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PFL 7 2022 Playoffs Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring

The 2022 Professional Fighters League Playoffs commence Friday at 6 p.m. ET.

Check out the MMA Forums to discuss the card or enter your comments and predictions below.

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2023 PFL Season Qualifier:
Cory Hendricks (204.6) vs. Marthin Hamlet (206)

Round 1

The PFL playoffs are here, and the company built a card around them that contains both prelims – a pair of qualifiers for next year’s season – and the dreaded postlims. Before we get to the latter, six solid fights take the stage. The night begins with a qualifying contest at 205 pounds for a pair of fighters that failed to make the semifinals, in Syndicate MMA’s Hendricks (9-4, 3-1 PFL) and powerful Norwegian Hamlet (9-4, 3-3 PFL). The first assignment of the evening – a rematch, as these two battled last year and Hendricks notched a submission – goes to referee Kevin MacDonald, and the fighters touch gloves to seal the cage around them and begin the evening’s hostilities. Hendricks pushes off with a front kick as Hamlet advances immediately, and Hamlet swarms him with a looping right hand. Hendricks ducks a few additional punches to pursue a double-leg takedown, and he plants Hamlet on his back. The fighter from Norway explodes upright, and he turns the tables to trip Hendricks out and ground Hendricks. The American stays composed, hitting a quick switch and flipping Hamlet over. Hamlet does not wish to stay on his back, and he bursts back to his feet once more. Hamlet remains pinned to his opponent, hammering knees to the body while holding Hendricks tightly against the wire. Hendricks responds with a knee and tries to spin out, but Hamlet is strong and hangs on. This prolonged clinch period continues with Hamlet using heavy shoulder pressure, and he stalls out in this position. Hamlet changes levels, but the attempt is stuffed before it can materialize. Hendricks knees the midsection and tries to push off with his elbow, but Hamlet is stuck to him like he was smeared with Krazy Glue. Although he secures double underhooks, he cannot leverage for a takedown, and they continue to jockey for position. Hamlet rips a right hand on the nose and pushes his man across the cage, only to back off when the 10-second clapper sounds. There is no aggression from either in this period, as they stand at one another and look with their hands in the air, expecting something that never comes. The grueling round concludes.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Hamlet
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Hamlet
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Hamlet

Round 2

The light heavyweights touch ‘em up to start off the second round, and Hamlet comes out throwing a big one-two. Hendricks stays on his bike, with a few front kicks, and just like the beginning of the last round, a looping right hand from Hamlet bops Hendricks on the nose and turns him about. Blood flows quickly out of the nostrils from the American, and Hamlet capitalizes on this by setting up a double and slamming Hendricks to the mat. Hamlet lands in side control, and he looks to slide over into mount while hanging on with his right shoulder pressed on Hendricks’ face. The blood is making breathing difficult for Hendricks on his back, who coughs out a spray of crimson droplets while Hamlet shifts over to half guard to keep Hendricks flat. Hamlet grinds and keeps positional control without utilizing many strikes, and he ponders an arm-triangle choke but cannot secure anything due to the slippery blood all over Hendricks’ face and neck. Hendricks worms his way back to the fence, and when Hamlet pulls him back, Hendricks grabs the fence in hopes of turning around – MacDonald is on him and admonishes him for this. Hendricks does recover his full guard while getting smothered, and he staves off guard passes until Hamlet steps over again. Hamlet stacks him up, and this draws a double wrist lock setup from Hendricks off his back. In the ensuing exchange, Hamlet tries to isolate another arm-triangle, and Hendricks is wise to it and stops it from getting anywhere close. Hamlet remains in this position of half guard to ride out the less-than-stellar round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Hamlet
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Hamlet
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Hamlet

Round 3

There is a final glove touch to open the final round, and Hendricks is a little more urgent with his initial strikes. A high kick and a few punches make Hamlet take a step back, but Hamlet crashes forward to push the American on the fencing. Hamlet gets his arms clasped around Hendricks’ waist, and his grip is tight enough to shut any possible offense down from Hendricks. MacDonald issues a warning for more action, and Hamlet looks for a single-leg takedown in response. Hendricks stops it from succeeding, and he gains a little space despite still being tied up to knee Hamlet in the face. Hamlet doggedly continues his forward movement until he sets his foe calmly on the ground. Hamlet moves to half guard as Hendricks grabs the fence once more, and when he lets go, Hamlet shifts to side control. Hendricks scrambles with all his might to get back to his feet, and he keeps Hamlet’s right wrist isolated to threaten with a kimura sweep or otherwise stop Hamlet from grounding him once more. Hamlet still uses his full body weight to push Hendricks over, and he plops on top in the half guard. Hendricks turns to a knee in hopes of standing, and he slips out and stands up thanks to the blood and sweat on his upper chest. Hamlet does not let up with his grinding approach, pushing Hendricks back to the wall and taking his foe’s back standing. Hendricks again goes for the right arm to look for a throw with that kimura, and Hamlet fights it off and does not go down. Hendricks just misses with a huge uppercut when they gain a modicum of space, but Hamlet drops down for a single. Hamlet gets a takedown reversed, and suddenly Hendricks is ready to attack. Hendricks slams Hamlet on his face, and Hamlet’s nose smashes open as blood practically explodes from his face. Hendricks gives it all he has to try to put Hamlet away, pounding on him with hammerfists and punches, but Hamlet makes it to the final bell. With that, this qualifier match is in the books.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Hendricks (29-28 Hamlet)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Hendricks (29-28 Hamlet)
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Hendricks (29-28 Hamlet)

The Result

Marthin Hamlet def. Cory Hendricks via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

