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PFL 2021 Playoffs results: Kayla Harrison, Taylor Guardado advance to the finals

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Another four fighters have fought their way to the finals of the PFL 2021 season.

Kayla Harrison advances to the finals of the 2021 PFL season.
Kayla Harrison advances to the finals of the 2021 PFL season.
PFL MMA

Our Professional Fighters League (PFL) finals for the women’s lightweight and heavyweight divisions have been set.

Kayla Harrison dominated Genah Fabian to advance to the finals again. Harrison took Fabian down and went to work with some hellacious ground-and-pound that would see the fight come to an end in the first round. The 2019 champion will be meeting a new face at the finals in Taylor Guardado, who earned a split decision win over Mariana Morais earlier in the evening.

Bruno Cappelozza and Ante Delija run it back again after they defeated Jamelle Jones and Denis Goltsov in their respective heavyweight fights. Cappelozza knocked Delija out in just 46 seconds during the regular season, so it will be interesting to see what happens in the rematch.

Here is how the fights played out.

Women’s Lightweight Tournament Semifinals

Kayla Harrison def. Genah Fabian via technical knockout (punches) at 4:01 of Round 1

Harrison makes the first move and forces her way into the clinch with Fabian. Harrison lands a few knees to the legs and goes upstairs for one to the head of Fabian. Fabian is doing her best keeping Harrison away from her hips, but she is eventually taken down. Harrison is in side-control and has Fabian on her back as she lets off a few left hands before stepping into the mount. Harrison drops some hammerfists on Fabian and starts attacking with an armbar attempt. She does not get it, but Harrison just starts unloading with left and right hands on Fabian, who is now flattened out on the canvas. Harrison is absolutely relentless and finishes her opponent with ground-and-pound with a minute left in the first round. Harrison is back in the finals and remains undefeated with a chance to capture the women’s lightweight championship again.

Taylor Guardado def. Mariana Morais via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Guardado comes out and fires off some leg kicks. Morais throws some hooks, but Guardado responds by closing the distance and clinches with her up against the cage. Morais is briefly taken down to the canvas but gets back up and tosses Guardado down. Morais attempts a guillotine. Guardado gets out of it and is back to her feet. Morais looks for another toss, but Guardado blocks and they stay in the clinch for a bit, with each woman landing a knee or two to the head and body of one another. They separate and spend the final minute of the round exchanging. Fairly close round between Guardado and Morais.

Guardado and Morais return to the center of the cage and trade. Guardado shoots in with a double-leg takedown and gets it. She works in a few shots to the body but Morais is already on the move and trying to get into full guard. There is not too much work being done on the ground, so referee Gary Copeland stands them up and Morais pushes forward with a right hook. Guardado misses a combination, but pops Morais with a jab. Morais throws a right hand and Guardado finishes with a leg kick. Another close round, but Guardado probably did enough to take it.

Morais is busier in the third round, going for a head kick and a combination that touched Guardado. Morais and Guardado end up in the clinch again and after a battle up against the cage, they separate and begin striking again. Morais comes forward and Guardado clinches, but is tossed yet again to the canvas. Once on the ground, Morais throws shots to the head and body of Guardado. Guardado attempts to get up twice but Morais keeps up the pressure and is content with landing some ground-and-pound until the fight ends. That was definitely Morais’ round, so it may come down to how the first round was scored. Guardado — a short-notice replacement for Larissa Pacheco — earns a split decision and secures her spot in the final against the winner of Kayla Harrison vs. Genah Fabian.

Heavyweight Tournament Semifinals

Bruno Cappelozza def. Jamelle Jones via technical knockout (punches) at 1:33 of Round 2

Cappelozza is patient at the start of round one. Jones comes forward and attempts to get Cappelozza to clinch. The Brazilian is hit with a knee in the groin and the action is paused. Cappelozza does not take too long to recover from the groin strike and returns with a leg kick that visibly buckled Jones. He goes for a head kick but shifts his attention back to the leg kick, which again hurts Jones. Jones is trying to defend against the attacks of Cappelozza, but it is proving to be difficult. He is able to clinch with Cappelozza again, but that lasts only a few seconds. Cappelozza keeps going to the leg and it is still very clear that Jones is hurt. He fires back with a few hooks but Cappelozza is getting the better of the exchanges.

Jones is swinging hard and trying to catch Cappelozza coming in at the start of the second round. Cappelozza lands a few jabs and is suddenly launched across the cage as Jones explodes forward for a takedown. Cappelozza quickly sprawls and gets out of it. He goes back to the leg kick and follows up with a jab. That last jab from Cappelozza puts Jones down. Capelozza follows up with ground-and-pound before the referee steps in to stop the fight. He meets Ante Delija in a rematch for the finals.

Ante Delija def. Denis Goltsov via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Goltsov and Delija both throw jabs. Goltsov sees his land and is forced to defend a takedown as Delija shoots in. They clinch up against the cage and Goltsov is able to get some nice knees to the body in before turning Delija around and forcing him into the cage. They separate and Goltsov gets cracked by a stunning left hand from Delija. It opens up a cut on the bridge of his nose and he responds by going for a takedown of his own after him and Delija clinch again. Goltsov controls Delija from mount but would be reversed and end up on his back again. Delija finishes the round on top and likely earns a 10-9 for his efforts.

Goltsov opts to keep the fight standing and hits Delija with a few jabs and a partially blocked head kick for round two. Delija tries for a takedown, but it is stuffed and they clinch. Goltsov is able to get Delija down to the canvas and begins unloading with short punches on the ground and it looks as though the referee may step in. He does not and Golstov continues to attack, but is once again reversed. Delija lands a few shots from top position to close out the round. Despite the last-minute reversal, that was still Golstov’s round.

Delija returned to his initial strategy and took Goltsov down right at the beginning of the third round. Golstov remains on his back for a good portion of the round, eating a few shots to the body from Delija. He tries to get up, but is forced down again by Delija. Goltsov is able to return to his feet and they clinch, throwing knees to the body. Goltsov attempts a knee toward the end of the round and presses Delija up against the cage. They separate and Delija circles away from Golstov as the bell signifying the end of the round sounds. Delija is declared the winner and clinched his spot in the finals in what was widely considered a major upset.

Preliminary Results:

Renan Ferreira def. Stuart Austin via knockout (punch) at 0:31 of Round 1

Muhammed Dereese def. Carl Seumanutafa via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Marina Mokhnatkina def. Claudia Zamora via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Amanda Leve def. Miranda Barber via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:18 of Round 1

Christian Lohsen def. Jonas Flok via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)