The PFL Championship on New Year’s Eve was held at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden. The card was packed with interesting fights, great talent, and solid competition all looking to win the championship in their division.
There was plenty of excitement and hype following fighters into fight night. Fighters like Kayla Harrison, Ray Cooper III, Magomed Magomedkerimov, look to continue their MMA journey and hope to pocket some serious money as well. Some old dogs look to prove they still belong in Louis Taylor and Sean O’Connell, against some tough completion. Fighters like Steven Siler look to exact revenge in a rematch against Lance Palmer. All the fights have potential to be great, and having high steaks makes the fights even more interesting with life changing money on the line.
Check the PFL 11 results below.
Abus Magomedov vs Louis Taylor (Middleweight)
It took no time at all. Less than a minute in, and Luis Taylor leapt in with a left hook that ended the fight. The official ending was at 33 seconds. Magomedov landed a couple hard kicks to start, and with a jumping left hook. Luis Taylor ended the night as the champion, and is walking away with $1 million. Taylor looks to return to the PFL in 2019 because he “want’s another check!” 39 never looked so good as Louis Taylor shrugs off those who doubt his age.
Luis Taylor def. Abus Magomedov in round 1 (0:33).
Steven Siler vs Lance Palmer (Featherweight)
Both fighters come out somewhat slow trying to figure each other out and feel the range. Palmer landed a number of leg kicks that did not look pretty, and landed a takedown. Both fighters landed big shots before the end of the round that rocked the other guy. Lance should win round 1.
Palmer lands a couple of takedowns and controls for most of the round, Lance should also win round 2, a critical round 3 for Siler. Round three ends the same as the first two with Lance landing a couple takedowns, Siler gets into a few spots where submissions may be available, but Palmer stays in control and rides out most of the round in a dominant position. Palmer completely dominates round 4, where Siler had no positive moments. Palmer gets into half guard, and rains down strikes the whole round. You can guess what happened in round 5, with a short period of time where there was a submission threat. Palmer dominated on top, and landed punches from a top position. In my estimation, the score cards read (50-44) with a 10-8 in round 4.
Lance Palmer def. Steven Siler via unanimous decision (50-43), (50-45), (49-46).
Rashid Magomedov vs Natan Schulte (Lightweight)
Round one is hard to gauge, the fighters seem to be fairly even through the round with Schulte controlling the majority of the round in the clinch, and did get a takedown as well even though Magomedov was able to get right back to the feet. Schulte probably wins round 1. Round 2 heats up with some more striking exchanges, Schulte seems to defend well against most attacks but Magomedov works the body well. An eye poke takes a point away from Magomedov in the second round without any warning, a round that he should have won now ends in a (9-9).
Round 3 has a mix of clinch and striking and is hard to pick a clear winner, Magomedov outlands Schulte, but Schulte kept the pressure up and had some positive clinch work and was always moving forward. Magomedov probably takes the round but looks to be tiring. Magomedov gets taken down to start round number 4, but gets right back to his feet. The same sequence happens a few times with a takedown from Schulte with Magomedov getting right back to his feet almost immediately. Schulte probably wins the round because he landed a number of takedowns, while Magomedov looks tired at the end of the round but is still getting the better of the striking while standing. The entire duration of round 5, Schulte stays glued to Magomedov in the clinch, landing a few shots while attempting takedowns. A really hard fight to score, overall. My score is (48-46) in favor of Schulte.
Natan Schulte def. Rashid Magomedov via unanimous decision (48-46), (48-46), (48-46).
Kayla Harrison vs Moriel Charneski (Women’s Lightweight)
Kayla Harrison goes right into the full mount seconds into the round. After eating multiple shots, Charneski gives up the back and almost gets back up before Harrison manages another judo trip from an awkward position and right back into the full mount. Harrison gets to the back again and punches until the ref steps in to stop the fight. There was very little showing of her striking, but she was able to close the distance well enough to initiate the clinch and ensure the takedown with ease.