2022 PFL 7 Swing Bout:
Mahmoud Sebie Fawzy (170.8) vs. Itso Babulaidze (170.8)

Round 1

This matchup at 170 pounds is an odd one, because it will serve as a swing bout – this means it might be slotted in during the prelims, main card or even at the tail end of the night. As it were, it takes the place of the second fight of the night. Sebie (3-1, 0-0 PFL) and Babulaidze (1-0, 0-0 PFL) were prepared to step up and fill a void on the broadcast when needed. They will receive oversight from referee Bryan Miner, who watches as they do not touch gloves, and away they go. Sebie gets pushed back with a few kicks, and he goes up high with a kick that Babulaidze blocks just in the nick of time. As Babulaidze pushes out a jab, Sebie quickly changes levels and puts the fighter out of Georgia on his back. Babulaidze stands back up fearlessly, even as Sebie circles around to take his back. Babulaidze lowers himself back to the mat, and when Sebie hunts for a choke or a body lock, Babulaidze spins around to take top position. Sebie rolls all the way through to allow them both to stand back up, and when upright, Sebie tosses out a kick. A flying strike attempt from Sebie is countered over the top before it can materialize, and Sebie pushes in to clinch. Sebie manages to push Babulaidze over, but he cannot take top position before the Georgian springs back up. Sebie wings looping punches, and he cracks his foe with a left hand as Babulaidze is backed up against the wall. Babulaidze unloads with a big right hand that shakes up Sebie for a moment, and Sebie responds with a body kick. Babulaidze attempts a takedown, and when that fails, they start swinging heavy leather. Babulaidze ducks a couple haymakers to secure a double, planting the “Prince of Egypt” on his seat. After hanging on with little additional offense, Babulaidze gets pushed back and Sebie jumps to his feet. Sebie then sells out for his own takedown, and they jockey for position wildly against the fence. Babulaidze ducks a swinging punch and takes a step back, and they take a moment to catch their respective breaths. Sebie’s punches appear labored and his hands are lower, and a Babulaidze kick compromises Sebie. Seeing that Sebie is not reacting well to strikes anymore, Babulaidze dips down and blasts the Egyptian on the chin with a blistering uppercut. Sebie’s legs abandon him completely like the nose of the Sphinx as he crumbles, and Babulaidze is not about to let him off the hook. Babulaidze leaps on top and slugs his man in the face with a few jackhammering left hands until Miner steps in to rescue Sebie from further damage. That seals the deal for Babulaidze, who remains undefeated and one to watch in the Challenger Series next year.

The Result

Itso Babulaidze def. Mahmoud Sebie Fawzy R1 4:30 via TKO (Punches)

Light Heavyweight PFL Semifinal Playoffs:
Rob Wilkinson (205.8) vs. Delan Monte (205.2)

Round 1

In the combined 24 wins for these two light heavyweight semifinalists, they have recorded exactly one decision. Australia’s Wilkinson (15-2, 2-0 PFL) is the one to do this, snagging a win on the scorecards all the way back in 2013. Unlike “Razor Rob,” Monte (9-2, 1-1 PFL) has yet reach the 12-minute mark of a pro MMA fight. The first playoff bout of the 2022 PFL season is about to be a wild one, and referee Bryan Miner is geared up but the medical staff is not. There is no ambulance nor the appropriate doctors in the building, so the fight cannot begin. The fighters pace in their corners awkwardly, and Miner tries to keep them in their corners and not thinking about engaging. Both Wilkinson and Monte have to wait inside the cage, getting cold, and this is a problem for both competitors who warmed up right before competing. The first fight starts at 7:17 p.m. ET thanks to this delay -- a proper one, given that safety is paramount -- and they are finally able to go and touch gloves. Monte comes out swinging, clearly ready to put an end to this, and Wilkinson is smart and fights long to knock Monte back with a few punches. The Brazilian jabs his way in and lobs a right hand over the top, and he cracks Wilkinson with another to knock Wilkinson all the way back to the fence. Wilkinson responds with several flush knees up the middle, but Monte is a man possessed, winging power punches until tying Wilkinson up. Wilkinson welcomes this so that he can turn the shorter man around, and he pushes Monte down to his knees before letting him up to knee him in the face. They get back to striking range, and Monte catches his man flush with a huge right hand. Wilkinson chomps down on his gumshield and hurls ferocious punches right back, and his fists and a nasty knee catch Monte right on the chin and send him flying backwards. Monte’s arms and legs stiffen up as he crashes to the ground, and Miner deftly recognizes this and jumps in while Wilkinson looks on from above. What a way to punch his ticket to finals, recording a fantastic knockout and placing himself one win away from $1 million.

The Result

Robert Wilkinson def. Delan Monte R1 1:37 via KO (Punches and Knee)

Lightweight PFL Semifinal Playoffs:
Olivier Aubin-Mercier (155) vs. Alex Martinez (156)

