After a dominant promotional debut back in April, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title challenger Rory MacDonald looks to seal a spot in the Professional Fighters League (PFL) Welterweight playoffs tonight (Thurs., June 16, 2021) against fellow Octagon veteran Gleison Tibau.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE coverage of the PFL 5 main card below, which begins at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2. We’ll also provide quick results for the “Prelims” undercard on ESPN+, which will start streaming at 5:30 p.m. ET.
The card, which exclusively features Welterweights and Light Heavyweights, will also see PFL favorite Ray Cooper III square off with Russian standout Nikolai Aleksakhin in the co-feature. “Bradda Boy” is sitting pretty at six points, while Aleksakhin is still looking to get on the board after his promotional debut ended via eye poke.
Up at 205 pounds, former tournament champion Emiliano Sordi takes on Dan Spohn, while long-time Octagon veterans Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira and Chris Camozzi collide in the opening bout on ESPN2.
The undercard features several notable names, most notably a battle of top-tier grapplers between The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) alums Antonio Carlos Junior and Vinny Magalhaes.
PFL 5 QUICK RESULTS:
Rory MacDonald vs. Gleison Tibau — Tibau def. MacDonald by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) — HIGHLIGHTS!
Ray Cooper III vs. Nikolai Aleksakhin — Cooper def. Aleksakhin by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
Emiliano Sordi vs. Dan Spohn — Unanimous draw (28-28 x3)
Cezar Ferreira vs. Chris Camozzi — Camozzi def. Ferreira by unanimous decision (29-28 x2, 29-27)
Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Vinny Magalhaes — No Contest (low blow) at 2:45 of Round One
Marthin Hamlet Nielsen vs. Cory Hendricks — Hendricks def. Nielsen by submission (rear naked choke) at 4:09 of Round Three
Joao Zeferino vs. Jason Ponet — Zeferino def. Ponet by submission (arm triangle choke) at 2:16 of Round Two
Magomed Magomedkerimov vs. Curtis Millender — Magomedkerimov def. Millender by submission (Ezekiel choke) at 1:57 of Round One
Tom Lawlor vs. Jordan Young — Lawlor def. Young by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Sadibou Sy vs. Alexey Kunchenko — Kunchenko def. Sy by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
PFL 5 ROUND-BY-ROUND COVERAGE:
170 lbs.: Rory MacDonald vs. Gleison Tibau
Round one: Tibau pushing forward to start. Straight left lands for him. MacDonald lands a body kick. Again a minute in. Tibau whiffs on an overhand left, eats another body kick and tries a spinning back kick. MacDonald 1-2. They trade near the center, left hand lands for Tibau. Two minutes in. Tibau takes an eye poke and this one looks bad. He takes some time to recover, then comes out slugging, landing left hands as MacDonald hunts for takedowns. Two minutes to go.
Tibau defends and separates. MacDonald goes back to the body kicks. Right hand from MacDonald, who tries a knee tap and immediately takes Tibau’s back with a minute to work. Short right hands, then he wraps up the RNC, but it’s on the chin and can’t force the tap. He tries a head kick on the break. 10-9 MacDonald.
Round two: MacDonald shoots in the opening seconds and drags him down against the fence. Front headlock as Tibau works to stand. He presses the Brazilian against the fence when he gets to his feet. Tibau shakes him off and they separate. Fake shot to right hand from MacDonald a minute in. Tibau denies a double-leg. Nice head kick from MacDonald and a right hand behind it. Still can’t find another takedown. Two minutes in. Right hand to the body, eats a hard counter uppercut. Head kick attempt, failed knee tap. Two minutes to go.
Right cross lands for MacDonald. Circling a lot, not committing to much. One minute to go. He tries a double-leg, denied. Sending out right hands. Tibau rushes after him, puts together a nice combo late. 10-9 MacDonald.
Round three: MacDonald shoots again, denied again. Warned for eye pokes. Low kick lands for him, tries to go high behind it. Tibau 1-2 on the counter a minute in. MacDonald continuing to pick away at range. He shoots again, denied again. Two minutes in. Tibau falling short with his punches. MacDonald body kick. Tibau takes yet another finger in the eye. He tries a 3-2. Two minutes to go.
Tibau denies yet another takedown. Macdonald sends out some right hands. One minute to go. Tibau just can’t reach him. 10-9 MacDonald.
Final result: Tibau def. MacDonald by split decision
170 lbs.: Ray Cooper III vs. Nikolai Aleksakhin
Round one: 1-2 from Aleksakhin, who eats a counter right. Check hook from Cooper, eats a right hand and knee before shooting in. Hip toss attempt from Aleksakhin, then back to slugging. One minute in. Cooper shoots in once again. Aleksakhin defending on the fence. Inside trip attempt two minutes in. Aleksakhin separates, walks into a check hook. Cooper left hook into a level change. Both sling rights on the break with two minutes to go.
Stiff jab from Cooper. He slings some big hooks. Aleksakhin cracks him with a right hand and absorbs a flurry before having to fight another takedown. He does so and separates. Good right hand from Aleksakhin, then a two-piece. Cooper cracks him with an overhand on the break. 10-9 Cooper.
Round two: Back to trading potshots at range. Hard left hook by Cooper. Knee from Aleksakhin. Trading kicks a minute in. Aleksakhin low kick and left hook. Jab connects as he circles. Cooper with a jab of his own. Good pivot by Aleksakhin, eats a pair of jabs and a right cross. Big combo from Aleksakhin two minutes in. Spinning back fist met by a heavy Cooper left hook. Great back-and-forth so far. Aleksakhin just misses with a knee. Hard 1-2 from Cooper. Two minutes to go.
