Although two of four fights going to decision usually is nothing special, the two decisions that had to be made were so close and tough to call that being an MMA judge for this card had to be a stressful job.
The main card opening fight put the judges right to work as this decision was the closest of the night. Heavyweights Denis Goltsov and Ante Delija gave fans a close and fun fight. According to Verdict MMA, the fans scored this fight 28.57-28.52 in favor of Goltsov. As you can see, this is a razor-thin margin.
Although very close, a win is a win in the playoffs, so Delija will move one step closer to the $1 million prize.
“I have to give him props,” PFL President Ray Sefo said. “He lost his last fight, but tonight he came in and dug deep because he really wanted to get to the finals. I thought he did a great job.”
The other close decision came in the next bout between lightweights Taylor Guardado and Mariana Morais. Morais stepped into this fight on short notice due to Larissa Pacheco dealing with a bad weight cut.
According to Verdict MMA, the fan score was 28.91-28.16 in favor of Guardado. Although just barely, Guardado came out on top at a time in her life where she’s fighting personal battles in addition to PFL ones.
“My mom has cancer...and it spread a little bit so she had to get surgery,” Guardado said. “It ended up being a very, very serious surgery. She’s been in the hospital for the past five days, and I’ve just been a mental wreck. It’s been a rollercoaster of a week. I’m happy with my results.”
The first non-decision of the playoff card came in the co-main event between Bruno Cappelozza and Jamelle Jones. Cappelozza came out looking fresh and light on his feet. He used the jab and inside leg kick to keep the distance from Jones’ immense power.
Right away, Jones’ lead leg was compromised, which set up a quick finish for Cappelozza in the second round. The dominating performance by Cappelozza ended in the second round by way of TKO.
In the main event, Kayla Harrison continued to show why she is undefeated. Her dominance was on full display right away after she defeated Genah Fabian in the first round. Now, Harrison is continuing her journey for another PFL belt and building onto her long-term legacy.
“I think the older you get the more you learn that gold objects aren’t really the motivation,” Harrison said. “It’s not about the shiny gold medal, it’s not about being undefeated, it’s really all about the journey. The highest of highs and lowest of lows. They have made me who I am today…”
The last semifinal event will take place on Aug. 27 on ESPN+ where the light heavyweights and featherweights will mold the final matchups for the championship in October.
2021 Playoff Standings:
Ante Delija- 2-1
Bruno Cappelozza- 3-0
Jamelle Jones- 1-1
Denis Goltsov- 2-1
Kayla Harrison- 3-0
Taylor Guardado- 3-0
Genah Fabian- 2-1
Mariana Morais- 1-2
Bold denotes winner who will advance to the finals, all records are for 2021 PFL season.