Round 1

Unlike the 205-pound tilt that preceded this contest, these two lightweights are far more familiar with the judges, as they sport identical 60% finish rates. Since departing from the UFC, “The Canadian Gangster” Aubin-Mercier (15-5, 4-0 PFL) has done nothing but win, while beating both former lightweight champs on his way up. He will take on 2021 playoff participant Martinez (10-2, 1 NC; 3-2 PFL), who also won out this year as he worked his way through the season. The first person to know the first lightweight finalist will be referee Kevin MacDonald, and it will get settled right after they touch gloves. As Aubin-Mercier plods forward to lead the dance, Martinez stays on the outside and picks at him with a few leg kicks. Martinez ducks a looping right hand so that he can stomp a kick to the knee, and Aubin-Mercier crashes the pocket and considers a body lock takedown. Martinez fights out of it with everything he has, not interested in getting tied up by the Canadian, and he gets off a pair of solid punches to back “OAM” off. Aubin-Mercier drops to a knee to punch the body, and he rises up with a right hand over the top to surprise his opponent. Martinez shakes it off and returns fire with a high kick, and when that gets blocked, he scores a right hand down the pipe. Aubin-Mercier connects with a big pair of punches that stagger Martinez for the briefest of moments, and Martinez shakes off the cobwebs and continues moving forward with kicks high and low. Aubin-Mercier slips a punch to fire off an overhand right, and Martinez welcomes him with two swiping hooks to answer back. A kick from Martinez slaps off the body just above the cup, and Aubin-Mercier replies in kind. Martinez stays busy with low kicks, and Aubin-Mercier bites down on his mouthpiece to throw hands. He clips Martinez with a left as Martinez is off-balance, but the Paraguayan fighter gathers his thoughts and whips a high kick that misses the mark. When the subsequent punches from Martinez do not connect, he steps in with a knee that glances off the body. Aubin-Mercier slides back and lines up a pair of punches, and he hops away from two side-high kicks. Aubin-Mercier comes forward and gets an uppercut in the mouth for his efforts, but he still manages to grip his opponent and turn him around to the fencing. Martinez sneaks in a few short knees and punches while tied up, but Aubin-Mercier spins him around and does the same. Martinez breaks away and pushes off with two side kicks, and Aubin-Mercier holds his guard up high. Martinez sprints forward, only to get popped with a counter, and the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Aubin-Mercier
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Aubin-Mercier
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Aubin-Mercier

Round 2

They touch hands to start the second frame, and the gameplan of Martinez resumes again with a few kicks to the lead leg. Aubin-Mercier starts gunslinging, throwing huge punches that shock Martinez early. A monster left hand from the Canadian sets Martinez down on his seat, and Aubin-Mercier gives chase and looks to do some damage. Martinez threatens with an armbar off his back, but “OAM” slides his arm out and circles around to take Martinez’ back in a quick maneuver. Aubin-Mercier secures the body triangle first before fishing for chokes, and he stretches Martinez’ body out with the body lock. Martinez fights the hands to not let a choke come together, but the body lock is crushing on his midsection under his ribcage. Martinez gets away with fence grabs to improve his position slightly, shifting himself to keep his side to the wall so that the leverage of a choke cannot get set up. Martinez sits up, forcing Aubin-Mercier to put his back to the wall, and Aubin-Mercier latches on to a modified rear-naked choke to make Martinez briefly struggle. The choke attempts are never fully locked in but constantly being fished for, and Martinez looks to break the leg grip when not concerned about chokes. Happy to continue playing the role of the dangerous backpack, Aubin-Mercier clings to his man and frustrates Martinez with back control. The round ends in this position.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Aubin-Mercier
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-8 Aubin-Mercier
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-8 Aubin-Mercier

Round 3

Martinez has no interest in a glove touch in the last round, pushing his left hand out to establish his range instead. Aubin-Mercier meets him with a few short punches, and he looses a head kick that wobbles the Paraguay native. “The Canadian Gangster” slips a punch to smash Martinez in the face with a left hand, and Martinez collapses. Aubin-Mercier darts forward to initiate a controlling posture, and he assumes it by claiming Martinez’ back in a hurry and locking down the body triangle again. Martinez is solely focused on fighting the hands to break up chokes, as he slowly gets his wits about him again. As Martinez moves to one side in hopes of breaking the body lock, Aubin-Mercier hooks it up on the other side. Martinez bucks and turns, but the legs around his waist are going nowhere. Aubin-Mercier starts softening his man up with punches, and they continue to hand-fight. Aubin-Mercier moves his body lock from side to side when Martinez turns to the proper side to disengage it, frustrating his foe and not giving him one moment to breathe. Martinez twists and punches behind his own head to little effect, but he is able to stop the rear-naked choke setups from the Canadian. Martinez turns to his own knees, even with Aubin-Mercier on his back, but nothing comes of it as he falls back over. This dominant back control from Aubin-Mercier puts a close to the fight, and they congratulate one another on their knees after 15 minutes of combat. Barring something unconscionable, “OAM” is the first lightweight finalist and probably the man to beat at 155 pounds in the championship show.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Aubin-Mercier (30-25 Aubin-Mercier)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-8 Aubin-Mercier (30-25 Aubin-Mercier)
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-8 Aubin-Mercier (30-25 Aubin-Mercier)

The Result

Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Alex Martinez via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)

Light Heavyweight PFL Semifinal Playoffs:
Omari Akhmedov (204.6) vs. Joshua Silveira (206)