Once Harrison gets her hands on you, it is really hard to get away. The hype is real behind Kayla Harrison, as she looks to be upset with her performance after a TKO in round 1. “Hey guys, next year I’m going to be a Millionaire”, that has yet to be seen, but she is definitely on the right track. Harrison acknowledges that she wants to be able to strike more, but when you are really good at doing something, keep doing that until it does not work anymore.
Kayla Harrison def. Moriel Charneski via TKO in round 1 (3:39).
Vinny Magalhaes vs Sean O’Connell (Light Heavyweight)
Both fighters come out swinging, both fighters seem to hurt each other. Magalhaes gets his wish as the fight goes to the ground a couple times, and holds the back for some time, landing some ground and pound. So far, O’Connell looks like he can survive the ground battles, but he is definitely not looking to go to the ground as he hurt Magalhaes standing. Magalhaes wins the round because the back pressure. Round 2 starts and O’Connell hurts Magalhaes, and Magalhaes continuously shoots for takedowns in desperation. O’Connell repeatedly defends the takedown attempts, lands a few ground shots, and breaks away for the stand up. Both fighters look to be exhausted at the end of round 2.
O’Connell wins Round 2 with multiple wobbles, and defended takedowns. Round 3 starts with both fighters throwing shots and landing. Both fighters are hurt and tired, O’Connell wobbles Magalhaes, and he shoots for a takedown that is stuffed. Neither fighter has the energy to stand after round 3. The corner of Vinny Magalhaes throws in the towel at the end of Round 3. This is the right call too, Vinny Magalhaes was no longer fighting as he was getting hit, and shooting for a takedown. The fighter/broadcaster takes home the million-dollar check. O’Connell drops the mic on his career as a champion. Emotions came out as O’Connell says his heart-felt goodbye to competing in the sport of MMA.
Sean O’Connell def. Vinny Magalhaes via TKO (corner stoppage) in round 3 (5:00).
Philipe Lins vs Josh Copeland (Heavyweight)
The big guys come out trying to gauge each other’s range and showing respect for the other’s power. Copeland is landing at a higher rate for most of the round, but there is no clear winner. Round 1 ends fairly even, Copeland landed more frequently, so he may take the round.
Both guys start to throw heavy leather with fight-ending intentions; and Lins is landing more shots, countering well, and mixing up the attack to the legs and drops Copeland near the end of round 2 to take the round. Copeland seemed to lose his head movement as the round went on, and started to eat some shots on the chin. Copeland is exhausted in the third round and taking every punch, but still walking forward and throwing. Lins begs both the referee and Copeland to stop the fight and save Copeland from more damage as he just takes the shots without defending himself. Round 3 comes to an end without a finish, Lins should win the round 10-8. Copeland almost started leaning into punches, he definitely has heart. Doctors come in to check on both fighters before round 4, and the fight is on. Copeland is not defending himself for the entirety of the round, and the referee stops the fight.
Philipe Lins def. Josh Copeland via TKO in Round 4 (0:30).
Ray Cooper III vs Magomed Magomedkerimov (Welterweight)
Magomedkerimov takes advantage of a wild and overaggressive Cooper. He ends up on his back to slow the pace down of the fight, but Cooper finds his way up. He has a hard time staying away from Magomedkerimov. Magomedkerimov probably wins the round because the time on Cooper’s back, also being the one in control of the clinch for the majority of the round.
In round 2, cooper throws punches with intent to end the night, and looks like he is starting to tire. Cooper attempts a takedown of his own and Magomedkerimov finishes the fight by a guillotine. A very impressive reversal on a takedown attempt left Cooper’s neck open, and Magomedkerimov moved to the submission so smoothly and seamlessly. Magomedkerimov definitely had a good gameplan and took advantage of the holes in Cooper’s gam. He wore him out, and shocked everyone watching the fight.
Magomed Magomedkerimov def. Ray Cooper III via submission in round 2 (2:18).