PFL: Daytona highlights: Jon Fitch gets first finish in more than 10 years

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The knock on Jon Fitch through the years is that he doesn’t finish fights. On Friday night, he may have knocked that monkey off his back.

Fitch (29-7-1) survived some heavy hands from Brian Foster (39-7) to pick up a second-round submission win in the headlining bout of the Professional Fighters League debut event, “PFL: Daytona.” The show took place at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., and aired on NBCSN.

It was his first stoppage since June 12, 2007, when he tapped out Roan Carneiro at UFC Fight Night 10, also in Florida. Since that win over Carneiro, Fitch, a onetime UFC welterweight title challenger, has gone 14-5-1 – with all 14 wins by decision.

Included in his decision victories were five wins for WSOF, including at WSOF 30 when he won the vacant welterweight title, and WSOF 34 – a defense of the belt against Jake Shields. WSOF became the PFL starting with Friday night’s event and will have its full first season starting in 2018.

Check out the highlights from Fitch’s win over Foster above.

For more on “PFA: Daytona,” check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

PFL: Daytona highlights: Jason High slides his way past Caros Fodor in Florida

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Jason High and Caros Fodor had to deal with some slick conditions on Friday, fighting outdoors after rain and Florida humidity made the cage surface a skating rink.

But after three rounds, High (21-6) topped Fodor (11-6) in a battle of welterweight veterans. The Kansas City product picked up a trio of 29-28 scores for a unanimous decision victory.

Check out the highlights from their fight above, which was part of the Professional Fighters League debut event, “PFL: Daytona.” The show took place at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., and aired on NBCSN.

For more on “PFA: Daytona,” check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

PFL: Daytona highlights: Ronny Markes slips and slides past ex-champ Smealinho Rama

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To open up the newly formed Professional Fighters League’s first event, Ronny Markes topped a former WSOF champion.

Markes (17-5), in a light heavyweight bout, grinded out a unanimous decision win over former WSOF heavyweight champ Smealinho Rama (10-3). Markes dealt with a slick canvas thanks to humidity and rain at the outdoor venue, but picked up a pair of 29-28 scores and a 30-27.

Check out the highlights from their fight above, which was part of the Professional Fighters League debut event, “PFL: Daytona.” The show took place at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., and aired on NBCSN.

For more on “PFA: Daytona,” check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

'PFL: Daytona' results: Jon Fitch survives early trouble, submits Brian Foster

One moment, it looked like Jon Fitch was finished. The next, he was picking up his first stoppage win in 10 years.

Fitch (29-7-1) survived powerful striking from Brian Foster (39-7) to battle back and score a second-round submission win. The contest served as the headlining bout of Friday’s Professional Fighters League debut event, “PFL: Daytona,” which took place at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.

The action, which aired on NBCSN, kicked off several hours earlier than expected when NASCAR’s Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race, which was supposed to precede the fights, was halted due to rain.

Fitch looked to close the distance quickly in the fight but was stuffed by Foster, who latched the neck and secured an early guillotine attempt. However, Fitch patiently worked his neck free and set up on top, looking to strike. Foster turned quickly to an armbar that briefly threatened, but Fitch did work his arm free. From there, Fitch implemented his patented grinding attack until the bell.

Foster came out swinging in the second, landing a big right hand that hurt Fitch, who scrambled to try and get inside and slow down the action. Foster briefly thought about a choke but let it go in favor of holding top position, eventually retuning to the feet to continue striking. As he resumed the attack, something went wrong with Foster’s leg, and he dropped to the canvas and covered.

With the immediate change in momentum, Fitch was able to get on the back, not bothering with the hooks before latching his arm around the neck and finishing with a bulldog choke.

High, Markes pick up decision wins in sloppy cage

In a key welterweight fight, Jason High (21-6) got out to a quick start and earned a decision win over Caros Fodor (11-6).

High took the fight to the floor early, though the intense humidity made holding position difficult. High briefly took the back in a scramble, though Fodor quickly turned inside to defend. High also briefly held a guillotine, but Fodor was able to escape that, as well.

High had success on the feet to start the second, so Fodor elected to take the fight to the canvas. Eventually, though, High was able to work back to his feet, then reverse the position with his own takedown, where he stayed until the bell.

Fodor had his best round in the third, but it was too little, too late, and High was awarded a unanimous decision, 29-28 on all three cards.

In the night’s first fight, light heavyweight Ronny Markes (17-5) earned a grinding decision win over former WSOF heavyweight champion Smealinho Rama (10-3).