Round 1

Stablemates toe the line in this last light heavyweight semifinal, and it will be a rare situation for Akhmedov (23-7-1, 2-1 PFL) without “Conan” Silveira in his corner. The renowned coach will instead be fittingly working his son’s corner, Silveira (9-0, 2-0 PFL), who is looking to make good after a single shot in the 2022 season after his victory on the Challenger Series. Violence is on the menu, and referee Kerry Hatley will be the maître d’ for these two hard-swinging diners. Blood may be the featured condiment of their 205-pound meal, and the winner will be one fight away from easily picking up the check with a million-dollar purse on the line. Their utensils fists and feet; the former are touched before the teammates begin their dining experience. Silveira throw first with a kick to the body, and Akhmedov responds with a thudding one in the inside of his foe’s leg. Silveira paws out his right hand and wipes his heels on the floor to get a better grip. Akhmedov spins with a back kick, only to fall over when it misses, and Silveira lets him right back up. Akhmedov thanks him with an emphatic body kick, and Silveira replies in kind. Akhmedov goes wide with two punches, and he has his ribs slapped with the shin of his opponent. Chants for “U.S.A.” rain down for Silveira, but the careful pace does not speed up. Akhmedov marks the body with a straight right hand, and Silveira flails with two straight-ish punches up top. The one-two from Silveira is frantic and not landing effectively, and Akhmedov pounds the ribs with two loud kicks. Akhmedov clips his man with a straight left hand as Silveira was changing levels, and he follows it with an overhand right that Silveira just blocks in time. They reset in the center of the cage, and Silveira paws out with a front kick with his toes extended. The Russian replies with a slamming body kick, and he takes one on the chin to wing a right hand that smashes into Silveira’s undefended jaw. Silveira takes it flush and his hair blows back, but he steels himself and pushes out a left hand right on the beard of his training partner. Akhmedov marches in to throw a big right hand, and as he does, Silveira ducks it and shoots to hit a double. The Russian hits his back for a second, before scrambling right back to his feet and away from the cage. Akhmedov bears down on his opponent with punches, and Silveira again changes levels to duck the oncoming blows. Akhmedov settles to push Silveira up against the wall, and he lifts up a couple short knees. Silveira does the same, and the round ends while they are tied up.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Akhmedov
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Akhmedov
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Akhmedov

Round 2

The second round kicks off with a proper touch of gloves, and Akhmedov stalks his prey early with a trio of winging punches. Silveira comes back firing with a short salvo of punches, more content to touch while Akhmedov is swinging for the fences. Akhmedov fakes for a telegraphed punch, and he draws a takedown shot out of the younger Silveira. Akhmedov cannot defend against it and gets set down, but he does work his way back up quickly. As Akhmedov throws a haymaker, Silveira once more counters it with a takedown entry, and this time he hits a Russian brick wall and cannot put him down. Akhmedov calmly kicks the body and punches to the midsection as well, and Silveira just darts out of the way when a right hand zoomed at his torso. Akhmedov keeps chambering and firing overhand rights, and they are coming slower and Silveira appears to be picking up on them as he does not take them on the chin. They trade low kicks, and Akhmedov catches Silveira with a left when the unbeaten fighter attempted to throw a body kick. Another Silveira kick to the side misses the mark by inches, so he makes sure to make the second one count to the breadbasket. With Akhmedov’s offense dropping down to very little, Silveira is comfortable to pepper him with kicks to the body and one up top. Akhmedov appears irritated by this, and he slugs Silveira in the face with a right hook. The Russian pulls back but does not fire a right, instead stopping a takedown and putting Silveira on his knees – although he does grab the fence to help him keep his balance. Akhmedov winds up with a huge leg kick that buckles Silveira’s knee, and Silveira winces and switches stances. A brief staring contest concludes the frame.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Akhmedov
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Akhmedov
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Akhmedov

Round 3

There is a high-five to start off the last round, Akhmedov plods forward and kicks the side. Akhmedov targets the body with impunity, punching and kicking it as Silveira bounces off the wall. Silveira’s pace slows as Akhmedov continues to kick and punch the body, and a few strikes from the Russian prompt Silveira into action. Silveira scores a right hand over the top and a head kick that slams into the guard, and Akhmedov walks through it to keep Silveira on his back foot. A body shot from Akhmedov bends his man over briefly, and he pounds the inside of Silveira’s leg to follow. Akhmedov wings a right hand that glances off the cheek, and he gets tagged with a quick one-two. Silveira reaches the target with a left hand, only to have his body kicked and spin around from a punch that soars at his dome. Akhmedov ducks down and jabs the body with a left, and Silveira again physically reacts to absorbing the blow. Akhmedov slowly comes at the undefeated fighter, tossing out the occasional overhand right that does not have the same zip on it, and unconcerned about anything that comes back at him. They clack shins when kicking at the same time, and Silveira winces and backs off. Akhmedov stays busy with punches up top, and Silveira gets intercepted when firing back. Akhmedov nearly has his leg kicked out from a quick strike from his foe, and Silveira charges in for a double. When that fails, Silveira changes to a double, and the Russian stuffs this as well. Silveira decides to put all of his energy into one last maneuver, and he scoops “Wolverine” up and slams him to the mat. The bell sounds shortly after they hit the ground, and when the fight concludes, Akhmedov raises his arms in the air to celebrate his likely victory to place him in the finals against Rob Wilkinson. That battle of UFC vets should be a fun one for the championship.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Akhmedov (30-27 Akhmedov)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Silveira (29-28 Akhmedov)
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Akhmedov (30-27 Akhmedov)

The Result

Omari Akhmedov def. Josh Silveira via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Lightweight PFL Semifinal Playoffs:
Anthony Pettis (155.6) vs. Steven Ray (155.8)

