDonald then scores with another nice front kick to the body, and then hits it again a short while later. MacDonald senses an opening, though, trying to clinch, and as Tibau sprawls, MacDonald smoothly takes his back with both hooks in. MacDonald climbs onto Tibau's back and threatens with a rear-naked choke. Tibau is very tough, though, and guts it out, with MacDonald eventually sliding off. An entertaining and varied first round. 10-9 MacDonald.
Round 2As soon as the round begins, MacDonald charges forward, pushing Tibau down, and again manages to attack his neck. Tibau stailizes against the fence, however, and gets back to his feet, although MacDonald continues grinding for a takedown. He almost gets it with a bodylock, but then Tibau regains his feet and pushes the Canadian off. At range, Tibau throws a few punches, but they're slower and weaker than they were in the first round. Surprisingly, MacDonald is looking to grapple, going for the same pushing technique that worked earlier, but Tibau is ready now, easily pushing him off. A while later, MacDonald lands a solid head kick that hurts Tibau, but the Brazilian recovers surprisingly quickly, showing a very hard chin. They're boxing, and Tibau ducks under a MacDonald right hook to land an uppercut, his best strike of the round. MacDonald goes back to the head kick, but it's blocked this time. MacDonald has some success working his jab, but isn't able to follow it up with anything harder. The pace slows with about 2 minutes left in the round, with the Canadian occasionally pot-shoting the Brazilian with his jab. MacDonald goes for another clinch with a minute left, but is stuffed again. He continues throwing the jab as Tibau has become largely passive. MacDonald throws another head kick that partially gets through now and appears to hurt Tibau's eye. Tibau finally throws some big power punches, but they miss. A follow-up hook, however, does land. A closer round than expected. 10-9 MacDonald.
Round 3MacDonald is cautious to begin this round, still tentative with his jab and throwing out a head kick that is blocked. He continues circling, but neither fighter is engaging too much. MacDonald lands a leg kick. Tibau goes upstairs with an overhand left, but MacDonald ducks under it neatly. Tibau tries a head kick of his own, but it's blocked soundly. Tibau is evading MacDonald's jabs a little more now, though. MacDonald shoots for a takedown but it's stuffed with the greatest of ease. Two minutes in, and very little of note has happened in the round, with both men defending against their opponent's techniques. Tibau comes forward with hooks, but they are about a foot off the mark. He tries to counter a MacDonald head kick with a hook, but while closer, this one misses, too. With about 2 minutes left, MacDonald once again stretches out his hand and pokes Tibau's eyes. This should absolutely be a point deduction, but Keith Peterson simply allos them to restart. Tibau comes forward with hooks which are avoided. MacDonald changes levels to shoot, but Tibau sprawls just in time and they resume back on their feet. MacDonald is still circling around the cage. MacDonald throws a right cross that touches Tibau, one of the few times he has thrown his dominant hand. MacDonald throws a 1-2 and Tibau counters with a left hook that is only partially blocked. As the round ends, MacDonald is simply biding his time. Tibau throws a body kick that is blocked. A very, very close round, surprisingly enough. While I have MacDonald winning, this performance was far from impressive. 10-9 MacDonald (30-27 MacDonald)
The Official ResultGleison Tibau def. Rory MacDonald via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
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