PFL President Ray Sefo spoke to media after the promotion reached the halfway point of the regular season.
Uniondale, NY – We’ve reached the midway point of the PFL 2019 and the promotion has seen some great fights the season. PFL President Ray Sefo gave his overall thoughts on 2019 so far and specifically the Maxim Grishin vs. Jordan Johnson fight following PFL 3.
“That concludes the first round of our regular season. I hope everyone had a good time because everybody came out and put it on the line. Jason [Brown] and I kind of jinxed it. We said we’d probably have eight to 10 finishes tonight. We ended up with five. But hey, five is still good. There were some good highlights. Jordan Johnson came in tonight with an undefeated record and fell to one of our fighters. That shows where we are in the market. Who we are as the fighters we have in the league. He was an undefeated fighter and lost on a split decision. I thought the decision could have gone either way. It was a close fight. Congratulations to Maxim [Grishin] who won that fight. Now Jordan has to come back in his second regular-season fight and really battle hard to get to the playoffs because now he really has to earn points to get there. We ended up with five finishes tonight and I was hoping for five finishes. It was good to see the last few fights guys put it on the line and walk away with some high points and some finishes. It was great. I’m definitely looking forward to the second round of regular season fights in Atlantic City.”
The main event featured an excellent performance from Emiliano Sordi, who dominated last season’s light heavyweight runner up, Vinny Magalhaes, en route to a second-round stoppage. But the opportunity to perform this season almost didn’t come for the Argentinian.
“He took a page off of Sean O’Connell’s fight with Vinny [Magalhaes]. Because that looked like a replay. He came out, hit him, and just kept standing. Every time Vinny was trying to get him to the ground, Emiliano would defend and get it back to his feet and picked him apart. I think the stoppage was warranted because Vinny was taking a lot of shots. He was getting battered around the cage. But Sordi, I thought he fought well and looked great. Glad to have him back because going through the lineup at first, he was actually at the end of the lineup. Someone fell out and Sordi took that spot. I’m sure he’s happy with his performance tonight, and so are we.”
Unlike the second event, PFL 3 did not feature any excessively scary injuries. The one scare was from Alex Nicholson, who was visibly displaying pain in his midsection after his brutal fight with Francimar Barroso. Sefo gave an update on his health.
“Alex [Nicholson] said to me that he broke his rib in the first round. I told him that it’s not broken because he was talking fine. He was bending over. I’ve broken a few ribs in my day as well guys normally can’t be standing there bending over with a broken rib. Fortunately for him, he went to the hospital and got checked out and cleared. He’s all good. It’s probably just badly bruised.”
With the season halfway done, the former kickboxing great gave his thoughts on the top performers of 2019, and why his list features several returning names.
“Ray Cooper, he came out and did his thing. Sadibou Sy. When we told him we weren’t going to have the middleweight division, I thought he was going up to 205. He said no, he’s going down to 170. So my next question was, ‘Aren’t you too big for 170?’ But apparently he walks around at 185, 190. So out of everybody, I thought he was going to be the concern because he is a tall guy, but man he made weight easy. Those guys from last year. Natan [Schulte] did his thing. Lance Palmer did his thing. Rashid Magomedov again looked great. So some of the guys from last season. It’s like when I competed in K-1 where the top eight guys knew that we wanted to show the newcomers that we belonged. I think that’s what happened in this regular season. Most of the guys that came back from last year came out on top, winning their fights. I think that’s the attitude now. We’re the gatekeepers and you guys will have to earn that spot.”
Check out the rest of Ray Sefo’s post-fight presser above, including how Ronny Markes was nearly cut from the promotion.