The semi-final portion of PFL’s 2022 playoffs wrapped up on Saturday night from the Copper Box Arena in London, England. The event confirmed the men’s featherweight and women’s lightweight grand final bouts, which will take place in October this year.
At lightweight, undefeated two-time champion Kayla Harrison punched her ticket to the finals, along with long-time rival Larissa Pacheco. Featherweights Brendan Loughnane and Bubba Jenkins also advanced to the finals by winning their respective bouts.
Harrison Submits Jindrova, Advances To Third Finals
Kayla Harrison came one step closer to becoming a three-time PFL Lightweight Champion on Saturday night, submitting Martina Jindrova in the first round to advance to the promotion’s 2022 grand finals.
Harrison put on a quick performance against Jindrova, submitting her early on.
Harrison earned a takedown in the opening moments of their fight. Her suffocating control on the ground allowed her to move into full mount, where she secured an arm triangle choke to finish the fight.
Harrison’s final fight of the year will be a rematch from her 2019 championship bout, facing Larissa Pacheco once again. Their prior grand final meeting saw Harrison pick up a win, going five rounds for a unanimous decision result.
Harrison entered the tournament this year as a third seed. She scored a pair of regular season wins, defeating Marina Mokhnatkina and Kaitlin Young.
Loughnane Gets Scorecard Nod Over Wade For Grand Final Spot
Brendan Loughnane secured his first-ever PFL grand final spot in Saturday’s co-main event, prevailing in a stand-up battle against Chris Wade
Loughnane landed the better shots in the three-round featherweight bout. The fight was close to start, although Loughnane was slowly able to take control of the battle as time passed. By the end of the bout, Loughnane seemingly had a comfortable lead on scorecards.
“I knew this was going to be a tough day at the office,” said Loughnane in his post-fight interview “But the hard work shows.”
Loughnane won his two previous fights earlier in this PFL season.
The UFC alum has never made it to the finals of a PFL season before. He was disqualified from the semi-finals of the 2021 season, dropping a split decision to Movlid Khaybulaev.
Wade, a PFL veteran, was appearing in the playoffs for the fourth time in his career.
Pacheco Continues Dominant Run
Larissa Pacheco made it to the PFL grand finals for the second time this weekend, earning a first-round finish victory over Olena Kolesnyk.
Pacheco stopped Kolesnyk in just over two minutes, seating her with a series of hooks to the head.
Saturday was the second time that Pacheco and Kolesnyk had met in the PFL cage. Their previous bout was in 2021 when Pacheco earned a finish late in the first round of a bout.
Pacheco is now on a five-fight winning streak, with all of those bouts coming via finish. She made it into the 2022 playoffs with two quick outings earlier this year, defeating Genah Fabian and Zamzagul Fayzallanova.
Pacheco’s prior PFL grand final appearance came in 2019 when she lost to Kayla Harrison. She made it into the playoffs last year as well but was pulled from the bracket after missing weight for her semi-final bout.
Kolesnyk’s decision victories over Abby Montes and Vanessa Melo earned her a playoff spot this year.
Jenkins Earns Grand Final Spot With Early Submission
Bubba Jenkins had an impressive performance to secure a featherweight grand final spot on Saturday night, submitting Ryoji Kudo early with a rear naked choke.
While returning to the feet after being in a ground position, Jenkins mounted the back of Kudo for a rear naked choke attempt. Remaining focused on the choke, Jenkins went to the ground while on the back of Kudo.
The choke was entirely under the chin of Kudo, causing a tap to end the fight.
Jenkins came into the postseason following a strong regular season, beating Kyle Bochniak and Reinaldo Ekson on scorecards. The win on Saturday marks the first time that Jenkins has made it to the finals through two PFL runs.
Kudo earned a playoff spot in June due to his first-round finish performance against Alejandro Flores.
Ditcheva Finishes Gaber Within A Minute
Dakota Ditcheva had a fast win in her showcase bout against Hassna Gaber, finishing the flyweight in just 58 seconds.
