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Jared Rosholt badly needed a win in order to squeak into the Professional Fighters League's heavyweight playoff bracket and in the main event of PFL 6: 2019 Regular Season on Thursday night, and he did just that inside Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City.
Rosholt (18-7) used a better overall grappling game behind four total takedowns to nullify much of what Satoshi Ishii (22-9-1) tried over three rounds. Ishii, an Olympic gold medal-winning judoka from Japan, looked fatigued early in the matchup and never got anything going offensively. Rosholt landed dozens of short punches in the clinch and did enough to win a unanimous decision, which he did via tallies of 29-28 (twice) and 30-27. The win gave Rosholt three points and a spot in the post-season; Ishii was already in.
The last time Vinny Magalhaes fought Rakim Cleveland, he landed a sensational flying triangle kimura to end things. Tonight, it wasn't quite as impressive, but he still subbed Cleveland in the first round in the ESPN+ co-feature. Magalhaes (19-11, 1 NC) took "The Boogeyman" down and quickly moved to top control, where he began with a kimura, but quickly transitioned to a textbook armbar. Cleveland (19-13-1) had no choice but to tap out, ending the fight at 1:56. The win gave "Pezao" six points and a spot in the light heavyweight playoffs.
In a Russian matchup that could have gone either way, it was Viktor Nemkov who prevailed by the thinnest of margins. After foe Rashid Yusupov (11-2) had early control with a better overall striking game, Nemkov turned the tables by rocking Yusupov with a hard right to the head. The third saw both men land clean punches and kicks, but Nemkov (28-7) did just a bit more and won via split decision. While one judge had it 29-28 for Yusupov, the other two turned in the same score for Nemkov, who earned three points and landed in the light heavyweight playoffs.
After fending off and eventually escaping a tight arm-in guillotine in the first round, Ali Isaev turned the tables on Samoa's Carl Seumanutafa (12-11) and nearly stopped him. Isaev (6-0) slammed several clean punches onto his foe's head and then locked in an arm-triangle choke, but "Badwater" escaped. From there, the Russian slowed down the action and controlled the pace, mostly on the ground after takedowns. In the end, Isaev won a unanimous decision via tallies of 30-27 (twice) and 29-28 to earn three points and a spot in the heavyweight playoffs.
Maxim Grishin improved to 30-7-1 with a 48-second destruction of Mikhail Mokhnatkin (11-5-2) in a Russia-vs.-Russia matchup. "Maximus" detonated a right-handed bomb square on Mokhnatkin's jaw, sending him flat onto his back and prompting referee Bill Bookwalter to end it. The knockout handed Grishin six points and a spot in the light heavyweight playoffs.
Muhammed DeReese was getting bested on the feet for the first two minutes of his fight with Valdrin Istrefi (13-4), but all it took was one punch to change things. "Mo Muscle" drilled his Liechtensteiner adversary with a straight right hand to the face, dropping him. From there, DeReese (8-1) pounced and unloaded several follow-up punches until Bookwalter pulled him off, ending the fight at 2:06 of the first. The knockout gave DeReese six points and a spot in the heavyweight playoff bracket.
Umar Nurmagomedov (11-0) was dominant against Sidemar Honorio in a special bantamweight attraction, winning a lopsided unanimous decision. The Russian landed dozens of kicks to the head and body and whenever the fight was taken to the canvas, Nurmagomedov easily controlled the pace. Honorio (13-7) never got things going and Nurmagomedov won via tallies of 30-27 across the board.
In the featured preliminary bout that was televised on ESPN2, it was Brazil's Francimar Barroso (24-7) who out-pointed fellow heavyweight Ben Edwards (3-1) over three rounds. Barroso controlled the distance throughout and won a rather easy unanimous decision to earn three points, which clinched him a spot in the heavyweight playoffs.
Denis Goltsov (24-5) scored a slick submission via Ezekiel choke in the second round against Kelvin Tiller (11-3). "The Russian Bogatyr" nabbed the win at the 3:40 mark of the frame, earning five points and the No. 1 overall seed in the heavyweight playoffs.
Emiliano Sordi blew apart Bozigit Ataev (20-4) with a blitzkrieg of punches, ending things in just 83 seconds. The first-round decimation allowed Sordi (19-8) to not only earn six points, but also the No. 1 seed in the light heavyweight bracket of the PFL playoffs.
Also in preliminary action, Alex Nicholson (14-8) took out Ezekiel Tuinei-Wily (3-3) with punches at 3:07 of the first to scoop up six points and a spot in the heavyweight playoffs. Lastly, Jordan Johnson (11-1) defeated Sigi Pesaleli (3-2) via unanimous decision (30-27 x3) to earn three points and a spot in the light heavyweight division.