Kayla Harrison has sealed her spot in the PFL women’s lightweight playoffs and will join the show to discuss her preparation heading in. UFC light heavyweight Anderson has expressed his desire to be champion Jon Jones’ next opponent. Andre Harrison fights Movlid Khaybulaev on July 25 at PFL Week 5.
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Friday night’s Bellator 224 saw featherweight champion Julia Budd (13-2 MMA, 7-0 BMMA) earned her 11th consecutive victory with a first-round stoppage of Olga Rubin (6-1 MMA, 4-1 BMMA). One night later, former UFC featherweight Germaine de Randamie (9-3 MMA, 6-1 UFC) finished Aspen Ladd (8-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) in just 16 seconds in a bantamweight matchup.
What did those two key fights mean for our rankings? In our new weekly video feature, the MMA Junkie Rankings Report, John Morgan walks you through the implications from Bellator 224 and UFC on ESPN+ 13.
It was a big weekend for women’s MMA, with both Bellator 224 and UFC on ESPN+ 13 headlined by important women’s fights.
At Bellator 224 on Friday night, featherweight champion Julia Budd (13-2 MMA, 7-0 BMMA) earned her 11th consecutive victory with a first-round stoppage of Olga Rubin (6-1 MMA, 4-1 BMMA). Also on the card, former bantamweight standout Leslie Smith was victorious in a featherweight bout, defeating Sinead Kavanagh via majority decision.
The next night at UFC Sacramento, former UFC featherweight champ Germaine de Randamie (9-3 MMA, 6-1 UFC) finished Aspen Ladd (8-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) in just 16 seconds in a bantamweight matchup, knocking the latter from the ranks of the unbeaten. That’s her fifth straight victory since a loss to current featherweight and bantamweight titleholder Amanda Nunes.
Also on the card, Julianna Pena returned from a long absence and defeated former flyweight champion Nicco Montano; and Invicta strawweight champ Brianna Van Buren’s UFC debut was a success, as she earned a one-sided win over Livia Souza.
So what to make of all this? Well, in the case of Budd, she’s basically holding her spot at No. 3. With No. 1 Nunes and No. 2 Cris Cyborg both in the UFC (although the latter is currently contracted for just one more fight), that’s likely how things are going to stay for the foreseeable future.
De Randamie, meanwhile, jumps one spot to No. 3 in the bantamweight rankings, as she inches closer to a rematch with Nunes.
To see those updates and how the rest of the weekend’s competitors fared, check out the latest edition of our rankings.
Check out the best photos from undefeated two-time Olympic judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison’s first-round submission victory over Morgan Frier at PFL 2019, Week 4 in Atlantic City, N.J. (Photos courtesy PFL)
It’s really weird how PFL has morphed into Bjorn’s Bellator. Tournaments full of recognizable UFC vets, Russian fighters, a handful of prospects and really good fighters who weren’t directly on the UFC’s radar, and the odd Olympian they managed to get on roster.
Two-time Olympic judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison took a big step toward achieving her first big MMA goal on Thursday night.
Harrison (5-0) put in a swift and efficient effort against Morgan Frier at PFL 2019, Week 4. Harrison outstruck an overmatched Morgan Frier 28-0 as she worked into a position for an Americana submission victory at the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J. The time of the stoppage came when Frier (4-3) tapped at 3:35 of the opening round.
“I really wish I would have kept it on my feet a little longer but my instincts take over, it is something I’m working on,” Harrison said after her fourth career stoppage victory. “The submission was probably there earlier in the round but I really like hitting people since I was never allowed to in Judo. I’m going to be the best, I’m going to be even better than Khabib (Nurmagomedov) when I am done.”
The event featured the final regular-season matchups in the women’s lightweight and men’s welterweight divisions. With the six points earned by the stoppage, Harrison earned the No. 2 seed in the semifinal round, to be held later this year. She’ll meet No. 3 seed Genah Fabian, who earned her spot with a finish of Moriel Charneski earlier in the evening. Former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Sarah Kaufman is the top seed and will meet No. 4 Larissa Pacheco, who was also victorious Thursday.
Magomed Magomedkerimov fends off Chris Curtis’ late upset bid
While Harrison was by far the biggest name on the card, the evening’s nominal main event was the welterweight bout between Magomed Magomedkerimov and Chris Curtis.
Defending PFL welterweight champion Magomed Magomedkerimov is back in the playoffs, but not before he fended off Curtis’ last-minute upset challenge.
Magomedkerimov (25-5) got the edge in the better end of a back-and-forth opening round, then the Dagestani dominated the second round.
Curtis (21-6) went for broke in the third, though, pushed the pace, and got his opponent in a tight guillotine. But Magomedkerimov escaped and wasn’t again threatened as he held the fort the rest of the way.
The judges’ scores were 30-27, 30-27, and 30-26 for a unanimous decision.
Magomedkerimov and Curtis will rematch in the quarterfinal round, at a date TBD. The remainder of the bracket includes Glaico Franca vs. Andre Fialho; John Howard vs. David Michaud; and Sabidou Sy vs. Ray Cooper III.
John Howard makes statement heading into playoffs
In the main-card opener, veteran John Howard needed a big performance to get into the playoffs, and that’s exactly what happened. Howard (28-15-1), a man known for going often going to decisions win or lose, showed urgency and defeated 2018 welterweight finalist Ray Cooper III (18-7) via first-round TKO.
Cooper III scored an early takedown, but Howard scrambled back to his feet. Soon thereafter, in the midst of in-the-pocket exchange, Howard landed a wicked, clean counter left to the jaw which dropped Cooper. A few follow-up punches made the difference as Howard got the stoppage at the 3:23 mark.
“He took me down, I thought he was going to smother me, we got back to the feet and we knew who was the better striker,” the Boston native said. “He was going to throw some bombs, but I was going to throw them bigger.”
This is a PFL regular-season event. Under the PFL’s standings format, a fighter who wins via first-round finish earns six points; second-round finish earns five; third-round finish earns four; decision victory earns three; a draw earns both fighters one point; and a losing fighter earns zero. A fighter who wins but missed weight the previous day is not eligible to earn points.