PFL will wrap up the first phase of their regular season on Friday night with an 11-fight card from the eSports Arena in Arlington, Texas, USA. The card will see lightweight and welterweight fighters take to the PFL cage for the first time this year.
In the main event, two-time champion Kayla Harrison will start her third PFL season against Marina Mokhnatkina.
Follow along throughout the evening for updates on the event.
Preliminary Card (5:30PM EDT / 4:30PM CDT) (ESPN+ / TSN Direct)
Main Card (9:00PM EDT / 8:00PM CDT) (ESPN2 / TSN 2)
Bout 11: Kayla Harrison (12-0) vs. Marina Mokhnatkina (6-2) (Lightweight)
Harrison Opens Third PFL Run With Decision Victory
Two-time PFL Lightweight Champion Kayla Harrison started her third season with a slow-paced victory, controlling Marina Mokhnatkina for a unanimous decision win (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).
Harrison controlled Mokhnatkina through most of the fight in clinch positions up against the cage.
Harrison expressed discontent with the result due to her inactivity during it.
“I think it was utter dogcrap. Sorry to the fans, I wanted to put on a better show for you,” said Harrison in her post-fight interview.
Harrison now has three points in the PFL lightweight division, tying her with four others. She kept her undefeated record intact with the victory, moving herself to 13 consecutive wins since turning pro in 2019.
Harrison picked up four wins last year, all of which came via finish.
Mokhnatkina was making her first PFL regular-season appearance. She won her promotional debut in a non-tournament fight last year, defeating Claudia Zamora.
Bout 10: Ray Cooper III (24-7-1) vs. Carlos Leal (16-3) (Welterweight)
Leal Defeats 2021 Champion Cooper III
Carlos Leal earned a statement win to start his first PFL regular season, defeating 2022 PFL Welterweight Champion Ray Cooper III in a one-sided unanimous decision result (30-26, 30-27 & 29-27).
Leal’s striking dominated the fight against an unusually slower Cooper III. Leal unloaded with combinations at times, landing on the head and body of Cooper III.
Cooper III displayed his toughness in the bout, enduring all three rounds despite some close moments where he could have been finished.
Cooper III even had a moment late in the fight, as he started to connect with his own shots against a tiring Leal.
Even if he won on Friday, Cooper III wouldn’t have the chance to score points. He missed weight by five-and-a-half pounds on Thursday, deducting him a point in the welterweight standings and stopping him from earning points in this bout if he were to emerge victoriously.
Leal, a former LFA Welterweight Champion, joined the PFL regular season after competing twice in their “Challenger Series” earlier this year.
Bout 9: Anthony Pettis (24-12) vs. Myles Price (11-7) (Lightweight)
Pettis Submits Price Early For Long-Awaited First PFL Win
Anthony Pettis put an unfortunate 2021 in the past with his performance on Friday night, submitting Myles Price late in the opening round for his first PFL victory.
Pettis submitted Price in the final minute of the round, catching him with a triangle choke and then moving into full mount with the submission. With nowhere to go, Price tapped to end the fight.
Pettis dominated the fight with his grappling prior to the finish, notching numerous minutes of ground control. The fight initially went to the ground in the opening minute after Price missed a takedown and slipped in the process.
Pettis was coming off an unsuccessful debut year in the PFL, suffering two consecutive losses in the regular season and not making the playoffs.
“Last year didn’t go my way. This season is a whole new season,” said Pettis in his post-fight interview.
Price, a Bellator alum, was competing for the first time since 2019.
Bout 8: Rory MacDonald (22-8-1) vs. Brett Cooper (28-15) (Welterweight)
MacDonald Submits Veteran Cooper Early
Rory MacDonald started his second PFL run on a high note, submitting Brett Cooper in the first round with a rear naked choke.
MacDonald secured a takedown in the opening minute of the fight. He easily moved into full mount and then took the back of Cooper for a rear naked choke.
With the submission under the chin of Cooper, a tap came and MacDonald earned six points in the PFL season.
“I thought I had a pretty flawless victory … Once I established top control I felt pretty confident,” said MacDonald in his post-fight interview.
MacDonald’s first PFL run started in a similar fashion, earning a first-round submission win last year. He was a semi-finalist in the 2021 PFL season but got eliminated from the bracket by Ray Cooper III.
Cooper was coming off a strong PFL debut from last year when he stopped Tyler Hill in the first round.
Bout 7: Larissa Pacheco (15-4) vs. Zamzagul Fayzallanova (7-1) (Lightweight)
Pacheco Earns Six Points With Quick Win
Returning Larissa Pacheco had a quick and easy win to open the main card, stopping promotional newcomer Zamzagul Fayzallanova in the second minute with punches.
Pacheco backed Fayzallanova up with a right cross early, causing her to turn her back to Pacheco. Just a second later she floored Fayzallanova with a right hook, causing the fight to end.
The quick and explosive punches of Pacheco gave her a quick start to the fight: Fayzallanova was backed up in the opening minute as Pacheco pressed forward with hard shots.
Pacheco had a strong regular season in the PFL last year, earning two first-round finish wins. She didn’t compete in the playoffs later that year, as she was cut from the bracket after missing weight for her semi-final fight.
