Fight Facts: 2018 Season PFL Championships

By: Jay Pettry
Jan 3, 2019
Fight Facts is a breakdown of all of the interesting information and cage curiosities on every card, with some puns, references and portmanteaus to keep things fun. These deep stat dives delve into the numbers, providing historical context and telling the stories behind those numbers.

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TOTAL NUMBER OF PFL FIGHTS: 483
TOTAL NUMBER OF PFL EVENTS: 49

The Professional Fighters League wrapped up its 2018 campaign in emphatic fashion at the 2018 PFL Championships on New Year’s Eve in New York. The event featured more titles up for grabs in one night than any other major promotion on record, a rare title fight ending in one punch and one of the winningest fighters in company history taking back his championship.

ALL I SEE IS GOLD: With six belts on the line, the 2018 PFL Championships featured the most title fights on a single card in major MMA promotional history. The Ultimate Fighting Championship, World Extreme Cagefighting, Pride Fighting Championships, Strikeforce, One Championship, Bellator MMA, Invicta Fighting Championshipsand Dream each had never had more than three belts on the line in one night. Meanwhile, KSW put five on the line at KSW 39 in 2017, with a sixth bout at a catchweight between two other champs.

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY: With six title fights and one women’s lightweight bout, the seven fights marked the fewest on a Professional Fighters League card since a PFL Fight Night event staged only four bouts in November 2017.

MY ONLY WEAKNESS: Ray Cooper III ran through the welterweight bracket with four knockouts but lost by submission to Magomed Magomedkerimov in the final. All four of Cooper’s career stoppage losses have come by submission.

HOW DID YOU KNOW?: Meanwhile at light heavyweight, Vinny Magalhaes also dominated the competition with four first-round submissions but was knocked out by Sean O'Connell in the tournament final. All four of Magalhaes’ career stoppage losses have come by strikes.

THE GRAND UNIFIED THEORY: Both Lance Palmer and O'Connell had to defeat the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 7 seeds to win their respective tournaments.

TOO CUDDLY FOR HIS OWN GOOD: Philipe Lins’ knockout of Josh Copeland 30 seconds into the fourth round marked the fourth-latest finish in promotional history and the latest at heavyweight.

KNEED A LIGHT?: By putting away Copeland with knees and follow-up punches, Lins became the sixth fighter in World Series of Fighting-PFL history to finish his opponent with multiple knees.

NOBODY PUTS VINNY IN A CORNER: When Magalhaes’ corner intervened to save him from further damage, the longtime Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt became the second fighter in promotional history to lose by corner stoppage. The first occurred at WSOF 7 in 2013, when Brendan Kornberger forced Mikah Brakefield’s corner to throw in the towel.

SCHULTE FARMS: In picking up a decision win over Rashid Magomedov to win the lightweight title, Natan Schulte now has six wins by submission, five by decision and four by knockout. In his career, he has dropped three bouts, including two by stoppage. He also has one draw, which came during the PFL tournament against Johnny Case.

HE JUST WANTS TO PARTY: Palmer picked up his 10th win in the WSOF-PFL, good for the most on the active roster. “The Party” is now the fourth fighter in company history to earn at least 10 wins.

LANCE-A-LOT OF BELTS: By beating Steven Siler by decision in the featherweight tournament final, Palmer became the first three-time champion in a single weight class in WSOF-PFL history.

MILLION DOLLAR KNOCKOUT: In starching Abusupiyan Magomedov with a single punch, Louis Taylor became the first fighter in organizational history to win a championship bout with a one-punch knockout.

COMPETING WITH MYSELF: In winning by knockout in 33 seconds, Taylor earned the second-fastest finish in WSOF-PFL middleweight history. He trails only his own 2016 victory against Cory Devela, whom he put to sleep with a guillotine choke in 29 seconds at WSOF 29. It is also the 10-fastest finish overall.

LUCKIER SEVEN: Taylor recorded his seventh win by knockout in his career when he knocked out “Abus” Magomedov. He also holds seven victories by submission.

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN: Coming into the 2018 PFL Championships, “Abus” Magomedov had never been knocked out (26 fights), Moriel Charneski had never been finished (seven fights) and Lins (16 fights) and Schulte (18 fights) had never fought beyond the third round.

Jay Pettry is an attorney and a statistician. Writing about MMA since he started studying the “Eminem Curse” in 2012, and writing for Vice Sports and Combat Docket along the way, he put together many fight result and entrance music databases to better study the sport. You can find him on Twitter at @jaypettry.

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