Kayla Harrison has the look of a runaway train in the Professional Fighters League.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist dispatched Cindy Dandois with an armbar in the first round of their PFL 6 headliner on Friday at the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Just the second woman to submit the Belgian in mixed martial arts competition, Harrison (10-0, 9-0 PFL) brought it to a close 4:44 into Round 1.
Dandois (16-7, 0-2 PFL) never presented much of a threat. Harrison assumed top position after a failed takedown attempt from the “Battlecat,” advanced to side control and applied the heavy ground-and-pound for which she has become known. She eventually stood above Dandois, connected with a sweeping left hand and achieved full mount with roughly a minute remaining in the first round. Harrison went to work with punches once more, sat back on the armbar and prompted the tapout.
Meanwhile, former Titan Fighting Championship titleholder Raush Manfio sprang the upset and captured a split decision from Anthony Pettis in the lightweight co-main event. All three judges struck 29-28 scorecards, two of them siding with Manfio (13-3, 2-0 PFL).
The first two rounds were closely contested, with neither man gaining a discernible advantage. Manfio hit the accelerator in the third, where he drove the Roufusport standout to the canvas with a multi-punch burst inside the first minute. He allowed Pettis to stand, then let punches fly with both hands, pinned “Showtime” to the fence and floored him with a close-range knee strike. Manfio flurried in a bid to finish, then eased off the gas once it became clear his opponent had recovered. Pettis (24-12, 0-2 PFL) responded with leg kicks and chopping right hands but failed to exact enough damage to curry the necessary favor with two of the judges.
Manfio has rattled off five wins across his last six outings.
Elsewhere, Movlid Khaybulaev kept his perfect professional record intact with a unanimous decision over two-time defending PFL champion Lance Palmer in a three-round lightweight feature. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for the undefeated Khaybulaev (17-0-1, 3-0-1 PFL).
Palmer (22-5, 11-2 PFL) landed on occasion, often in single strikes, and even knocked the Khabib Nurmagomedov protégé off-balance with a counter left hook in the first round. However, Khaybulaev altered the direction of the match in the middle stanza, where he engaged the four-time NCAA All-American wrestler in the clinch and flexed his superiority in the grappling exchanges. He spent the final five minutes dictating terms with his standup, as he uncorked combinations with his hands, delivered a few low kicks and cut loos with the occasional spinning attack.
The 33-year-old Palmer has lost back-to-back bouts for the first time in his career.
Finally, former Absolute Championship Berkut titleholder Denis Goltsov put away Brandon Sayles with punches in the third round of their heavyweight showcase. Sayles (6-2, 1-1 PFL) succumbed to blows 1:24 into Round 3, suffering his first defeat in more than nine years.
After a slow start, Goltsov (27-6, 5-1 PFL) found another gear in the second round. There, he softened Sayles with devastating jabs and low kicks, executed a trip takedown, climbed to full mount and threatened with multiple Ezekiel chokes. While his efforts did not produce a finish, they bled Sayles’ gas tank dry. Goltsov followed a two-punch combination with a head kick to the face early in Round 3. He then swooped in for another takedown against the fading Hawaiian, assumed a dominant position at the base of the fence and unleashed his ground-and-pound until the deal was sealed.
Goltsov, 30, has won eight of his last nine fights.
In other action, Bruno Henrique Cappelozza (12-5, 2-0 PFL) blew away Muhammed DeReese (8-4, 3-4 PFL) with punches and a follow-up head kick 2:21 into the first round of their featured heavyweight prelim; Larissa Pacheco (15-4, 4-2 PFL) waylaid Helena Kolesnyk (5-4, 0-2 PFL) with a one-punch knockout 4:48 into the first round of their women’s lightweight match; Ante Delija (18-4, 2-1 PFL) dismissed Chandler Cole (8-3, 0-1 PFL) with punches 4:39 into the first round of their heavyweight battle; Genah Fabian (4-1, 3-1 PFL) wiped out Julija Pajic (3-2, 0-2 PFL) with punches 4:16 into the second round of their women’s lightweight scrap; Renan Ferreira (7-2, 1-0 PFL) laid claim to a unanimous verdict over Carl Seumanutafa (12-13, 0-3 PFL) in a three-round heavyweight encounter, drawing 30-26 scores across the board; Taylor Guardado (2-1, 2-0 PFL) took a unanimous decision from Laura Sanchez (1-2, 0-2 PFL) in a three-round women’s lightweight affair, earning 30-27 marks from all three judges; Jamelle Jones (11-6, 1-0 PFL) put away Klidson Abreu (15-5, 0-1 PFL) with hammerfists 1:43 into the first round of their heavyweight pairing; and Mariana Morais (17-11, 1-1 PFL) eked out a split decision—30-27, 28-29, 29-28—over Kaitlin Young (12-11-1, 1-1 PFL) in a three-round women’s lightweight tilt.