One of mixed martial arts' brightest young prospects remained unbeaten as Kayla Harrison dominated Larissa Pacheco in the main event of the first Professional Fighters League card of the 2019 season at NYCB Live at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
Harrison, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in judo, did virtually whatever she wanted against Pacheco (11-3) and rag-dolled her for three rounds. Pacheco never gave up, though, and hung tough for 15 grueling minutes, but she was never able to get anything going offensively against Harrison, who was much stronger in the contest.
Harrison (4-0) wasn't able to finish off her Brazilian counterpart and had to settle for a lopsided unanimous decision victory instead. Two cageside judges favored Harrison 30-27 while the third official had it 30-25 for the Ohioan, who picked up three points in the PFL women's lightweight regular season, capping off a solid night of MMA on ESPN2.
Reigning PFL welterweight monarch Magomed Magomedkerimov picked up where he left off after winning last year's 170-pound Grand Prix by disposing of John Howard in the closing seconds of the first round. Magomedkerimov (24-5) scored an early takedown and mauled "Doomsday" on the canvas. The Russian took his time with Howard (27-15-1) but once he saw an opening to end the fight, he pounced. Magomedkerimov seized Howard's neck and applied a guillotine, eventually forcing the Bostonian to bow out at the 4:54 mark. Magomedkerimov nabbed six regular season points with the first-round finish.
In a matchup of bickering second-cousins, it was last year's welterweight runner-up Ray Cooper III who bested fellow Hawaiian Zane Kamaka. The two adversaries talked plenty of trash leading up to their scuffle, but "Bradda Boy" landed the harder strikes and controlled the action and positioning on the ground. After softening up Kamaka (13-4) with strikes on the canvas, Cooper III (18-5) seized his back and sunk in a rear-naked choke. "Waianae's Bad Boy" immediately tapped out, ending the rivalry at 4:29 of the second and picking up five points in the process.
A longtime veteran of MMA and champion for three different promotions, Sarah Kaufman made it look too easy against rising prospect Morgan Frier. Kaufman (21-4) landed a few moderate strikes before taking "Mad Dog" to the canvas and from there, the Canadian cut through her like a knife through warm butter. Kaufman moved to full mount and then latched on a textbook arm-triangle choke, sinking it in deep. Frier (4-2) tried fighting through the choke but eventually had to bow out, ending the battle at 2:22 of the first. Kaufman nabbed six points in the women's lightweight regular season with the submission win.
Welterweight Sadibou Sy picked up an easy six points in the regular season by scoring one of the quickest knockouts in PFL history. "The Swedish Denzel Washington" landed a pair of low kicks and then dropped David Michaud (14-5) with a crushing left kick to the liver. From there, Sy (8-4) tossed out follow-up punches until referee Rob Hinds intervened, ending the contest in just 17 seconds.
On the preliminary card on ESPN+, welterweight Handesson Ferreira (14-2) was too much for veteran Bojan Velickovic (16-9-2) to handle as he won every minute of every round. "Boy Doido" landed far more strikes and did virtually whatever he wanted inside the cage, save for stopping "Serbian Steel." In the end, all three judges saw it 30-27 for Ferreria, who earned three points in the 170-pound division with the win.
Canada's Bobbi Jo Dalziel improved to 4-0 by toppling Genah Fabian (1-1) via unanimous over three rounds. Dalziel landed more effective strikes and controlled the pace of the lightweight bout just enough to win via scores of 30-27 and 29-28 (twice); she took home three points as well.
Brazil's Glaico Franca (20-5) made it look easy against Gamzat Khiramagomedov (6-1) as he dispatched him in the opening frame. "Brazilian Zombie" took the Russian off his feet, slid to his back and eventually sunk in a rear-naked choke to force the tap. The end came at 4:06 of the round, giving Franca six points for the first-round finish.
Chris Curtis tore into Andre Fialho early and often in their welterweight tussle, but it took him until deep into the third to score the win. "Action Man" rocked the Portuguese fighter with punches to the head and once Fialho (10-2) was knocked off his feet, Curtis (21-5) continued punching until referee Yves Lavigne halted it. The end came at 4:17 of the third, allowing Curtis to earn four points in the welterweight division.
Finally, lightweight Roberta Samad (5-1) dominated Moriel Charneski (3-6) for three rounds to win a lopsided unanimous decision. The Brazilian scored multiple takedowns and threatened with various submissions to win 30-27 on all three official scorecards and take home three points the 155-pound division.