Andre Harrison got the job done at PFL 4, on a night that seemed to underline the big-league feel of the fledgling promotion.
Uniondale, NY — Andre Harrison wasn’t in the main event Thursday night at PFL 4. That said, based on crowd reaction, he might as well have been. Harrison (19-0), a Long Island native, was fighting right in his back yard. The undefeated featherweight put on a great showing at the Nassau Coliseum, going a full three rounds with Nazareno Malegarie in a hotly contested affair.
Harrison has taken some grief over the years for his finishing rate, but his showing at PFL 4 was anything but a boring decision. Back stage after the fight (and after Harrison deftly avoided a backstage confrontation with a drunken VIP), Harrison addressed the win, the tournament, and the action the two weight classes featured on the card tend to bring.
Evaluating his performance, Harrison was reserved. “It was all right. It was a decent performance,” he said. The crowd clearly thought more of it than ‘The Bull,’ based on the deafening round of applause that came at the end. “Landed some good stuff, but didn’t counter as much as I’d like to. I think I should have countered stuff some more.”
And then the ever popular “it is what it is.” Harrison is selling himself short there. What it was, was an exciting fight. A fight that stole the show out from under the main event. “Better to learn on the W than the L,” he added. That part is very much true.
Harrison has become a breakout star for the promotion, ever since capturing the World Series of Fighting championship against Lance Palmer. Palmer topped the card Thursday in Uniondale, an odd choice given Harrison’s local hero status. Then again, Harrison topped the card last time out, at PFL 1. Oddly, both men faced Jumabieke Tuerxun in their headlining slots. Which means Tuerxun has headlined more cards than anyone in the PFL season thus far. And lost each time.
Quirky booking aside, Harrison is the real deal. 19-0 is no easy feat in any organization. ‘The Bull’ boasts victories over current UFC fighters Des Green and Kurt Holobaugh, as well as former UFC combatant Steven Siler. Who happens to be in the PFL featherweight tournament as well.
If there’s anywhere Harrison feels he needs to improve, it’s his aggression. “I know a lot of people get impressed by my poise,” he pointed out Thursday. “Sometimes I might think that I’m a little too poised, a little too relaxed. So probably be a little more aggressive.” Yet if the former Titan FC champ’s fights are exciting, it’s not the biggest issue. And they are.
Harrison didn’t get a chance to see the main event fight featuring Lance Palmer, instead dealing with the throng of supporters that came to see him at the Nassau Coliseum. Some had flown in. Some were a little too boisterous, clearly.
“I did see that he got a finish right at the very end,” Harrison told us. “Sound performance” is how he put it. Yet a rematch with Palmer, who he’s already defeated, doesn’t sound like it interests Harrison more than any other fight. “I don’t care. I don’t care who it is. It don’t matter to me.”
In any other promotion, that would raise an eyebrow. Money fights matter, or so we’ve been led to believe. Yet every fight is a money fight in the PFL, because in the tournament format, you need every win to get to the million dollar prize. Harrison continued, saying “I don’t have my eyeballs on somebody like ‘I hope I fight him or I hope I don’t fight him.’ There’s a lot of good fighters out there, man. Some of the fights I did watch, they were great fights. This is no shots to the other PFL cards, but I think that this card, the one with the featherweights and heavyweights, we’re the most action-packed top to bottom.”
He could very well be right. Fans love watching heavyweights for the knockout power, and they got that when Phillipe Lins went to war with Alex Nicholson. And the featherweights? That’s one of the PFL’s deepest weight classes.
“Legitimately, I watched the Chicago [PFL card], I watched the D.C. card, and they were all good fights too,” Harrison allowed. “But I just feel like the featherweights and the heavyweights man, we bring it. So me being part of the featherweight division, I want to keep that same thing going. I want everybody to feel the same way I feel. Like ‘yo I gotta make sure I tune in and watch this card, because those we know these dudes are gonna come out and have some fun out there.'”
Fun was definitely what PFL 4 was. The promotion seems to have hit its stride, and it will be interesting to see how far it can take this league experiment. For now, however, the company has a big league feel, and that’s not just because of the prize awaiting fighters at the end of the post-season.