Aleksakhin ties up and puts him on the fence. Cooper reverses, bangs the body, looks to change levels. One minute to go. Cooper drags him to his knees for a moment. Knees to the thigh. 10-9 Cooper.
Round three: Trading kicks to start, Aleksakhin follows up with a jab. He tries a jumping knee and stuffs a level change. Cooper lead right near the fence. Heavy knees by Aleksakhin in the Thai clinch, which get him slammed to the mat a minute in. Aleksakhin gets to his knees and slowly tries to work his way up. Unable to do so two minutes in. Aleksakhin still unable to dislodge him with two minutes to go.
Now Aleksakhin makes it to his feet and turns to face him, having to fight off a re-shoot. He tries a head kick on the break. 1-2 connects, spinning back fist does not. Aleksakhin shoots in the final seconds. 10-9 Cooper.
Final result: Cooper def. Aleksakhin by unanimous decision
205 lbs.: Emiliano Sordi vs. Dan Spohn
Round one: Low kick lands for Spohn after taking a right hand. They clash heads, and as Sordi complains to the ref, Spohn grabs a body lock and dumps him to the mat. Immediate back take, hunting the choke. Nice survival by Sordi a minute in and he slips out the back door to land on top in half guard. Punches and hammerfists from Sordi. Front headlock, punches from turtle. Spohn trying to roll free, keeps eating shots two minutes in. Back to half guard. Spohn tries to turn in for deep half guard, complaining about shots to the back of the head. Brief d’arce attempts from Sordi. Two minutes to go.
Spohn tries to turn for a takedown attempt and Sordi uses it to take the back, landing more heavy shots. Continuing to pound. The referee pauses the fight to take a point from Sordi for shots to the back of the head, then restarts the fight on the feet. Big overhand right from Sordi, shoots, denied. Spohn with a right hook, avoids a wheel kick. 9-8 Sordi with the point deduction.
Round two: Spohn answers a body kick with counters. 1-2 by Sordi as their heads collide. 1-2-2 lands for Spohn. One minute in. Right hand, head kick, right hand from Sordi. Spohn changes levels in response. Sordi avoids it and clips him with a right hook. Spohn not looking super steady but manages to slug his way back into the fight. Great slugfest, which Sordi ends by taking him down against the fence. Spohn sweeps his way into top position and looks for the back. Two minutes to go,
Sordi tries a slam, slips out the back door into half guard. Spohn turns into top position with a minute to go and he cut Sordi open at some point. Sordi works his way to all fours, rolls for a leg. 10-9 Sordi.
Round three: Spohn looks for left hands, lands a leg kick. Good counter right. Body kick, low kick. Both looking tired at this point. Good counters from Spohn after avoiding an overhand. Sordi uppercut, Spohn body shot. One minute to go. Sordi takes a low blow. He tosses out some kicks after things restart. Spohn left hands, Sordi body kick. Another clash of heads that Spohn apologizes for. Good left hand two minutes in. Sordi with a right uppercut. Spohn sends out a 3-2, then a counter right. Another counter that catches Sordi coming in and they trade. Two minutes to go.
Spohn catches a body kick, can’t establish on the ground. He catches another one and kicks the other leg. Right hand from Sordi. Warning for outstretched fingers. Good left from Spohn. One minute to go. Sordi straight right. Spohn counter right. They trade in the clinch. Overhand left by Spohn. Sordi marches forward with a combo. Sordi shoots, loses it, re-shoots, still can’t get it. 10-9 Spohn.
Final result: Unanimous draw
205 lbs.: Cezar Ferreira vs. Chris Camozzi
Round one: Hard leg kick from Ferreira to start. Camozzicomes back with a combination, tries to press forward. Trading potshots at range. Ferreira follows a calf kick with a takedown into half guard a minute in. Nice pass to the back, but Camozzi manages to tie him back up in half guard. Full guard two minutes in. Not much GnP from Ferreira as he focuses on position. Now some left hands. Two minutes to go.
Half guard for Ferreira. Camozzi turns to his knees with a minute to go and gets caught in a front headlock. Knees to the shoulder from Ferreira, tries a head kick on the way up. Camozzi sprints after him, landing rights until the bell. 10-9 Ferreira.
Round two: Camozzi looking more aggressive early, sending out his hands. Stiff jab by Ferreira. More punches from Camozzi to answer a body kick, nice timing on the underhooks to stuff a shot a minute in. Camozzi showing some good pressure. Good left hands and down goes Ferreira. Camozzi follows him down into guard, landing left hands until Ferreira ties him up. Short half guard shots two minutes in. Decent punches by Camozzi as Ferreira tries to keep him close. Two minutes to go.
More solid punches. One minute to go. Ferreira briefly considers an armbar, keeps eating blows. 10-8 Camozzi.
Round three: Camozzi continues to stalk forward, forces Ferreira to his back with a guillotine attempt as he stuffs a takedown. Back on top in guard. Ferreira kicks him away and stands, eating a body shot in the process. Hard left hand by Ferreira, eats an uppercut in return a minute in. Hard body shot from Camozzi. Nice combo into a level change, denied. Ferreira lands a knee on the break and whiffs on a head kick. He tries to time a leg kick for a shot, ends up on his back in half guard. Two minutes to go.
Ferreira frames and stands. Another body shot from Camozzi, good low kicks in combination. Another combo to answer a jab, then another leg kick. One minute to go. Camozzi still pressing forward. Ferreira winds up for a body shot and ties up. He shoots, denied. Ferreira to the body, stings Camozzi with an overhand left in the waning seconds. 10-9 Camozzi.
Final result: Camozzi def. Ferreira by unanimous decision
For more on PFL and its ongoing season, click here.