Former UFC fighter Impa Kasanganay defeated former LFA double champion and a son of well-known MMA coach, Josh Silveira, for the PFL light-heavyweight title and one million dollars at Friday’s PFL Championship in Washington, D.C.
At one point most known for his highlight reel knockout loss to Joaquin Buckley, Impa Kasanganay turned his fortunes around after leaving the UFC by winning four straight PFL fights to get to the 205lb world championship fight. That was all the more impressive due to the fact he competed at 170lbs in the UFC. Josh Silveira also moved up in weight at one point; he won his first LFA title at middleweight before winning a second belt up a weight class, and he continued that success when the PFL signed him.
Josh Silveira clinched up early but it was Impa who landed the takedown. However Silveira scrambled back to his feet. Kasanganay pushed forward behind combination punches while Silveira was on the defensive. Though he blocked many shots, the sheet volume troubles Joshua. He landed some strikes of his own, but it was Impa who controlled the action until Silveira landed a single leg takedown halfway through the round. In a scramble he tried to get on the back, fell off, went for a triangle choke, and got put on bottom. He did not stay down for long however, as he wrestled up to the feet. Impa once again pressed forward on the feet but Silveira let his hands go more as well in the last minute. Still Impa looked more composed and comfortable in striking. That and the damage factor likely banked him the opening round.
The second round started with more of the same as Impa Kasanganay cracked Silveira early and kept pouring it on. Silveira had his successes but ate at least two blows for every one he put on Kasanganay. Josh got in deep on a double but Impa had success pushing him down at first, however Silveira did not give up and chain wrestled to get a takedown. However Impa got his feet on the hips of his foe, pushed off, and stood up. A cheer ran through the crowd of, “Let’s go Impa,” at that point. It continued as he continued to outstrike Silveira in a manner both collected and damaging for the rest of the round.
More combinations from Kasanganay affected Silveira in round three while most of the shots that came back seemed to fall just short as Impa bounced out of range.He tried to do the same when Silveira shot a takedown one minute into the round and was able to avoid getting taken to the ground, even landing a takedown of his own after turning a defense with underhooks into securing a rear body-lock. From there, Impa rode the back of Joshua without putting hooks in. When Silveira stood up, Kasanganay slammed home an uppercut and got back to business with his hands. Impa stuffed another level change easily and looked to lock up a rear-naked choke with no hooks in at first. Silveira turned and escaped the choke but Impa rolled with him and held him down from on his back still. Kasanganay turned to the front as Josh stood and attempted a standing arm triangle but Silveira went back to his knees to escape.
Down three rounds to nil, Joshua Silveira needed a finish to have a shot at one million dollars. Like every other round, nothing Silveira did on the fourth gained him respect from Impa, who damaged his foe early and often. His pressure lessened someone but his offense did not, and his defense remained stout again as Silveira did not even seriously attempt a takedown in the entire fourth round.
The final round saw Silveira try to put paws on Impa, but his looser sort of striking could not beat the tight, honed composure of Kasanganay in the biggest fight of his life. Even when he connected it did not seem Silveira had the energy or stopping power to seriously hurt Impa, who stuffed a takedown ninety seconds in. As with the whole fight, ones and twos from Impa got the job done. The less wasted movement the better, and his speed won him the night. That mattered way more than being the somewhat smaller man. Silveira’s toughness, chin, and heart to keep going for it after losing five straight rounds should be commended, but he got effectively shut out of the fight by the end.
The second title fight of six on the evening concluded with Kasanganay being presented with a massive check for one million dollars as each judge scored the fight 50-45. After which, the newly crowned champ called out his Bellator MMA counterpart, Vadim Nemkov, and fearsome heavyweight Francis Ngannou.