Substitute fighter Dilano Taylor stepped into the cage at PFL Playoffs 2 and flattened Rory MacDonald to punch his ticket to the $1 million PFL welterweight final.
Taylor, who was drafted in on short notice after MacDonald’s original semi-final opponent Magomed Umalatov was unable to secure a visa to travel to Wales, had an air of confidence about him ahead of the bout. And he backed up that confidence with a brilliant performance inside the cage to finish MacDonald and earn himself a shot at the PFL welterweight crown.
Taylor looked comfortable from the very start, and scored an early takedown on the Canadian, though he needed to react swiftly to avoid a potential armbar attack from the former Bellator champion.
Taylor continued to stay calm and composed from top position as he kept MacDonald on his back before “The Red King” eventually found a way free.
With the fight in the stand-up, Taylor connected with a couple of snappy jabs then, after fending off a couple of half-hearted takedown entries from MacDonald, the Jamaican struck.
A fastball right hand decked MacDonald and a salvo of follow-up strikes closed the show as Taylor sealed a stunning first-round TKO finish.
— PFL (@PFLMMA) August 13, 2022
Taylor’s victory completed a remarkable run that has seen “The Postman” progress from the PFL Challenger Series all the way to the PFL Finals.
A Challenger Series win over Mark Martin kick-started his run, and a split-decision Joao Zeferino in the regular season put him within reach of the playoffs. However, a second-round TKO loss to Magomed Magomedkerimov meant he missed out on a spot in the knockout stages.
But, after Umalatov was ruled out of his semi-final clash with MacDonald, Taylor was drafted in, and he took that chance with both hands as he finished MacDonald and put himself one win away from the PFL welterweight championship and a cheque for a cool $1 million.
In the co-main event, Croatian protege of the great Mirko Cro Cop, Ante Delija, produced a dominant display to finish Brazil’s Renan Ferreira and book his place in his second successive PFL heavyweight season final.
Delija, who lost out to Bruno Cappelozza in the final last year, will now get the chance to put things right this year after hammering Renan Ferreira from top position to force referee Marc Goddard to step in and wave off the bout at the ?? mark in Round 1.
The other heavyweight semi-final saw two substitute fighters, Juan Adams and Matheus Scheffel, go toe to toe for a place in the final, and it was Scheffel who prevailed, showcasing heavy-handed striking and solid takedown defence to eventually stop Adams with punches in the final round.
The night’s other welterweight semi-final saw Sweden’s Sadibou Sy stick and move his way to a unanimous decision victory over Carlos Leal.
Sy used his reach well to pepper the Brazilian with stiff jabs, and mixed in some dangerous left high kicks to keep Leal guessing. Leal kept pushing forward, and had a better round in the second as he connected with short power punches. But a point deduction for a borderline low blow put the Brazilian behind the eight ball, and Sy did enough to take the round, regardless, and earn a unanimous decision across all three scorecards to earn his spot in the $1 million finale.
PFL Playoffs 2: Official Results
PFL SEASON 2022 SEMI-FINALS
- Dilano Taylor def. Rory MacDonald via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:59– welterweight semi-final
- Ante Delija def. Renan Ferreira via TKO (punches) Round 1, 4:31 – heavyweight semi-final
- Matheus Scheffel def. Juan Adams via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 3:45 – heavyweight semi-final
- Sadibou Sy def. Carlos Leal via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27) – welterweight semi-final
- Nathan Kelly def. Ben Ellis via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:45
- Josh O’Connor def. Emran Sakhizada via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 2:56
- Marcin Wojcik def. Mick Stanton via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:04
- Chris Mixan def. Christian Stigenberg via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Szymon Bajor def. Ronny Markes via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-27)
- Lee Chadwick def. Przemyslaw Mysiala via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 39-28)
- Will Fleury def. Anthony Salamone via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-25, 30-25) – PFL Europe qualifier
- Maxim Radu def. Vojto Barborik via TKO (injury) – Round 1, 1:50 – PFL Europe qualifier
- Moktar Benkaci vs. Francesco Nuzzi ruled a no contest (accidental eye poke) – Round 2, 4:10 – PFL qualifier