PFL 3 saw the return of three of the promotion’s biggest stars, and all three – Kayla Harrison, Anthony Pettis and Rory MacDonald – picked up important victories to kick off their respective campaigns.
Reigning PFL women’s lightweight champion Harrison headlined the card, and the two-time Olympic gold medallist got her season off and underway with a unanimous decision victory over Marina Mokhnatkina to earn three points in the 155 pound division.
However, her haul was bettered by her former foe Larissa Pacheco, who claimed a first-round TKO finish of Zamzagul Fayzallanova to earn maximum points. She sits atop the lightweight standings with six points. The lightweight division also saw victories for Martina Jindrova and Olena Kolesnyk.
Former Bellator women’s featherweight champion Julia Budd made her PFL regular season debut, but crashed to a unanimous decision to Genah Fabian. However, due to Fabian missing weight ahead of the event, the three points went to Budd, who sits level on points with defending champ Harrison, despite the fact she is now 0-1 with the promotion.
After a frustrating debut season last year, former UFC lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis returned for 2022 looking to make a statement, and he did just that in his first round bout against Myles Price.
Pettis needed less than a round to submit Ireland’s Price and bag himself six-points to kick off his lightweight season and place himself two points clear of last year’s champion Raush Manfio at the top of the men’s lightweight standings.
Former Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald lost out in the PFL’s 170-pound semi-finals last year, but the Canadian produced an attention-grabbing performance to start his 2022 campaign with a first-round submission finish of Brett Cooper.
Elsewhere at 170 pounds, it was a disappointing start to the welterweight season for 2021 champion Ray Cooper III, who missed weight, then lost his season opener against Carlos Leal. It meant that Cooper will head into the pivotal second round of bout on -1 points and needing a special performance in his next bout to give himself any chance of progressing to the playoffs.
“Tonight was the biggest card in PFL Regular Season history and the fighters delivered unbelievable performances throughout the event,” said PFL CEO Peter Murray after the event.
“I’m excited for what is lining up to be a tremendous second half of the season in Atlanta beginning June 17, with each fighter looking to secure their spot in the PFL Playoffs.”
PFL’s president of fighter operations Ray Sefo concurred, saying, “PFL 3 tonight lived up to expectations as each fighter put it all on the line in the SmartCage.
“MMA fans saw thrilling fights that resulted in impressive knockouts, and included a PFL debutant fighter in Dilano Taylor who took his first step to punching a ticket to the PFL Playoffs.”
PFL 3: Official Results
- Kayla Harrison def. Marina Mokhnatkina via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Carlos Leal def. Ray Cooper III via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)
- Anthony Pettis def. Myles Price via submission (triangle choke) – Round 1, 4:17
- Rory MacDonald def. Brett Cooper via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:23
- Larissa Pacheco def. Zamzagul Fayzalianova via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:25
- Dilano Taylor def. Joao Zeferino via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Genah Fabian def. Julia Budd via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Sadibou Sy def. Nikolai Aleksakhim via split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
- Jarrah Al Silawi def. Gleison Tibau via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
- Olena Kolesnyk def. Abigail Montes via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
- Martina Jindrova def. Vanessa Melo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)