Round 1

Exactly six weeks ago, Pettis (25-13, 1-3 PFL) and Ray (24-10, 1-1 PFL) met in the co-main event of PFL 5, and Ray pulled off a modified twister with his body triangle crushing Pettis’ ribs to force a tap. The rematch, thanks to playoff seeding, is coming far sooner than expected, and it remains to be seen if either man has developed anything new since they last collided. Normally, this main event would be the final fight of the night, but several more bouts loom on the horizon tonight even after the marquee attraction is in the books. Referee Bryan Miner is on the call for this last matchup on the main card. Gloves are tensely touched ahead of the action, and Ray calmly scoops out a low kick. This prompts a snappy right hand down the pipe from Pettis, who follows it with a high kick that pegs the guard of his foe. Ray chips at Pettis’ lead leg a few more times, and he sneaks in a left hand when Pettis is distracted by them. Pettis stops an awkward takedown attempt from his foe and turns Ray right into the wall, and they stall out in this position. Pettis pulls his arms out of the tie-up to break away, and they reset in the middle of the cage. “Showtime” rips the body with a kick, and Ray is right there to respond with a leg kick. Ray wings a left hand that bounces off the guard, and one that follows dings Pettis. Pettis slings back with a straight right, and he hops away as Ray counters. Ray’s leg kicks continue to find their home, and he keeps his guard high enough to block other kicks from his foe. Pettis slips one kick beneath the guard to the ribs, and it slaps hard as fans groan in the building from the impact. Pettis snipes with a left hand, forcing a level change from “Braveheart.” Ray clasps his hands together, elevates Pettis and slams him down to the ground. Pettis lands, pinned with his back against the fencing and disallowing his offensive guard from getting started. Ray slithers over to side control, free from a triangle or anything else nasty Pettis could set up, and he starts grinding while wishing he could drop down elbows. Pettis gets popped with a hammerfist as Ray looks to pass to mount, and Pettis pulls him back to side control. Ray shifts over to lock down an arm-triangle choke from the side, and he transitions to north-south position and moves to lock in the north-south choke as well. Pettis punches the side of the head as Ray keeps heavy shoulder pressure with the choke fairly tight, but Pettis keeps his face on the armpit so the choke is not going to put him away. Pettis explodes back to his feet with seconds to spare, and he wings a high kick right before the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ray
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Ray
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Ray

Round 2

The lightweight rivals bump fists to begin the second round, and Pettis leans back when a head kick comes at him early on. Pettis dips down to throw a right to the body, and he sneaks his own high kick over the top that bangs into the Scot’s head. Ray wobbles and pursues a clinch to get his bearings, but Pettis frees himself before long. Pettis again pays no mind to a head kick that comes his direction, and he pierces the guard with a left hand. Ray responds with his own straight left before powering into a clinch, and he hunts for a hip toss that Pettis thwarts by posting off his right arm. “Showtime” escapes out the backdoor and kicks Ray in the ribs, but Ray bullies his way through it to drag Pettis to the mat. Pettis stands, but as he does, Ray secures his back and sets up a body lock. Memories of their last fight flood through their heads, and Ray turns to set up the exact same maneuver as he tightens the body triangle and turn to one side. Pettis fights the hands and pushes on Ray’s left leg to stop the maneuver, and he uses his feet to kick off and not let Ray lock him up. “Braveheart” continues to threaten with the modified twister setup, hoping that Pettis will turn one specific direction so that he can hook the legs and crank the spine. Pettis punches behind his head, and Ray softens him up as well, as they trade shots. Pettis avoids a rear-naked choke try and turns to one side to get out of the body lock, and he succeeds in breaking the grip around his waist. The American pushes off one second before the bell, as Ray let him go knowing the round was about over and that he did not want to burn himself up.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ray
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Ray
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Ray

Round 3

There is a final glove touch between the main event fighters, and Pettis marches forward and slugs Ray in the face with several fast fists. Pettis whiffs on a head kick, and Ray settles for a low kick. Pettis intercepts a punch to plant the ball of his foot on Ray’s face, and Ray reels and tries to grab onto Pettis but cannot reach him. Pettis resets, and the strikes have gotten Ray to start touching his nose to assess the damage. This lets Pettis slam him in the ribs with his shin, and Ray’s low kicks still come but have far less impact on them. Pettis fakes a Superman punch, jumping forward with a right and a head kick on the opposite side. Ray punches his way into a takedown effort, and the crowd lets Ray have it for his approach. Pettis stabs his toes to the liver and misses by a matter of centimeters, and he springs back from a low kick only to get countered with a left on the outside. Ray leaps forward to engage, and Pettis snipes him with a body kick and a left hand as he circles out. Pettis lets rip a right hand that splits the guard, and he ignores a few punches from Ray so that he can line up counters and push kicks to the body. They both trade hands briefly, and Pettis slips a punch and marks Ray up. Ray ducks in for a single, and Pettis staves this off but gets mashed up against the wall, losing precious seconds of the clock. Ray gets his grip around the waist, and he tries to lift Pettis up in the air but does not have the juice. Ray hangs on with his leg tied up with Pettis’ to slow “Showtime” down and keep himself from being on the gunnery range. Ray moves to the back before going after a double, and when that fails, Pettis separates and lets fly a front kick. Pettis kicks low and knocks Ray down, and when Ray rolls backwards and stands up, Pettis leaps after him with a flying knee. Pettis does not give chase, instead allowing Ray to poke him with a few kicks. The bell sounds, and Ray raises his arms in the air, confident that he has beaten former UFC champ twice in the span of two months. Just like the light heavyweights, the lightweight final will be a matchup of former UFC fighters – although it would have been that regardless of the victor here – and Ray vs. Aubin-Mercier could be an intriguing strategic matchup that happens to have one million dollars on the line. This would normally be where we would sign off, but there are still five postlims to go. We will be here for them.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Pettis (29-28 Ray)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Pettis (29-28 Ray)
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Pettis (29-28 Ray)

The Result

Steven Ray def. Anthony Pettis via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

