The two UK stars at the top of the fight card at PFL Europe 1 in Newcastle were expected to produce big things, and both Simeon Powell and Dakota Ditcheva improved their respective records to 8-0 with a pair of impressive submission finishes in Newcastle, England.
The event featured the men’s light heavyweight and the women’s flyweight divisions, with the 205-pounders serving up finishes aplenty, while the 125ers produced a string of back-and-forth wars, plus one notable submission.
Powell chokes out Amine to progress to the playoffs
Headlining the event were 205-pound contenders Simeon Powell and Mohamed Amine, and Powell delivered the goods to punch his ticket to the light heavyweight playoffs in Paris, France on September 30.
During a cagey feeling-out process, Amine stung the Englishman with a clean counter right to serve warning of his striking prowess, while Powell looked to connect with jabs from range. Then Powell stepped into range and took the Dutchman to the mat.
With Great Britain Top Team coach and UK MMA legend Brad “One Punch” Pickett coaching his every move from the other side of the fence, Powell worked from half-guard, landing strikes while looking to advance position.
Powell was clearly the better grappler, and, after Amine briefly got back to his feet, the Brit punished him with a series of hard knees to the hamstring before dragging him to the mat once more.
This time, Powell ended up in mount, where he rained down strikes on Amine, who desperately tried to tie up “Smooth’s” arms and throw up punches off his back in a bid to survive the round.
Amine upped his work rate at the start of Round 2 as he looked to counter Powell’s tendency to drop his hands as he threw leg kicks. It resulted in the Dutchman connecting successfully with some decent punches, but Powell seemed unfazed and continued to stalk his man around the cage. Eventually, Powell landed a takedown and moved instantly into mount once again.
This time the Englishman had much more time to work and, after softening up his man with strikes, moved to Amine’s back and looked close to finishing him with a neck crank. Instead, Powell moved back to mount and scored with more heavy punches from the top before switching to an arm-triangle choke that he locked tight all the way to the end of the round.
As the horn sounded, Powell released the hold, just as Amine fell unconscious and referee Marc Goddard waved off the fight to give Powell a second-round submission win and a spot in the PFL Europe playoffs.
“I’ve been working. Since you last saw me in August, I haven’t left the gym and all I’ve done is work on my game. You’re just seeing all the work I’ve put in,” he said after his victory.
“I’m not gonna lie. I thought he would survive, but I saw he was out, boy. He was snoozing. I was like, ‘Yeah, man!’ I got me a win bonus and I’m gonna party!
“This division’s exciting, but you’re looking at the king. I’m the king. I’m taking the hundred grand. I’m the star here, the PFL knows that, and you’re gonna see in Paris.”
Also at light heavyweight, Jakov Nedoh showcased the punch power he possesses in both hands with a two-punch finish of Italy’s Riccardo Nosiglia.
A ramrod left jab sent Nosiglia flying backwards and down to the canvas, and a flying follow-up right hand connected flush to the grounded Italian to knock him out and give Nedoh a statement-making finish after just 48 seconds.
There was also an impressive display by French contender Anthony Salamone, who finished Spain’s Daniel Ladero with strikes in just two minutes, 19 seconds to punch his ticket to the final four, and a bout on home soil in Paris.
Spain had something to celebrate in the first 205-pound bout of the night, however, as Abdellah Er-Ramy needed just two minutes 18 seconds to stop Romania’s Madalin Pirvulesco with strikes to earn his spot in the light heavyweight playoffs.
Ditcheva shows she’s ‘not just a striker’ with submission finish
The co-main event saw the featured women’s flyweight bout of the night, as England’s Dakota Ditcheva delivered another statement performance to finish Sweden’s Malin Hermansson.
Ditcheva started in typically aggressive fashion, firing kicks at her opponent, before initiating the clinch and connecting with solid knees to the body. But then, perhaps to the surprise of many, Ditcheva swept Hermansson to the mat and moved into side control.
Ditcheva connected with some elbows from side control before eventually moving to Hermansson’s back and locking up a tight rear-naked choke to force the tap and extend her perfect professional record to 8-0.
After her win, an emotional Ditcheva explained how big an occasion the night was for her.
“Yeah, I really did, and I came out and I did it tonight. I’m very proud of myself for that.
“I’m happy. This week’s been a lot. This is the first time I’ve carried a show like this, a co-main event. I am only 24, not been in the MMA game too long. It was a lot of pressure this week, a lot of new emotions, but I’ve enjoyed every second, and to come out and get the win again, and show I’m not just a striker. These flyweights, they need to be careful!
“I mean, Fair play. The girls are coming in there and giving it their all. But they’re getting split-decision wins. You need to bring a bit more than that if you want to knock me out of this competition, because that’s not gonna work.
“I’m excited, but I feel a bit sorry for the one that’s going to face me next!”
The other women’s flyweight bouts produced back-and-forth battles that left the judges split on the outcome.
Sweden’s Cornelia Holm survived an early knockdown to defeat Poland’s Marta Waliczek via split decision, while Italy’s Valentin Scatizzi claimed a split-decision victory of her own as she edged the Netherlands’ Lizzy Gevers.
The remaining women’s flyweight bout between Griet Eeckhout and Mafalda Carmona was removed from the card after Carmona weighed in at 131.2 pounds, a whopping 5.2 pounds over the 126-pound non-title flyweight limit.
The third fight from the top of the main card showcased the larger-than-life personality of Manchester Top Team bantamweight Lewis McGrillen. His high-energy approach to fight week marked him out as one to watch ahead of fight night, and he delivered inside the PFL SmartCage with a blistering display to knock out Salih Kulucan in half a round with a huge left hand.
The preliminary card also produced an eye-catching finish as Louis Lee Scott delivered on his promise to knock out Sam Robinson in their bantamweight matchup.
Scott needed just 21 seconds to get the KO, and he did it in spectacular fashion with a stunning head kick as he made a big impression in the second bout of the night.
There was also a split-decision victory for Oscar Ownsworth, who edged it on the scorecards against fellow Englishman Lewis Monarch.
PFL Europe 1: Official results
- Simeon Powell def. Mohamed Amine via technical submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 5:00
- Dakota Ditcheva def. Malin Hermansson via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:52
- Lewis McGrillen def. Salih Kulucan via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 2:33
- Jakov Nedoh def. Riccardo Nosiglia via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 0:48
- Anthony Salamone def. Daniel Ladero via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:19
- Corneila Holm def. Marta Waliczek via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Abdelah Er-Ramy def. Madalin Pirvulescu via TKO (punches – Round 1, 2:18
- Valentina Scatizzi def. Lizzy Gevers via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
- Louis Lee Scott def. Sam Robinson via knockout (head kick) – Round 1, 0:21
- Oscar Ownsworth def. Lewis Monarch via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)