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Professional Fighters League (PFL) 10 recap with results, GIFS, Rory MacDonald interview

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Professional Fighters League (PFL) 10 aired Tues. night (Dec. 31, 2019) from Hulu Theater at MSG in New York City. MMA Mania brings you a post-fight recap, results, .gifs and interviews from a championship card!

Kayla Harrison
Kayla Harrison
Cory Braiterman

Professional Fighters League (PFL) 10 took place Tues., Dec. 31, 2019 at Hulu Theater from Madison Square Garden in New York City. Six title fights with a one million dollar prize on the line were scheduled for ESPN 2.

Get complete results and play-by-play here.

The main event was headlined by undefeated judo specialist Kayla Harrison (6-0) taking a rematch with the dangerous Larissa Pacheco (13-3) at Lightweight.

It seemed inevitable that the two-time Olympic gold medalist would take the fight to the ground, and when she did Pacheco had no answer but to defend as she ate unanswered hands and had to escape from a full mount late before the bell. Harrison took an easy 10-9.

The second round continued Harrison’s winning ways and found her in full mount with over three minutes left to take advantage of it. Pacheco scrambled to escape but Harrison took her back, got both hooks in, and transitioned right to mount again. Pacheco recovered to half guard but Harrison got full mount a third time and ground and pounded out a 10-8.

Pacheco came as close to success early in round three as at any point in the fight when she successfully blocked a takedown and nearly got on top of Harrison, but the well-paid Olympian was able to recover and drive through to get the takedown and spent the rest of the round working on top. Pacheco kicked her away at 4:25 but Harrison waited and avoided the upkicks, ending round three right back in a dominant position again.

Harrison hit a blast double leg takedown so good in the fourth round that Randy Couture was left in awe on commentary, proclaiming it “picture perfect.” Harrison’s only mistake was standing over her opponent with 25 seconds left in the round and nearly having her leg kicked out from under her in the process.

Pacheco actually blocked a couple of takedowns in the fifth and final round. Maybe she would have had a chance had she kept it standing, but eventually that judo skill reigned supreme again with a takedown that put Harrison on top on the ground yet again. She rode out the remainder of the fight and awaited the verdict from the judges. 50-43, 50-45 x2 was their answer, all favoring Harrison. Mike Tyson put the belt on her and she spoke to Randy Couture with the million dollar check in tow.

“Oh my God, Mike Tyson’s giving me the belt! Yeah you know be smart, pick my shots, I know she’s good everywhere but I’m better at grappling I would say. I rolled my ankle or something in round two, that was a set back, but that was the strategy - patience, patience, patience. Momma I love you!!”

Before the expected 170 pound co-main event, PFL newcomer Rory MacDonald gave his thoughts on the bout and his place in the promotion as a whole.

“I plan to be the boss of the division. Obviously we’ve got some really exciting guys next. I’ve been watching Ray Cooper for a while but I believe I’ve got the skills to dominate. I think the match up makes for a dog fight. A guy who comes forward against a guy who can take it and give it. I’ll take on all comers. I’m not shying away from no one. I plan on having the best performance and shutting down everybody.”

In a Welterweight title scrap, David Michaud (18-5) took a three fight win streak into battle against the even more experienced Ray Cooper III (19-7-1). Cooper fought long and hard to get a takedown, but when he finally achieved it Michaud appeared to have momentarily suffered an injury that had him wincing in pain. Cooper inflicted more pain with strikes on top as Randy Couture speculated Michaud may have rolled his ankle, then realizing it was a liver kick on a later replay. 10-9 for Cooper.

The liver shot turned out to be the million dollar money maker for Cooper to cash the extra large sized check. Michaud appeared to have the fight in hand for a split second when he nailed Cooper with knees on a failed single leg takedown, but Cooper recovered his wits for the follow-up takedown, then nailed the hard left to the body that made Michaud fold right after he got back up.

The official time was 2:56 and the official interview was done by “The Natural.”

“Thanks and praise to my father in heaven. Everybody here, everybody back home in Hawaii. I love everybody here. Rey Sefo gave me an opportunity, love you guys, thank you so much. We did what we said we was gonna do. We got into a real fight. None of this laying around on the ground. It’s not point fighting, it’s MMA we gotta mix it up. Much respect to Michaud, he’s a tough {censored}. Sorry about my language.”

Formidable Heavyweight foes clashed for gold and cash as the unbeaten Ali Isaev (8-0) faced durable journeyman Jared Rosholt (20-7). Isaev took the first round by getting a few takedowns, a few kicks, and controlling the cage. There’s not much more to say than that.

Isaev capitalized on a good start by repeating his success with takedowns, lifting the sizable Rosholt high into the arm for a slam, briefly owning a mounted crucifix for unchecked lefts to the head. He eventually moved to half guard and shoved Rosholt to the ground every time he tried to sit up or get up, dominating a one-sided 10-9 round.

Heavyweights aren’t necessarily the fastest athletes in the world, but even by those standards they slowed down considerably in R3. The worse news for Isaev is that the takedowns weren’t there. Rosholt pressed him into the cage repeatedly and may have had enough success at close range to steal back one on the scorecards.

