With RIZIN taking place early in the morning on New Year’s Eve for North American fans, PFL had the MMA spotlight to itself as 2018 came to a close.
The promotion which evolved from the former World Series of Fighting has been staging tournaments all year, with the finals taking place last night in New York City.
The welterweight final saw Magomed Magomedkerimov submit Ray Cooper III in the second round. Philipe Lins won the heavyweight tournament over Josh Copeland via fourth-round TKO. Natan Schulte won the lightweight championship with a unanimous decision win over Rashid Magomedov. Lance Palmer won a unanimous decision over Steven Siler for the featherweight championship and Louis Taylor took out Abusupiyan Magomedov with a 33 second knockout to take the middleweight championship.
Most memorable from the evening was former UFC fighter and current host of the SiriusXM “MMA Tonight” radio show Sean O’Connell, who won the light heavyweight tournament with a TKO win over Vinny Magalhaes. Magalhaes’ corner called an end to the fight after the third round. O’Connell then called it a career then and there after taking the championship and the million dollar prize that goes with it.
“There’s no better time to walk away,” O’Connell said after the fight. “In front of my friends and family in an iconic arena. I’m moving on. This is the last time you’ll see me competing, but I’m never leaving this sport.”
The next PFL “regular season” is set to kick off in May.
No go for Masvidal-Diaz
Dana White told reporters during the UFC 232 post-fight press conference that the Jorge Masvidal-Nick Diaz fight doesn’t look to be happening.
“I think that’s pretty clear,” said White. “All you’ve got to do is look at his Instagram. I don’t think it looks like he’s training for a fight.”
White had announced the fight back in November to ESPN for UFC 235 in March, but now it looks like UFC will be scrambling to put together yet another key fight for a pay-per-view card.
-Color commentator Jimmy Smith shared on social media that his contract was not renewed by UFC. Smith had indicated late in the year that he may be looking for opportunities coming up.
Now that the New Year has arrived I’m afraid I have to announce that the UFC has declined to re-sign me and my time with the promotion has come to an end. I just want to thank everyone at the promotion who made me feel welcome and appreciate at every single show.
— Jimmy Smith (@jimmysmithmma) January 1, 2019
-Corey Anderson made a Twitter post making his case for a light heavyweight title shot.
@JonnyBones F what the people talking about, I'm your huckleberry. Everybody else is booked and Smith hasn't earned his stripes. @ufc @AliAbdelaziz00 @danawhite @Mickmaynard2 @arielhelwani @MMAjunkie pic.twitter.com/n6Q3bnhB8u
— Corey Anderson UFC (@CoreyA_MMA) January 1, 2019
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