2023 PFL Season Qualifier:
Brahyan Zurcher (146) vs. Ricardo Jimenez (144.2)

Round 1

You thought the night was over? Au contraire, mes amis. Four more postlims are left on the docket, with a few other roster spots and additional Challenger Series slots up for grabs. The first for the 2023 CS comes for a fighter in Zurcher (3-0, 1-0 PFL) that pulled off a win on the fourth episode of CS this season and did not get picked up, giving him a second chance to make a first impression. He draws Jimenez (0-1-1, 0-0 PFL), a New Yorker looking for his first victory in his third pro bout. The featherweights opt to touch gloves as referee Kevin MacDonald watches on, and they decide to kick at the same time down low. Zurcher staggers off, and he gathers himself to come back with a sweeping kick up the middle. Jimenez stands first when getting punched to throw back recklessly, and he presses forward to jam Zurcher up in the clinch. Zurcher fights off the grip to return to the center of the cage, and he scores two leg kicks mixed in with a solid overhand right. Zurcher comes forward and nearly clacks heads with his opponents, and Jimenez counters him with a quick hip toss. Zurcher keeps right on moving as they hit the ground, squirming around to take top position and ending up in the high guard of his opponent. The unbeaten fighter sits up and drops down to break up a possible rubber guard setup of some sort, and he lands a few punches before pressing down hard with his shoulder. Zurcher frantically jumps to half guard, but this allows Jimenez to spring back up during the transition. They both try to take the other down when back in the clinch, and Zurcher absorbs a few knees to the ribs and thigh as he gloms on to Jimenez. The fighters trip down to the ground in an odd sequence, and Zurcher tries to tie Jimenez’ right leg up to partially take the back. Jimenez sits straight up to spin around, and this lets him power his way back up and fight off any back control. Jimenez trips Zurcher out and puts him to his knees, and Zurcher gets back up only to have to fight off a double-leg takedown. Jimenez chains it into a single, and Zurcher pushes him off and clubs him with a right hand. Jimenez swings back with reckless abandon, and they smack each other with their fists until the close round ends and MacDonald pulls them apart.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Jimenez
Mike Fridley scores the round: 10-9 Jimenez
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Jimenez

Round 2

The second round opens with a head kick from Zurcher, and they ample towards one another ready to throw harder. Jimenez times a punch to drop down for a takedown, but he settles for a head lock and throw to put Zurcher down. Zurcher remains pinned on his back for a few seconds before powering back up, and he turns the tables on the fighter looking for his first win and takes Jimenez down to his back. Jimenez turns to his side in an effort to stand, but Zurcher is tightly pressed up against him and sits down to half guard. As he does this, he starts slugging Jimenez in the face with left hands, and he traps the promotional newcomer to his knees while landing effective but not necessarily individually damaging blows. Jimenez fights to his feet, and Zurcher sucks his legs out and drags him back down. Jimenez appears to be fading as Zurcher keeps working on him, but he is not out of the fight as he turns to a knee and sits up. Zurcher practically tackles him over, where he holds on with a half guard before Jimenez gets his butterfly guard operating. When Jimenez kicks Zurcher off, Jimenez spins around, and this gives Zurcher the opportunity to take his back in a flash. Jimenez fights the hands to protect against an immediate rear-naked choke, and Zurcher tightens up a body triangle while hunting for a rear-naked choke again. Jimenez signals that he is still ok while getting choked, and even though he looks to be in a tough spot, he is still surviving. Jimenez turns to try to power around and through the body triangle, but the bell sounds before he can flip over.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Zurcher
Mike Fridley scores the round: 10-9 Zurcher
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Zurcher

Round 3

The featherweights bump fists to start off the last round, and Zurcher winds up and blasts Jimenez’ inside leg with a series of kicks. Each one that lands, Jimenez takes a more dramatic reaction from the blows connecting in rapid succession, and he gets knocked back with an overhand right to the fence. Zurcher powers towards him, tripping Jimenez’ legs out and dropping him down to the mat with an oomph. Zurcher moves to side control before briefly claiming north-south, and he comfortably hangs on in this position without any concern about Jimenez getting out. When Zurcher looks for a north-south choke setup, Jimenez turns all the way around and moves to his knees. Zurcher pounds on Jimenez from behind with a plethora of punches, and Jimenez suddenly grips a two-on-one to the wrist and rolls Zurcher over. Jimenez does not have the energy to stand back up after hitting this sweep, so Zurcher climbs back on top of him into half guard. Zurcher smacks his foe upside the head with sporadic punches, and Jimenez turns to his right side and briefly threatens with another sweep that does not come together. The unbeaten fighter slugs away while Jimenez is still grounded, and Jimenez gives up his back and is instantly in choke danger. Zurcher sets up the body lock and slides his arm beneath the chin, but Jimenez is tough and does not give up. Zurcher keeps punching until the bell stops the fight, and this grind of a matchup has reached its conclusion.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Zurcher (29-28 Zurcher)
Mike Fridley scores the round: 10-9 Zurcher (29-28 Zurcher)
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Zurcher (29-28 Zurcher)

The Result

Brahyan Zurcher def. Ricardo Jimenez via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

2023 PFL Season Qualifier:
Elvin Espinoza (154.4) vs. Corey Jackson (156)

Round 1

Keeping things pushing here, lightweights take center stage on this postliminary endeavor. With an unbeaten record and a past PFL victory under his belt, Espinoza (6-0, 1-0 PFL) will try to make good on his sophomore outing with the company against Jackson (5-1, 0-0 PFL). The latter has never before seen any of his pro fights end inside the distance, with all five wins by decision and his lone loss also on the scorecards. On the other hand, Espinoza’s six career wins all resulted in stoppages, so something’s gotta give here. Referee Kerry Hatley is on the call for whatever happens next, following the touch of gloves. Jackson fires off a low kick, and he connects with a follow-up right hand that rings Espinoza’s bell. The unbeaten fighter crashes forward, not entirely with it, to clinch up “Maximus” and get his wherewithal. Espinoza tries to muscle his man down to the ground without much leverage to it, and he decides to move to something more technical in the form of a single. Espinoza ties up the right leg of his opponent in order to pull Jackson down, but the balance of Jackson keeps him upright. Espinoza lifts him off the ground, and Jackson keeps his footing and gets pushed back to the wall again. This stalemate, one with very few strikes and a lot of posturing, remains even when Jackson briefly pushes him off. Jackson finally manages to turn his man around after a lull in any action, and he gets turned back promptly. Jackson scores a knee to the body when he spins Espinoza back to the wall, and looks for a left hand when forcing a break. No break comes, so his punch misses the mark. Espinoza sets up a Thai plum, and he lands a few knees until powering back in. The ghastly round ends with the two tied up.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Espinoza
Mike Fridley scores the round: 10-9 Espinoza
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Espinoza