Isaev made sure the judges weren’t necessary by getting another takedown, doing damage with left hands, and just when Rosholt appeared to be regaining the full guard he got CLOCKED with a hard left and was suddenly too woozy to intelligently defend himself. Dan Miragliotta stepped in to save him, awarding Isaev the TKO at 4:09 in round four.

After getting the title and the check, Randy Couture and a translator interviewed Isaev.

“I was expecting to go for a full five rounds, but of course anything can happen in a fight, first or last round. Regardless I am the winner.”

A men’s Lightweight title contest saw Natan Schulte (19-3-1) look to stay undefeated in his 10th straight contest against Loik Radzhabov (13-1-1). Despite the fact Schulte was last year’s returning champion, Radzhabov took it to him with striking throughout the first round, landing repeated body punches, leg kicks, and overhand rights. He got rocked one time but otherwise dominated the first five minutes.

Radzhabov had a fierceness to his forward pressure that Schulte had no answer for in round two. Schulte was too tough to be rocked or finished, but he was left with a bruised face, a bloody nose, and a body battered with hard shots to the midsection. Radzhabov even threw in leg kicks and knees to the body for good measure.

Despite Radzhabov having accumulated so much damage through two rounds, it came at the cost of his gas tank in the third, and when Schulte took advantage of the flat footed Radzhabov the leg kicks finally started to wobble Radzhabov’s stance. When he shot late in desperation Schulte easily blocked it and finished R3 on top in full mount.

Schulte probably could have finished the fight by injury TKO just by letting Radzhabov stand up, but whenever he stuffed the takedown he’d get a mount on top and look for submissions. It was an effective strategy to win the round though and potentially even up the scorecards — possibly even a 3-1 lead if any judges gave him the first.

The fifth round was as close as the first, perhaps more so given there were no knockdown blows. Although both men succeeded in takedowns, reversals and top time favored Schulte, but it would ultimately be up to three cageside officials to determine the winner for this frame and the prior four. Their verdict: 49-44, 49-46, 48-47 all for Natan Schulte. “Iron” Mike Tyson presented him with the belt, Pete Murray the check, Randy Couture the mic.

“Thank you so much. I love the fighting. I love the training. Thank you. America Top Team is the best. Thank everybody. I love you, I love you so much. God bless you. I come from a poor city, a poor family. I want to thank everybody so much, booing or cheering. God bless you and your family.”

Lance Palmer (21-3) could get his 11th straight win and another title at Featherweight, but Alex Gilpin (14-3) was hoping his third time against Palmer would be the charm. He came in as a replacement for Palmer’s previous opponent who was flagged by a drug test. For his part Gilpin could have been flagged for fingers to the eye in round one. It was pretty blatant but after a couple of minutes Palmer recovered and immediately took him down, repeating that performance to close the round doing damage with left hands on top.

Gilpin kept his fingers out of Palmer’s eyes in round two, but Palmer did not relent on taking Gilpin down at will. The only thing that improved for Gilpin in the second frame was hitting a few knees to the body when he got up from one of those takedowns, and keeping Palmer stuck in his guard for more of the round.

The third verse is a lot like the second and the first. Despite being an experienced wrestler himself, Gilpin’s takedown attempt only resulted in him quickly being countered when it went to the ground, putting Palmer right back on top. That’s where he stayed for the rest of the round despite numerous attempts to kick him away. The fourth round was exactly like the third save for Palmer getting the takedown even faster at only 15 seconds.

In the fifth round Palmer got the takedown at 40 seconds and Gilpin never came close to standing back up at any point. It was an easy unanimous decision in Lance Palmer’s favor as the judges returned scorecards of 50-43 and 50-44 X2. Pete Murray handed Palmer the oversized check while Randy Couture asked him about completing the trilogy of Gilpin fights with a clean sweep.

“To be honest I came into this camp with injuries and lingering things, I didn’t get to perform the way I wanted to, but I did enough to get the job done. I really appreciate Alex Gilpin because he really made me push the three times we fought this year.”

Emiliano Sordi (21-8) had four straight wins in Professional Fighters League before his Light Heavyweight fight, but Jordan Johnson (12-1-1) was also unbeaten in his last three fights. Johnson had Division I wrestling experience from the University of Iowa in his back pocket. but Sordi kept it there by quickly getting up from the first takedown, exploding with strikes on the feet, and blasting Johnson on a single leg until he crumpled and Sordi was picking him apart from the back.

Dan Miragliotta realized Johnson wasn’t intelligently defending himself any more and waved the bout off at just 2:01 of the first round. Pete Murray presented Sordi with a million dollar check, and afterward Randy Couture was joined by a translator to talk to Argentina’s new world champion about how he got it done.

“It was a mix of everything. I’m 28 years old, not a kid any more, it was a mix of my team in San Diego, in Argentina, my strength, my conditioning, everything.”

For complete PFL 10 results and coverage click here.