After some close action early, Jordan Johnson poured it on in the second half of his semifinal fight with Rashid Yusupov at PFL 9 2019.
Having won their respective first fights earlier in the evening, Jordan Johnson and Rashid Yusupov met in semifinal action at PFL 9 2019. The American vs. Russian match-up was the result of a pair of upsets, and saw the #6 and #7 seeds battling for a spot in the finale.
The opening round of Yusupov vs. Johnson started out with a feeling out process. Rashid Yusupov kept his opponent on the outside; when Johnson closed the distance, Yusupov escaped. Single strike exchanges dotted the opening minute, with little damage done. Yusupov tried to catch a kick, but that did not deter Johnson from firing another to the body. A wild shot in was easily evaded by Yusupov, but Johnson finally caught his opponent with a leg kick, and let his hands go after. Yusupov escaped before Johnson could convert to a takedown. The Russian would finish the round with a spinning kick to the midsection.
In the second, Johnson pressed the action, keeping Yusupov’s back to the cage. Once again, not a ton of damage was done early, but Johnson seemed to be finding his range and timing. He’d shoot in for a takedown midway through the round, getting his opponent down, only for Yusupov to pop back up. Johnson would drag him down again, controlling and peppering him with punches as Yusupov covered up and got back to his feet. Johnson was imposing his will in the clinch, adding some loud foot stomps for good measure.
Round three looked as if it might be the deciding factor in this first of two light heavyweight semifinals. Johnson attacked the legs with kicks, pressing forward, driving Yusupov back and landing a takedown. Getting to mount, Johnson had Yusupov upright against the fence, with plenty of time to work. The position negated putting too much on his punches, but Yusupov was soon covering up. Johnson took the back, getting in more ground n’ pound. Yusupov would survive, but Johnson remained on top of him, eventually in half guard. Try as he might, Yusupov could not scramble out, Johnson remaining on him. At the end of the round, Johnson was firing away, making a statement in the final round.
Official Result: Jordan Johnson def. Rashid Yusupov by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)