Fight Facts: PFL 7 2019 Playoffs 1

By: Jay Pettry
Oct 14, 2019

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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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The Professional Fighters League on Friday kicked off its 2019 playoffs in the welterweight and women’s lightweight divisions, where there were surprises in store for everyone. PFL 7 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas featured the biggest betting favorite in tournament history, an upset breaking up a match that was almost a foregone conclusion and the shortest-lived retirement we have ever seen.

PRIDE WILL DEFINITELY NEVER DIE: Responding to concerns from Season 1, the PFL changed the tiebreaker rule for the playoffs in 2019. Instead of the winner of the first round taking the bout, if a fight is scored a draw, it then returns to the judges to be scored in its entirety, as though it were contested under Pride Fighting Championships rules.

TOP SEED IS A RUSE: In five of the six weight classes during the 2018 season, the No. 1 seed advanced to the final, although only one of the five came out with the win. At PFL 7, top-seeded Glaico Franca lost to fifth-seeded David Michaud in the welterweight semifinals, while top-seeded Sarah Kaufman dropped a decision to fourth-seeded Larissa Pacecho in the women’s lightweight tournament.

BRADDA BOMBER: Ray Cooper III knocked out Chris Curtis in the semifinals to earn a place in the Dec. 31 welterweight final, and in doing so, he recorded his fifth knockout in PFL. This is the most in divisional history.

FUTURE UFC CONTENDER COMING RIGHT UP: With five knockouts in the PFL cage now, Cooper tied Marlon Moraes for the second-most in promotional history. Only Justin Gaethje holds more with nine.

GOOD CORNERING: Although the knockout took place in the second period, Cooper’s finish of Curtis was the quickest to start off a later round, needing just 11 seconds to get it done. Previously, Matthew Frincu held that record, having flattened Eric Regan with a head kick 14 seconds into Round 2 at WSOF 19 in 2015.

CATCHING UP ON TITO: When Curtis lost earlier on the card, he retired with a post on Instagram thanking everyone for their support. Minutes later, he discovered that Magomed Magomedkerimov could not continue, so Curtis came back and took that spot in the semifinals, only to lose by knockout. Although he reportedly retired again, his Instagram page has since been deleted and all of his posts on Twitter were deleted back to August. If Curtis did retire twice, he would likely go down as one of the only fighters in MMA history to ever hang up the gloves twice in one night.

AT LEAST YOU TRIED: Curtis dropped a decision to Magomedkerimov in the quarterfinals and then, thanks to serving as an injury replacement, faced Cooper and lost again. He is the third fighter in organizational history to drop two bouts on the same night, joining Thiago Tavares from the 2018 tournament and Jorge Patino at WSOF 25 in 2015.

THIS MUST BE A JOKE: Mere days before the fight, Genah Fabian pulled out of her semifinal matchup against Kayla Harrison because she was having trouble with weight, thereby ejecting her from the $1 million tournament. In her stead came Bobbi Jo Dalziel, who fared poorly against the unbeaten Olympian.

KAYLA TYSON: As her opponent stepped in on extremely short notice, Harrison closed as an unbelievable -5000 favorite. She proved the odds were justified, quickly tapping Dalziel in the opening round. With these odds, she becomes the biggest betting favorite in company history, surpassing Andre Harrison’s -4500 encounter with Jumabieke Tuerxun in 2018.

SHE WILL BE DOING THIS FOR A LONG TIME: Harrison remained undefeated at 6-0 by tapping Dalziel with a first-round armbar. It was Harrison’s fifth win by stoppage and the fourth in the opening stanza.

DRAWING RONDA COMPARISONS: After submitting Dalziel, Harrison is the first fighter in promotional history to submit multiple opponents with armbars. She previously tapped Brittany Elkin with one at PFL 2 2018.

HER ACHILLES ARM: As her loss came by armbar, Dalziel is the first fighter in the PFL to ever drop multiple bouts via armbar. Pacheco submitted Dalziel with one at PFL 4 2019. Those two losses by that maneuver are the only two defeats in her career.

THE ONLY ONE TO BEAT HIM IS HIMSELF: Although ultimately forced to withdraw from the tournament, Magomedkerimov beat Curtis by unanimous verdict to earn his ninth win in the PFL cage. Only three other fighters have better records without having lost in PFL history: Moraes (11 wins), Gaethje (10 wins) and David Branch (10 wins).

LESS DRAWING, MORE WINNING AND LOSING: Only one tournament bout was scored a draw at PFL 7 2019: Cooper vs. Sadibou Sy. The judges selected Cooper to advance to the semifinals. This was in contrast to the previous season, where every playoff event featured at least two draws.

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN: Coming into PFL 7 2019, Curtis had never been knocked out (28 fights), Dalziel had never lost consecutive bouts (six fights) and Andre Fialho had never dropped a decision (12 fights).

Sherdog contributing editor Jay Pettry is an attorney and a statistician. Writing about MMA since he started studying the “Eminem Curse” in 2012 and working 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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