The first million-dollar title fight at the PFL Championship 2019 saw Argentina’s Emiliano Sordi finish a spectacular unbeaten run.
Emiliano Sordi wasn’t the most well-known fighter prior to joining the PFL. However, the former Contender Series and Bellator MMA athlete has made the most of things in the 2019 season, winning all four of his fights to earn a spot in the million dollar finale on New Year’s Eve.
Opposite him in the 205lb finale was former UFC standout Jordan Johnson. ‘Big Swingin” left the UFC in 2018 as an undefeated fighter — something nearly unheard of, frankly. That the UFC let a highly valued prospect get away is surprising enough. When Johnson lost to Maxim Grishin in his PFL debut earlier this year, it seemed as if his decision to walk away from the MMA powerhouse had been a mistake.
Yet he did enough in the following bouts (winning his other regular season fight, advancing on a draw in the quarterfinals, then winning his semifinal bout against Rashid Yusupov) to make it to the finale. Should he win the million dollar prize on in New York, he’d earn the kind of money only a few UFC fighters touch in their careers.
It wasn’t to be, however. Not for Johnson on Tuesday night.
Sordi opened the evening’s first title fight at center, with Johnson on the outside. Both men landed single strikes early — a jab for Johnson, a right hand by Sordi. Argentina’s Sordi would fire off a 1-2, while Johnson latched on to a leg and landed the fight’s first takedown. That, however, was short-lived, as Sordi powered right back up to his feet. A second takedown was stuffed, and a third attempt saw Johnson clipped with a punch! Dazed, he changed levels to grab for a leg, but that opened him up to more strikes from Emiliano Sordi. Sordi made no mistake, bludgeoning the former UFC fighter until the ref finally had seen enough.
With the win, Emiliano Sordi completes a perfect season in 2019 — five victories, five stoppages, over fighters including Vinny Magalhães and Bozigit Ataev. He’ll start 2020 a little richer — a million dollars richer.
Official Result: Emiliano Sordi def. Jordan Johnson by TKO, Round 1, 2:01