Gaber was hurt during a clinch exchange in the opening minute, getting hit clean in the stomach with a knee. In response to this shot, Gaber motioned to the referee that she was out of the fight. Ditcheva was able to land one more shot before the referee stepped in to end the bout.
Ditcheva has now picked up six wins since debuting just over a year ago. Her previous fight was in March, defeating Paula Cristina on a UAE Warriors card.
Gaber entered this weekend with a record of four wins and just one loss.
Undefeated Powell Stops Fagundes With Leg Kicks
Undefeated light heavyweight Simeon Powell showcased his striking skills in the opening bout of the main card, putting away Joao Paulo Fagundes in the second round.
Powell finished Fagundes with leg kicks in the second frame. The fight became alarming for Fagundes early in the second round, as he fell to the canvas after taking a leg kick.
After he was stood up by the referee, another leg kick seated Fagundes once again, causing the fight to end.
Powell was also able to succeed with his punches earlier in the fight, notably putting together hard ground and pound late in the first round.
Powell’s pro record now includes seven wins, with almost all coming via finish. He appeared in the PFL twice earlier this year, defeating Tobias Baker and Clinton Williams.
Fagundes had his seven-fight undefeated record broken in this appearance. He was scheduled to appear in the PFL “Challenger Series” earlier this year, although that bout ended up not happening.
The Rest of the Card
Marcin Held closed out the card with a submission win, pulling guard with a guillotine choke to submit Bellator alum Myles Price.
Abraham Bably earned his second pro win late Saturday night, working to a unanimous decision victory over Louie Sutherland.
Magnus Iversen picked up a highlight reel finish as part of the postlims, flooring Tayo Odunjo with a right hook late in the first round.
Undefeated bantamweight Ali Taleb had a quick win on the postlims, putting Darius Mafi to sleep in the first round with a guillotine choke from full guard.
Stuart Austin snapped a two-fight skid on the prelims, using ground and pound to work toward a split decision victory over Sofiane Boukichou.
Aleksandr Chizov’s striking lead him to victory, piecing up Omar Hussein on the feet before scoring a ground and pound finish in the second round.
Zebenzui Ruiz became the first fighter to hand Raphael Uchegbu a loss in Saturday’s opening bout, defeating him via unanimous decision.
Postlims (5:00PM EDT / 10:00PM BST) (ESPN+ / TSN Direct)
Bout 13: Marcin Held def. Myles Price via Submission, Guillotine Choke (RD 2, 2:37)
Bout 12: Abraham Bably def. Louie Sutherland via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 11: Magnus Iversen def. Tayo Odunjo via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 4:36)
Bout 10: Ali Taleb def. Darius Mafi via Submission, Guillotine Choke (RD 1, 1:58)
Main Card (2:00PM EDT / 7:00PM BST (ESPN / TSN Direct)
Bout 9: Kayla Harrison def. Martina Jindrova via Submission, Arm Triangle Choke (RD 1, 3:17) (PFL Lightweight Semi-Final Playoff)
Bout 8: Brendan Loughnane def. Chris Wade via Decision, Unanimous (PFL Featherweight Semi-Final Playoff)
Bout 7: Larissa Pacheco def. Olena Kolesnyk via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 2:09) (PFL Lightweight Semi-Final Playoff)
Bout 6: Bubba Jenkins def. Ryoji Kudo via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 1, 1:49) (PFL Featherweight Semi-Final Playoff)
Bout 5: Dakota Ditcheva def. Hassna Gaber via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 0:58)
Bout 4: Simeon Powell def. Joao Paulo Fagundes via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 1:56)
Preliminary Card (1:00PM EDT / 6:00PM BST) (ESPN+ / TSN Direct)
Bout 3: Stuart Austin def. Sofiane Boukichou via Decision, Split
Bout 2: Aleksandr Chizov def. Omar Hussein via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 4:12)
Bout 1: Zebenzui Ruiz def. Raphael Uchegbu via Decision, Unanimous