Round 2

The lightweights meet in the middle, and Jackson fires off an early low kick. Espinoza comes up high with a kick of his own, and they trade single strikes one after the other to match. Jackson paws out a straight left to keep an advancing Espinoza at bay, and he wings a right hand that brushes past the cheek. A counter from “Maximus” collides with the jaw, and Espinoza tries to fire back and gets blocked with Jackson’s high guard. They jump at one another, not with strikes, but with failed strike attempts. Espinoza walks his man down and paws out a jab, and he just slides back when Jackson releases a huge left hand at him. Jackson absorbs a few jabs and starts hand-fighting with his opponent, which opens up a body kick from Espinoza. “The Prodigy” catches the kick at the end of it, and he uses this to put Jackson down for a second. Jackson powers back upright, but he gets stuck against the fence. Espinoza is happy to stall in this position until Jackson finally breaks away, and he springs forward with three punches that all come up short. Jackson splits the guard with a pair of straight strikes, and he is the one pushing the pace as Espinoza seems to only want to set strikes up so that he can grapple. As Jackson comes at him, Espinoza has a head kick bounce off the shoulder. Jackson responds with a kick that hits the pectoral muscle, and he tags Espinoza with a right hand to snap the head back. Espinoza cannot block a body kick, and Jackson keeps him guessing with oddly timed blitzes. Espinoza charges recklessly to start throwing bombs, and Jackson greets him and welcomes the furious exchange. Espinoza jumps with a knee, and Jackson pushes him and busts him in the face. The brief but exciting firefight continues right to the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Jackson
Mike Fridley scores the round: 10-9 Espinoza
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Espinoza

Round 3

The two men come out of their corners knowing the scores could be all over, and they start off a little reckless. Jackson lets his hands go and cracks Espinoza, and suddenly changes levels for a double of his own. Espinoza attacks a standing guillotine choke to stop it, and he does manage to make Jackson think twice about it. Jackson retreats, and he rolls through a high kick to push a right hand out to the body. Espinoza crashes the pocket with a trio of punches before ducking into a double, and Jackson’s takedown defense holds up as he gets mushed up against the fence. Jackson turns the tables on him and looks to trip him down, and as soon as he does, once more Espinoza fishes for a high guillotine. Jackson wriggles his neck out and fights out of the clinch. They trade punches one after the other, and Espinoza gets the worse of the exchange and pursues a takedown. “The Prodigy” gets Jackson to one knee but cannot put him down, and he pushes on Jackson like Jackson were the last bit of the toothpaste tube. Espinoza looks for occasional trips with his legs but largely hangs on with position time until Jackson explodes to turn him around and go for his own takedown. Jackson gets turned around, and he cracks Espinoza with a right hand. Espinoza sells out for a takedown, and there is nothing to it. Espinoza attempts a risky trip, and Jackson pushes him over to nearly claim top position. They both scamper back to their feet, and Espinoza is hanging on for dear life with practically nothing else to offer. Espinoza gets his hands clasped and manages to secure a takedown with 15 seconds to spare, and he keeps it for a handful before Jackson stands up. They break apart, and throw hands momentarily to end this dreadful bout.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Espinoza (29-28 Espinoza)
Mike Fridley scores the round: 10-9 Espinoza (30-27 Espinoza)
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Espinoza (30-27 Espinoza)

The Result

Elvin Espinoza def. Corey Jackson via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

PFL New Fighter Showcase:
Alexei Pergande (155.8) vs. Elvis Lebron Quiles (155.8)

Round 1

In the final official Challenger Series qualifier match on this card, CS 7 signee Pergande (1-0, 1-0 PFL) will have a chance at competing in next year’s CS despite having won and earning the contract in April. The unbeaten Puerto Rican nicknamed “Cutthroat” Lebron Quiles (0-0, 0-0 PFL) will serve as Pergande’s in-cage adversary, and referee Kevin MacDonald will be their in-cage official. There is plenty of respect offered in the form of a glove touch, and Lebron Quiles comes out swinging wildly. This is all a ruse, so that he can shoot in for a takedown. That does not succeed, so he squeezes Pergande up to the wall and starts punching him with his free right hand. The two lightweights turn one another around, and Pergande hunts for a body lock trip that does not come together. A knee from Lebron Quiles and a few punches on the break allow him to separate, and he backs away when Pergande throws hands at him. Pergande walks through to snag a body lock, and he trips Lebron Quiles over to deposit him to the canvas. Lebron Quiles scoots his way back to the wall, and as he does, Pergande threatens with a guillotine draped over his neck. Lebron Quiles does not appear flustered by it, and he fights his way back to his feet and takes a flush knee to the body. When Lebron Quiles backs away, Pergande gives chase and hits another trip. Lebron Quiles falls to the ground, and “Russian DNA” takes his back in an instant. Pergande starts fighting for a rear-naked choke shortly after securing his body triangle, and Lebron Quiles grimaces from the controlling position but fights off the hands. Lebron Quiles turns all the way through in order to reverse the position, and Pergande sets up a guillotine choke and transitions it into a brabo choke. Lebron Quiles slides his neck out of both bad spots to stand up, and he rings Pergande’s bell with a right hand on the break. Lebron Quiles ducks a one-two to swing a right hand, and Pergande changes levels to plant Lebron Quiles on his back. Lebron Quiles grips a guillotine choke when falling to his back, but this is more of a stay-busy measure than a true attack, as he bails on it when put flat on his back. Pergande pulls out of the guard to stand up, and he charges back down to land and take Lebron Quiles’ back. He holds this position to the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Pergande
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Pergande
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Pergande