Pacheco was a massive favorite for her fight, with some sportsbooks putting her as high as +1000.
Fayzallanova was given a shot in this PFL season after picking up a series of wins on the regional scene. However, it’s worth noting that most names that Fayzallanova beat had little pro experience.
Bout 6: Joao Zeferino (26-9) vs. Dilano Taylor (8-1) (Welterweight)
PFL Newcomer Taylor Takes Split Decision Over Zeferino
Dilano Taylor scored a big win to finish the prelims, taking a split decision win against Joao Zeferino to start his PFL season (29-28 Zeferino, 29-28 Taylor & 29-28 Taylor).
Taylor was the better striker during the bout, being more engaging on the feet throughout. Zeferino was more focused on getting the fight to the ground, shooting for numerous takedowns and landing with a few.
Zeferino’s best moment came early, as he attempted an armbar that nearly caught Taylor. However, Taylor was able to escape the submission and return to his feet.
Taylor took his fight this weekend on short notice, stepping in to replace Magomed Magomedkerimov. He was joining the promotion after a career in Titan FC and one appearance on the promotion’s “Challenger Series.”
Zeferino earned two wins in the regular season last year but had to withdraw from the playoffs later that year.
Bout 5: Genah Fabian (4-2) vs. Julia Budd (16-3) (Lightweight)
Fabian Defeats Former Bellator Champion Budd
Genah Fabian picked up the biggest win of her career thus far on Friday, defeating former Bellator Featherweight Champion Julia Budd with a unanimous decision fight (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
Budd had the advantage on the ground early, while the striking skills on the feet from Fabian allowed her to control the second round. Fabian likely took the final round of the fight as well, earning a dominant position on the ground and landing punches from there.
Fabian didn’t get any points for her win on Friday due to missing weight for the bout. On top of that, she was also deducted one point in the standings.
Budd was appearing in her second PFL bout on Friday. She won a non-tournament fight last year, defeating Kaitlin Young.
Fabian made it to the playoffs last year, where she was eliminated in the semi-finals by Kayla Harrison.
Bout 4: Sadibou Sy (9-6-2) vs. Nikolay Aleksakhin (26-6) (Welterweight)
Sy Defeats Aleksakhin In Rematch
The close decisions on Friday’s prelims continued when Sadibou Sy took a split decision victory over Nikolay Aleksakhin (29-28 Sy, 30-27 Aleksakhin & 29-28 Sy).
Both welterweights showcased a variety of skills during their fight, using both takedowns and striking. Aleksakhin was picked by the entire PFL analyst desk before the decision was read.
The fight on Friday was a rematch from PFL’s 2021 season. The first meeting between Sy and Aleksakhin ended in a no-contest due to an eye poke.
Both fighters didn’t qualify for the regular season, both earning a loss in their other fight that year.
Bout 3: Gleison Tibau (36-15) vs. Jarrah Al-Silawi (17-3) (Welterweight)
‘Challenger Series’ Alum Al-Silawi Defeats Tibau
Jarrah Al-Silawi beat a veteran in his first PFL regular season fight, sneaking by Gleison Tibau with a split decision result (30-27 Tibau, 29-28 Al-Silawi & 29-28 Al-Silawi).
Al-Silawi had a close battle against Tibau on the feet in the first and second rounds. The bout was slow-paced in the first round and picked up somewhat in the second frame.
Tibau had the edge in the third round, using takedowns to notch numerous minutes of ground control against Al-Silawi.
Al-Silawi secured a PFL spot on the “Challenger Series” show earlier this year, finishing Michael Lilly in the first round of a bout.
Tibau was returning for his second PFL season. He notably scored a controversial decision win over Rory MacDonald last year.
Bout 2: Olena Kolesnyk (5-4) vs. Abby Montes (3-0) (Lightweight)
Kolesnyk Earns First PFL Win, Hands Montes First Loss
Olena Kolesnyk had a hard-fought victory on Friday night, taking a split decision victory over Abby Montes for three points.
Kolesnyk and Montes were in a fast-paced striking battle throughout the fight. The fight became close at times,
Kolesnyk earned her first PFL victory with the decision on Friday. She was unsuccessful in the 2021 season, suffering two consecutive losses.
Montes won her PFL debut last year, defeating pro boxer Claressa Shields via unanimous decision in a non-tournament fight.
Bout 1: Vanessa Melo (11-8) vs. Martina Jindrova (4-2) (Lightweight)
Jindrove Beats UFC Alum On Scorecards
Martina Jindrova earned three points in the PFL lightweight division to start the card, defeating UFC alum Vanessa Melo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).
All three rounds of the fight took place on the feet. In these positions, Jindrova had a higher output of shots and connected much more frequently than Melo. While she never had Melo particularly hurt during the fight, her dominance meant that it was a one-sided result in the end.
Melo was making her first PFL appearance after a four-fight UFC run. Her previous fight was a unanimous decision victory over Sarah Moras in early 2021.
Jindrova secured a PFL contract earlier in the year, defeating Jacqueline Cavalcanti on the promotion’s “Challenger Series” program.