The Pro Fight League post season kicked off in a big way in New Orleans as PFL 8 saw two fights in a night as part of the featherweight and heavyweight playoffs.
The Professional Fighters League kicked off its post season with PFL 8 on Friday night, live from New Orleans, Louisiana. With both quarterfinal and semifinal fights going down on the same night, it was a huge, do-or-die opportunity for all involved. The event aired on NBC SN following prelims on Facebook Watch (outside the U.S., the full PFL 8 live stream could be viewed free on Facebook). At stake: a million dollars to the winner in each weight class, to be handed out at the live finale in New York on New Year’s Eve.
It was featherweights and heavyweights starting things off at PFL 8, with the top eight fighters in each weight class seeded. At heavyweight, number one seeded Francimar Barroso faced eighth seed Josh Copeland, while featherweight’s number one, Steven Siler, faced Nazareno Malegarie.
In the heavyweight alternate fight to start the evening, Mo De’Reese wasted little time in securing a single leg takedown on longtime veteran Mike Kyle. From there, De’Reese threatened to take the back. While he couldn’t secure it, he transitioned to mount, which was the beginning of the end for Kyle. With De’Reese raining down blows and Kyle unable to escape, he eventually gave the verbal submission, resulting in De’Reese picking up the first win of the evening. Key was that the heavyweight took little to no damage, meaning there’d likely be no issue with him appearing in the semi-finals later in the evening, if required.
Lance Palmer vs. Max Coga kicked off the featherweight quarterfinals, with Palmer landing a single leg takedown early after an exchange of leg kicks. Coga would defend with a leg lock, but for the better part of the first round, Palmer maintained control. That allowed him to work in some ground and pound, though the fight would head to the second frame. There, Palmer once again got the fight to the ground. Coga again attempted a leg lock, but it was Palmer’s control that was the story, and he claimed the win via unanimous decision (20-18 on all scorecards).
In the first heavyweight quarterfinal, Kelvin Tiller looked to continue his surprising, inspiring run as a dark horse pick to make the finals. Facing Jared Rosholt for the second straight fight (the pair met in the regular season), it simply wasn’t to be. Rosholt used smothering wrestling, and Tiller was unable to get off his back for nearly two full rounds. The former UFC vet Rosholt cruised to a unanimous decision.
Next up at featherweight, the undefeated Andre Harrison came out swinging against Brazil’s Alexandre Bezerra. Harrison would later do some damage to his opponent’s leg, but never really went after it again. Instead, he seemed to have the upper hand in the exchanges in the first round, until the end of the frame, when Harrison ate a knee, and was forced to hang onto the leg while his head cleared. In the second, things were much closer, enough so that one judge ruled the fight a draw. Still, two gave it to Harrison, who keeps his perfect record — and was set to rematch Lance Palmer later in the evening.
In the evening’s next heavyweight bout, Philipe Lins took virtually no time to secure a guillotine on good friend Caio Alencar. Lins elicited the tap in just under a minute. The following scrap, back at featherweight, would see Alexandre Almeida move forward in the tournament, as he defeated Jumabieke Tuerxun by majority decision.
Alex Nicholson and Jack May faced off next, in the second-to-last heavyweight quarterfinal. Nicholson attacked the taller May’s legs with kicks. A key decision, as an injured leg made May a sitting duck. Nicholson would wind up swarming his downed opponent later in the round, earning the finish by TKO in just over two minutes.
Steven Siler vs. Nazareno Malegarie
Steven Silver against against Nazareno Malegarie opened up the main card, and it wasn’t long before the number seed Siler made an impact. Siler dropped Malegarie, but perhaps a tad over-eager, Siler rushed in, and nearly overshot his opponent. Malegarie was able to scramble back to the feet as a result, but Siler stayed on him, landing knees and controlling by employing a one-handed guillotine choke. Siler would look to secure a choke, but again Malegarie escaped. Malegarie then began taking some big swings as Siler backed him up, changing the complexion of the fight. The pair settled into a stand and exchange rhythm, and would finish the round on the feet.