Round 2

Lebron Quiles attacks first to start off the round, with a one-two over the top. Pergande keeps his distance, swiping out with a left hand, and Lebron Quiles is busy in his face with kicks to all targets. Pergande ducks a strike to go for a takedown, and “Cutthroat” stops this in its tracks and pushes Pergande to the wire. Pergande sucks the hips out and puts Lebron Quiles down, and he lands in full guard that Lebron Quiles closes around him. Pergande postures up to slam down punches, and he opens the guard up briefly due to his strikes. Lebron Quiles scoots to the wall and to a knee, and he fights upright even while Pergande is pinned to him like a bulletin board. Lebron Quiles pushes off to get a little space, and he draws Pergande into a furious brawl. They both drill one another with powerful strikes, and Pergande changes his mind on this unwise behavior and shoots for a takedown that pushes Lebron Quiles all the way across the cage but does not get him down. Lebron Quiles wriggles his arms to get out of the grip of Pergande, and he turns Pergande around to hunt for a single. Lebron Quiles wrenches Pergande to a knee, and he slams a knee to the body in the position. Pergande stands up and powers forward to go after a high-amplitude takedown, and Lebron Quiles snatches up a guillotine choke before his back hits the ground. Lebron Quiles bails on it when he finds there is no choke to secure, and he angrily chews on his mouthpiece as Pergande controls him. Pergande lands one punch from above before the horn splits them up.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Pergande
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Pergande
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Pergande

Round 3

The lightweights meet in the middle for one last round, and Lebron Quiles sits down on his punches and looks for damaging blows. Pergande senses this and quickly closes the distance, where he gets underhooks and controls his opponent against the fence. Lebron Quiles powers his way out and throws two powerful but inaccurate punches, and he walks through a head kick to slug Pergande in the face. The youngster known as “Russian DNA” wobbles and practically falls into a takedown effort, where he succeeds in putting the professional debutant on his back. Lebron Quiles throws his leg up awkwardly, and it succeeds in hooking up an omoplata setup. Lebron Quiles rolls through it to find himself in a good position, and he chains this into a triangle choke that transitions into an armbar. Pergande stays wise to each chained sub and fights his way out of them intelligently without panicking, and the two work their way up to their feet. As they do, Lebron Quiles loses his mouthpiece, and he tells MacDonald of this. MacDonald picks it up but waits for a lull to have them put it in, and he has Lebron Quiles replace it. On the restart, Lebron Quiles wings a right hand that helps him close the distance, where he is able to push Pergande up against the fencing. Lebron Quiles appears the fresher fighter, absorbing a knee to the chest and throwing back with big punches as Pergande desperately looks for a takedown. Pergande settles for a clinch after getting rocked, and he clings to an incensed Lebron Quiles until the final horn ends this grueling, exhausting fight.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Lebron Quiles (29-28 Pergande)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Lebron Quiles (29-28 Pergande)
Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Lebron Quiles (29-28 Pergande)

The Result

Alexei Pergande def. Elvis Lebron Quiles via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

PFL New Fighter Showcase:
Lucas Barbosa (169.6) vs. Elmar Umarov (171)

Round 1

The fight was canceled on Friday after Umarov came down with an illness. Barbosa posted the news of the bout's cancelation on his Instagram.

2023 PFL Season Qualifier:
Marcelo Nunes (244.2) vs. Dylan Potter (255.2)

Round 1

The final postlim tonight comes in the heavyweight division, between two big men that want a spot among next year’s million-dollar tourney. Victor of episode six of Challenger Series Nunes (8-1, 1-0 PFL) will go hunting in hopes of keeping his 100% finish rate intact, and he will do so at the expense of promotional newcomer Potter (10-5, 1 NC; 0-0 PFL), who also sports a 100% stoppage rate. Fists and feet are sure to fly, and referee Kerry Hatley is up to the challenge of making things official and keeping the fighters safe. Gloves are not touched as Potter bounds out of his corner, but he hops back when Nunes tosses a low kick at him. The Brazilian ties Potter up and dumps him to the mat with ease, like a father tossing around his child, and he steps comfortably to half guard without incident. Nunes smothers with chest pressure, and he gets bucked back as Potter kicks off his back. Nunes smashes him in the face to mark Potter’s face up, and he shifts promptly shifts to an arm-triangle choke in this half guard position. Potter signals that he is still good, but remains firmly in the danger zone as Nunes has the arm-triangle locked up tight as a drum. Nunes does not even need to jump to the other side with the weight and grip he possesses, fresh as a daisy still early on in the fight. Instead, the Drysdale Jiu-Jitsu fighter crushes with this head-and-arm choke until Potter is about to drift off to dreamland. Right before he passes out, Potter gently taps out while Hatley paying close attention, and it is all over. Nunes walks off with a giant grin on his face, and PFL chief Ray Sefo greets him in the cage to formally invite him to the 2023 season at heavyweight. He might be a threat next year with his jiu-jitsu credentials, but the 2022 season is not yet complete. The heavyweights – along with 170-pounders – will battle next week in Wales for spots in the finals, as two more playoffs shows remain scheduled across the pond. We will be here for them, including the postlims, and we hope you are too.

The Result

Marcelo Nunes def. Dylan Potter R1 1:47 via Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke)
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