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PFL 2 results and highlights: Kayla Harrison wins pro debut, Jason High pushes ref again

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Check out the results and highlights from PFL’s second event of the 2018 season, where two-time olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison won her pro debut by armbar, and Jason High pushes another referee.

PFL Media

PFL 2 of the 2018 season has just finished up, with Will Brooks and Luiz Firmino grinding back and forth in the main event. There weren’t a ton of significant strikes landed, but when the dust settled it was Brooks who walked away with the win and three points on the board. The co-main event witnessed Brian Foster and Ramsey Nijem jockey for position over the course of two rounds, before Foster dropped Nijem with a flying knee, and then finished him off with ground and pound to earn the four points. Two-time Olympic gold medalist in Judo, Kayla Harrison, was dominant in her professional debut, submitting Brittney Elkin with an armbar in the opening round.

In what might have been an early stoppage, Efrain Escudero submitted Jason High early in the third round. High immediately protested that he didn’t tap, and even pushed the referee with one hand. This is the second time High has put his hands on an official, as he was cut from the UFC for pushing a referee in the aftermath of his loss to Rafael dos Anjos back in 2014. After High realized that call was going to stand, he stormed off and began to push over a row of folding chairs that were positioned cage-side. To make this outcome even more weird, Escudero was not awarded any points due to him missing weight.

Opening up the main card, Sean O’Connell picked up five points when he dropped Ronny Markes early in the second round, and then followed up with a lengthy barrage of ground strikes to seal the deal. What else will the PFL 2018 have in store for us?

Main Card:

Will Brooks def. Luiz Firmino by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Lightweight

Brooks played along the outside before blasting a quick takedown. After sitting on the bottom for a bit, Firmino began to work a deep half guard sweep, prompting Brooks to stand up and back away. Back on the feet, Firmino moved forward with pressure, searching for a takedown of his own, and ultimately snagged a single leg. Brooks scrambled back to his feet right before the round ended.

A jousting jab was on display for Brooks to open up the second stanza, Firmino rushed forward to close the distance. It was Brooks who snapped off a takedown, but Firmino calmly worked his way back to his feet. Brooks went back to his jab as Firmino marched forward, but could not maintain the space for very long. Brooks found himself some separation long enough to score a few jabs, and then blasted a double leg to finish the round on top.

Brooks scored a takedown right away to start the final round. With Firmino on his back, Brooks landed a few ground strikes, but Firmino once again worked back to his feet. Unable to get off of the fence, Firmino gave up another takedown and spent the rest of the bout underneath Brooks.

  • Brooks - 3 points

Brian Foster def. Ramsey Nijem by TKO at :23 of round 3: Lightweight

Foster came out winging punches in typical Foster fashion, stinging Nijem early in the match. The grappling game ensued, with Foster taking top position and even working his way to the back of Nijem. Going for an arm triangle caused Foster to give Nijem the top position, and back and forth they went. Foster locked up a really tight Kimura and looked as if he was going to pull it off, but the buzzer sounded before the finish was realized.

Nijem found top position early in the second round thanks to a botched guillotine attempt from Foster, and racked up quite a bit of time with Foster on his back. Nijem jumped on a guillotine himself, but just ended up giving up the position as a result. Foster dropped a few hammers as Nijem attempted some up kicks as time ran out.

Foster scored with back to back spinning kicks, and then dropped Nijem with a sensational flying knee. Nijem would not be given a chance to recover as Foster pounced all over him. The ground strikes of Foster were set free and the referee had no choice but to stop the fight.

  • Foster - 4 points

Kayla Harrison def. Brittney Elkin by submission (armbar) at 3:18 of round 1: (W) Lightweight

Harrison scored a takedown early on in the fight and started landing some pretty solid strikes from the top. Elkin exposed her back to which Harrison quickly took advantage of. Methodically, Harrison began attacking an arm and although Elkin held on for a bit, once Harrison hit the roll, it was all over. This was quite the impressive professional debut for Harrison.

Efrain Escudero def. Jason High by submission (guillotine) at :35 of round 3: Lightweight

High jumped on a guillotine right off the bat, then rolled with it to find top position. Escudero quickly attacked a leg that he used as a way to scramble back to his feet, but High was able to control him up against the cage for a substantial amount of time. High ultimately scored the takedown, but didn’t do too much with it before Escudero stood back up. High did get another takedown before the round ended.

High continued to get the better of the grappling exchanges in the second frame, as he was able to close the distance and plant Escudero on his back. A couple of submission attempts from High kept Escudero on the defense as he continued to rack up top control time. Escudero would not return to his feet before the round expired.

Escudero jumped on a really tight guillotine early in the final round and dropped down to the ground. High struggled to escape, and when it appeared as if he was reaching for the forearm, the referee assumed it was a tap and stopped the fight. Instantly pleading that he didn’t tap, High pushed the referee with one hand, and then stormed off in a rage, flinging chairs everywhere.

**It should be noted that Escudero did not make weight for this bout and will not be awarded any points

Watch the controversial ending (via ZombieProphet):

Sean O’Connell def. Ronny Markes by TKO at :41 of round 2: Light Heavyweight

Both men exchanged leg kicks, but it wasn’t long before Markes got the takedown and took the back. O’Connell remained relatively safe, and waited for his moment to explode into the top position. Being the seasoned grappler that he is, Markes quickly reversed O’Connell and worked his way back to the back. A couple of strikes scored for Markes, but again O’Connell exploded into top position. Back and forth the fighters went before brawling for a bit on the feet. Markes picked up a last second takedown, but O’Connell stood back up before the round expired. O’Connell dropped his opponent with a huge punch to open up the final round, and then dropped blow after blow after blow, until the referee had seen enough.

  • O’Connell - 5 points

Prelims:

Brandon Halsey def. Smealinho Rama by TKO at :01 of round 3: Light Heavyweight

  • Halsey - 4 points

Islam Mamedov def. Yuki Kawana by unanimous decision: Lightweight

  • Mamedov - 3 points

Vinny Magalhaes def. Jamie Abdallah by submission (RNC) at 1:37 of round 1: Light Heavyweight

  • Magalhaes - 6 points

Rakim Cleveland def. Rashid Yusupov by TKO (Injury) at :01 of round 3: Light Heavyweight

  • Cleveland - 4 points

Maxim Grishin def. Jason Butcher by TKO at 1:40 of round 1: Light Heavyweight

  • Grishin - 6 points

Robert Watley def. Thiago Tavares by TKO (Ref stoppage after illegal groin strike) at :35 of round 2: Lightweight

  • Watley - 5 points

Natan Schulte def. Chris Wade by unanimous decision: Lightweight

  • Schulte - 3 points

Dan Spohn def. Bazigit Atayev by TKO at 4:31 of round 3: Light Heavyweight

  • Spohn - 4 points