Round two (of two, as a quarterfinal fight) opened with Malegarie going to the body, and Siler firing off a leg kick. Malegarie closed the distance, looking for a takedown but unable to convert. A takedown attempt later in the round saw Siler give up position, but after tying his opponent up from the bottom, Malegarie opted to let Siler up. Malegarie did what he could to take the fight back in the final moments, but it went to the scorecards. There, two judges saw the fight as a draw. Which meant that a tiebreaker was needed, in this case, the first round. Siler had won the round on all three judge’s scorecards, and thus would move forward into the semifinals.
Steven Siler vs. Nazareno Malegarie ends in a majority draw (20-18, 19-19, 19-19) — tiebreaker (first round) dictates Siler advances to semifinals.
Francimar Barroso vs. Josh Copeland
Early action in the final heavyweight quarter finaly saw Josh Copeland pushing forward, throwing hands at top-seeded Francimar Barroso. Copeland then clinched, driving him into the fence, but Barroso ducked out and escaped. A similar sequence would follow, and again, Barroso escaped. Barroso then caught Copeland with a counter, but Copeland would land a straight right in answer to a kick moments later. Barroso would fire a high kick at the end of the round that was blocked, and heading to the second, there was a good chance Copeland was up.
Without question, Josh Copeland looked like a new animal early in the fight. Round two saw him continue to be the aggressor early. Barroso opted to rely on his kicks more, attacking the body and head. An offensive barrage by Copeland saw him land a right that hurt his opponent, and he moved in for the clinch, only for Barosso to break free. On the next clinch along the cage Barosso reversed, but by that point, precious seconds were ticking off the clock. While the judges would rule the two-round fight a draw, based on a dominant first round, it was Copeland who advanced to the semifinals.
Josh Copeland vs. Francimar Barroso ends in a draw (19-19, 19-19, 19-19) — tiebreaker (first round) dictates Copeland advances to the semifinals
Andre Harrison vs. Lance Palmer (Featherweight Semifinal)
A pair of former WSOF champions met in the first semifinal of the evening, as featherweights Andre Harrison and Lance Palmer met for the second time. The undefeated Harrison won the then-WSOF 145lb title against Palmer in March of last year. Palmer had not lost since; Harrison was a perfect 20-0 heading into the night. As action got underway in the pair’s second meeting, it was Harrison holding center, and Palmer circling. Harrison would fire off after about a minute, with Palmer looking to counter. Both men were taking the cautious approach, with a lot on the line.
Just as Palmer was firing an overhand that connected, however, Harrison landed a low blow. After Palmer took a few seconds to recover, it was Harrison pressing the action, backing his opponent up, and firing some uppercuts. The lack of action in the round, however, was palpable.
Round two saw Palmer attacking early, closing the distance than fading back. He’d throw in a kick moments later. When Harrison moved in for his own offensive flurry, Palmer took him to the ground. Palmer then took the back as Harrison worked his way up. Hooks in, Palmer was holding on to the back with a body triangle as Harrison stood up. Palmer worked to get a rear-naked choke in, but struggled to get it under the chin. By the end of the round, Harrison literally just stood in place, holding the weight of Palmer, but not doing anything to shake him off, while Palmer was unable to do anything to secure the choke.
Harrison pressed the action early in round three, and Palmer immediately dropped for a single leg, taking Harrison down. Once again, Palmer took his opponent’s back, getting both hooks in. As Harrison tried to turn to escape out, Palmer managed to move to mount. Palmer would look for an arm-triangle choke, but wasn’t in position. He’d wind up in side control, however, and was likely well ahead on the scorecards. In the final seconds, Palmer moved back to mount and landed some ground n’ pound, but there was never any question that he had the win.
Lance Palmer def. Andre Harrison by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Philipe Lins vs. Jared Rosholt (Heavyweight Semifinal)
Not surprisingly, Jared Rosholt shot for a takedown early in his semifinal fight with Philipe Lins. However, it wound up a bit sloppy, and Lins escaped back to his feet. Rosholt stayed on him, however, dragging him down again. Rosholt controlled from the back, firing knees to his opponent’s thighs. Lins would make it to his feet again, but again, Rosholt took him straight back down. In the next sequence, however, Lins tried to latch on to the neck as Rosholt dropped for a takedown. Rosholt would survive that, while Lins worked for a triangle.
