2021 PFL 2:
Six days removed from 2021 PFL 1, the Professional Fighters League season resumed Thursday night with PFL 2, featuring Welterweight and Light Heavyweight action.
The final version of 2021 PFL 2 was to have featured 10 MMA fights, but in the run-up to this card, two fights were called off.
Fights Called Off:
Vinny Magalhaes vs. Jordan Young [Light Heavyweight]- PPD amid Magalhaes’ weight cut issues. Young scored three points in the standings (walkover.) Magalhaes is docked a point in the standings and is automatically in last place (-1 point.)
Magomed Magomedkerimov vs. Joao Zeferino [Welterweight]- PPD after Magomedkerimov withdrew. Zeferino faced Gleison Tibau on the main card.
So, this meant the card featured eight fights, five of which ended in stoppages, resulting in a stoppage rate of 62.5 percent.
In the last six days, the PFL has presented 18 fights, six of which ended in stoppages, resulting in a stoppage rate of 33.3 percent across the promotion.
Since Jan. 15, Sports Drink has now seen 359 MMA fights, 187 of which have ended in stoppages, resulting in a stoppage rate of 52 percent all told.
The Fights Themselves:
Dan Spohn vs. Marthin Hamlet:
Light Heavyweights Dan Spohn (18-8, 0-1 PFL 2021, no points in the standings) and Marthin Hamlet (7-1, 1-0 PFL 2021, five points in the standings) were the first men to walk to the cage on Thursday.
Hamlet turned in a Shakespearean effort in round one, accumulating plenty of ride time from top position, dumping Spohn again early in round two—ending things with a second-round technical submission (arm-triangle choke,) scoring five points in the standings for the first stoppage of the night.
Sadibou Sy vs. Nikolai Aleksakhin:
Your first Welterweights to make the walk to the cage were Sadibou Sy (8-5-2, one no-contest, 0-0, one no-contest PFL 2021, one point in the standings) and Nikolai Aleksakhin (26-5, one no contest, 0-0, one no-contest PFL 2021, one point in the standings.)
This was a stand-up fight all the way through round one, with Sy becoming the aggressor as round two progressed, but Aleksakhin sustained an eye poke.
By New Jersey State Athletic Commission rule, an MMA fight is not deemed official from a fight-ending foul until after the second round—so this fight goes down as a no-contest.
Each man scored one point in the standings as though the bout ended in a draw.
Cezar Ferreira vs. Nick Roherick:
The third fight of the night (and penultimate bout of part one) saw Cezar Ferreira (14-8, 1-0 PFL 2021, six points in the standings) and Nick Roherick (9-2, 0-1 PFL 2021, no points in the standings) do battle—and folks, here’s hoping none of you blinked.
Ferreira wasted little time, landing a vicious kick to Roherick, following it up with a flurry of punches to knock him out and score six points in the standings.
Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Tom Lawlor:
Part one of this card ended with a Light Heavyweight tussle matching Antonio Carlos Junior (11-5, 1-0 2021 PFL, six points in the standings) with sports entertainer Tom Lawlor (10-8, 0-1 2021 PFL, no points in the standings.)
Carlos Junior was the aggressor in round one, taking top mount after dumping Lawlor—and he was no match for the sports entertainer, scoring a guillotine choke submission and six points in the standings.
Emiliano Sordi vs. Chris Camozzi:
PFL 2 moved to ESPN2 at 9 p.m. ET, with part two starting off with this Light Heavyweight fixture between Emiliano Sordi (23-8, 1-0 2021 PFL, three points in the standings) and Chris Camozzi (25-15, 0-1 2021 PFL, no points in the standings).
Sordi executed dirty boxing in the first round, dumping Camozzi to set up a rear-naked choke hold, before transitioning to a body triangle, being unable to lock either of those in.
Camozzi, down one round on the scorecards, reversed the script, dumping Sordi and taking top position—becoming the aggressor in round two.
Sordi retook his position as aggressor in round three, with the judges factoring into the decision for the first time on the night—and Sordi taking the unanimous decision after 15 minutes.
Joao Zeferino vs. Gleison Tibau:
Your last fight before the co-headliner saw Welterweights Joao Zeferino (25-9, 1-0 2021 PFL, three points in the standings) and Gleison Tibau (34-15, 0-1 2021 PFL, no points in the standings) do battle.
Tibau was slow getting out of the starting blocks in round one, only landing four strikes in the first five minutes (all punches.)
This continued throughout the second round, and it was here that the fight slowed down, with the action not going to the cage once through 15 minutes.
Zeferino took it by unanimous decision.
There was a clear lack of urgency in this fight from both of these men inside the cage.
To say that this isn’t a good thing when bonus points could have been scored is the understatement of the week in combat sports.
The PFL has a points system and bonus points available to its fighters to incentivize the roster to finish the fights.
These fighters have to go out there, do their best and get a finish during these regular season bouts.
It’s the difference maker between fighting in the postseason and watching it on television.
Co-Main Event: Ray Cooper III vs. Jason Ponet:
Your co-headliner on Thursday saw Ray Cooper III (21-7-1, 1-0 2021 PFL, six points in the standings) battling Jason Ponet (20-13-1, 0-1 2021 PFL, no points in the standings) in Welterweight action.
Folks, I hope you didn’t blink, as Cooper dumped Ponet with a slam to lock in an arm-triangle choke for six points in the standings, winning without even throwing a punch for the fourth stoppage of the night.
Main Event: Rory MacDonald vs. Curtis Millender:
2021 PFL 2’s main event saw Rory MacDonald (22-6-1, 1-0 2021 PFL, six points in the standings) making his long-awaited PFL promotional debut against Curtis Millender (18-7, 0-1 2021 PFL, no points in the standings.)
MacDonald was initially signed by the PFL in December of 2019 before its 2020 season was scrubbed amid COVID-19 concerns—but his performance in this headlining bout was well worth the wait.
He executed stand-up grappling on Millender and eventually landed a takedown, taking half-guard to transition to an attempted rear-naked choke—eventually locking it in for the fifth and last stoppage of the night, along with six points in the standings.