By Paul Rowe
The PFL headed to the UK last weekend with round 2 of the playoffs being in Cardiff at the Motorpoint Arena, with a place in the Welterweight and Heavyweight Finals being up for grabs. The PFL was hosted outside of the United States for the first time.
Due to the card being moved from the USA to the United Kingdom, visa issues meant that favourites Magomed Umalatov and Denis Goltsov had to be replaced on the main card by Dilano Taylor and Juan Adams, respectively.
Sadibou Sy vs Carlos Leal
Welterweights Sadibou Sy and Carlos Leal kicked off the first of the playoffs on the main card with an evenly matched fight, decided by the referee deducting a point from Leal for a low blow. The first round was even, with Sy landing multiple kicks and jabs, his ability to judge the distance and keep Leal at bay gave Sy the edge in round one.
Round two was different. Leal headed out of his corner with more purpose, firing Sy against the fence early in the round. Once Leal stood up, he started throwing harder punches, and they traded blows for the rest of the round. The battle was equal going into the third and final round when Leal landed a low punch that seemed to hurt Sy.
Sy took some time to recover, and the referee ultimately chose to deduct a point from Leal. Once the action resumed, with Leal immediately realising he may need a KO at this point to secure victory, he came out flying and aggressive but failed to get the KO with the Two fighters exchanging blows. In the final stages of the fight, Sy controlled the distance well and jabbed his way to a Unanimous Decision, with all three judges scoring the fight 29-27 in Sy’s favour.
Matheus Scheffel vs Juan Adams
In the first heavyweight Semi-final of the evening, Matheus Scheffel sent out a statement of intent with an impressive third-round KO of Juan Adams. Scheffel looked impressive by managing to keep the fight on the feet and landed heavy shots on Adams throughout. Adams seemed to have used his energy early in round 1 when taking Scheffel to the ground.
At the start of the second round, Adams looked fatigued after swallowing several heavy punches in round 1, trying to get Scheffel to the ground. Round 2 was similar, with Adams still managing to secure takedowns despite being fatigued, but he took heavy punches and ultimately his downfall in the third round. Scheffel landed big shots at will, two big left hooks going unanswered, with Adams looking hurt. The referee decided to intervene and stop the fight, with Scheffel heading into the Heavyweight final.
Ante Delija vs Renan Ferreira
In the second of the heavyweight fights and with a chance to fight Matheus Scheffel in the final for $ 1 million, “The Walking Nightmare” produced the best and most dominant performance of his PFL career, with a ground and pound stoppage of Renan Ferreira in round 1. A fast start from Delija set the tone for the fight, securing a takedown within one minute of the round. From here on, there was only one winner, with Delija hitting Ferreira at will and dominating the ground game. He finally got the stoppage when Delija postured up and landed multiple big hammerfists. The referee stopped the fight when there was no comeback from Renan Ferreira.
Rory MacDonald vs Dilano Taylor
Former UFC challenger and former Bellator Champion were defeated by late challenger Dilano Taylor in the first round. Taylor upset the odds by only accepting the fight last week, with MacDonald progressing to the final, Taylor produced a career-best performance and ultimately sent MacDonald into retirement. Taylor was faster and sharper from the opening bell after a good takedown from MacDonald. Taylor showed his impressive ground game and reversed his way back on top. With the fight back on its feet, this is where ‘The Postman’ really delivered with neat jabs picking off MacDonald with ease before landing a big right hand which sent Rory flying to the canvas.
Dilano followed up with hammerfists, and the fight was over. A devastating end to an impressive career for Rory Macdonald, the 33-year-old announced his retirement from MMA on Sunday following his defeat. Dilano Taylor progresses to face Sabidou Sy in the final, held on the 25th of November.
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