Just when it looked like Rosholt would blanket his way to the finale, Lins changed things up. Round two saw Lins connect with a combination early, stunning Rosholt with a left. He followed that up with some heavy punches punctuated by a right hand that dropped Rosholt! Rosholt was stunned, and Lins got on top, dropping hammer fists to finish the job!
Philipe Lins def. Jared Rosholt by TKO, Round 2, 0:45
Steven Siler vs. Alexandre Almeida
PFL 8 saw yet another rematch, as Steven Siler took on Alexandre Alemeida in the second semifinal at featherweight. The fight was a rematch of their controversial PFL 4, which Siler won by submission after the ref thought he saw Almeida tap. Far more was on the line this time, but could Almeida get his revenge?
Siler landed a counter early, and unloaded a flurry of strikes that forced Almeida to shoot for a takedown. Almeida tried pulling guard, but Siler backed off. Almeida was already bloodied, but came charging in on the attack, looking for a takedown. He took the back of Siler, getting his hooks in. Siler, however, shook him off, slipping out the back door. He’d later wind up in Almeida’s guard, but soon enough they’d be back up. A clinch by the cage stalled, and the ref restarted them out in the open. They’d battle it out to the buzzer to end the round, with Almeida scoring a late takedown.
Round two saw Almedia firing off an inside leg kick, while working to back Siler up. Siler would muscle Almeida down, but as Siler went to the ground, Almeida landed a clearly illegal upkick. The blow connected flush with Siler’s jaw, and left him dazed. After being looked at by a doctor, he was unable to continue.
Steven Siler def. Alexandre Almeida by DQ (illegal upkick), Round 2, 0:52
Alex Nicholson vs. Josh Copeland
The second heavyweight semifinal, and final bout of PFL 8, pitted a couple of UFC veterans in Josh Copeland and Alex Nicholson against each other, with a shot at a million dollars on the line.
Copeland went on the offensive early in this heavyweight semifinal, with Nicholson answering back. It didn’t feel like that affair would last long at that rate. Copeland fired a counter again, then drove in for a clinch against the fence. Nicholson shot off some knees to the body, then landed a spinning back fist and launched a flying knee. Just when it looked like ‘The Spartan’ was about to finish the job, Copeland floored him! Nicholson charged forward, and a thunderous right hand from Copeland connected! No follow-ups required, as Nicholson was out!
Josh Copeland def. Alex Nicholson by knockout, Round 1, 1:27
Check back come fight time for results and a recap of the night’s action! The PFL 8 live stream starts at 7:00 PM ET, and you can watch it via the official embed below. For viewers in the U.S., the main card will air on NBC SN.
PFL 8 Results:
Heavyweight: Josh Copeland def. Alex Nicholson by knockout, Round 1, 1:27
Featherweight: Steven Siler def. Alexandre Almeida by DQ (illegal upkick), Round 2, 0:52
Heavyweight: Philipe Lins def. Jared Rosholt by TKO, Round 2, 0:45
Featherweight: Lance Palmer def. Andre Harrison by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Heavyweight: Josh Copeland vs. Francimar Barroso ends in a draw (19-19, 19-19, 19-19) – tiebreaker (first round) dictates Copeland advances to the semifinals
Featherweight: Steven Siler vs. Nazareno Malegarie ends in a majority draw (20-18, 19-19, 19-19) — tiebreaker (first round) dictates Siler advances to semifinals
Preliminary card (Facebook Watch)
Heavyweight: Alex Nicholson def. Jack May by TKO, Round 1, 2:03
Featherweight: Alexandre Almeida def. Jumabieke Tuerxun by majority decision (20-18, 20-18, 19-19)
Heavyweight: Philipe Lins def. Caio Alencar by submission (guillotine choke), Round 1, 0:58
Featherweight: Andre Harrison def. Alexandre Bezerra by majority decision (20-18, 20-18, 19-19)
Heavyweight: Jared Rosholt def. Kelvin Tiller by unanimous decision (20-18, 20-18, 20-18)
Featherweight: Lance Palmer def. Max Coga by unanimous decision (20-18, 20-18, 20-18)
Heavyweight: Mo De’Reese def. Mike Kyle by TKO, Round 1, 2:38
Featherweight: Marcos Galvão vs. Jeremy Kennedy