The pair traded leg kicks to open before Markes drove through for an easy takedown. Rama immediately countered, sweeping to the top, though he couldn’t keep his opponent on the floor. No matter, as Rama utilized a sharp jab to outwork his opponent for most of the frame.

The action took a quick break in the second, as a bit of water had pooled on the slick canvas. When the action restarted, Markes took the action there, as well, moving the fight to floor and maintaining top position until the bell.

Markes scored a takedown again quickly in the third, pinning his opponent to the canvas. Rama was granted a standup with one minute remaining but couldn’t capitalize on the feet, and Markes was awarded a unanimous decision, 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.

“PFA: Daytona” results include:

  • Jon Fitch def. Brian Foster via submission (bulldog choke)
  • Herman Terrado vs. Joao Zeferino
  • Jason High def. Caros Fodor via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Ronny Markes def. Smealinho Rama via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

For more on “PFA: Daytona,” check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Curious about PFL's 2018 tournament format? Carlos Silva breaks down the road to $1 million

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The PFL debuts tonight in Daytona with one of four fight cards through the rest of the calendar year that will serve as warm-ups to the real thing in 2018.

And the real thing is going to be something very different from what MMA fans are used to, according to CEO Carlos Silva.

The newly launched Professional Fighters League, the rebranded promotion formerly known as WSOF, will have an official debut season in 2018. Tonight’s four-fight card airs on NBCSN from Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.

But when the promotion picks up steam starting in January, it’ll go forward full-bore, it sounds like.

Silva said the PFL’s tournament structure will be based around seven traditional weight classes, from bantamweight up to heavyweight. There will be 12 fighters per weight class, he said, and between January and August, each fighter will get three fights in the regular season.

Fighters will earn points for wins and losses, bonus points for finishes, and additional points if they finish in the first round as opposed to, say, the third. A unanimous decision win will be worth more than a split call, too.

“At the end of August, we’ll look at all the points, look at some tie-breakers, and we’re going to take the top eight by points in each weight class, and they’re going to make it into the playoffs,” Silva told MMAjunkie Radio.

After that, PFL will have a playoff event in October in which fighters will have to fight twice in one night. They’ll be seeded like a traditional tournament, in which No. 1 meets No. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6 and 4 vs. 5. And the fighters who reach the final then will get a break until the championship event in December.

Silva said that event will feature all seven weight classes, with the finalists in each division fighting for the crown – which comes with a $1 million prize per division. He said the entire payout pool for the league will be $10 million in the first season, which leaves $3 million to pay out for regular-season fights and tournament fights ahead of the finals.

There will be 18 total events making up the regular season from January to August, all in North America, Silva said.

So what do you think of the PFL format? Make sure to vote in our poll below. And check out the video above for more from Silva ahead of tonight’s PFL launch.

For more on “PFL: Daytona,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Trash talking opponent Caros Fodor not part of Jason High's PFL: Daytona game plan

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Jason High may not be the kind of guy who wants to talk trash with his opponents, but he’s still got some pretty specific words for Caros Fodor heading into their fight tonight.

“When I see this fight in my head, I’m like a furious, unrelenting tornado of mixed martial arts, and I’m (stopping) Caros’ style at every turn,” High told MMAjunkie Radio. “I’m making him be disgusted with me, like he never wants to get in there with me again. That’s what I see for every fight.”

High (20-6) and Fodor (11-5) meet tonight at PFL: Daytona, the debut event for the newly launched Professional Fighters League, the rebranded promotion formerly known as WSOF. The card, which serves as one of a series of events that precede the promotion’s debut season in 2018, airs tonight on NBCSN from Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.

That “furious, unrelenting tornado” of MMA might be about as close to talking smack as High is willing to get. At this point in his career, with fights for the UFC, WSOF, Strikeforce, DREAM, and Titan FC under his belt, what’s the point?

He’s got a job to do against Fodor, is all it comes down to.

“Who wants to talk trash? I think it’s silly,” High said. “I don’t have anything against him. I still plan on beating him up, but it’s business.”

High won two of his three fights under the WSOF banner, but will be fighting for the first time since an October 2016 TKO loss to Joao Zeferino, who also fights on tonight’s card.

But High’s knockout wins over Estevan Payan and Mike Ricci likely are the ones his bosses will be looking at, along with tonight’s fight, to decide High’s potential placement in a 2018 tournament that has promised its winner a $1 million prize.

“I’d like to be involved in that for sure – everybody likes millions of dollars,” High said. “I definitely feel like the main thing for me is being in shape so I can apply that through the entire fight. I feel like not only am I a great athlete, but I keep learning. That’s the main thing: I try to go in there and learn something every day, try to improve on something eveyr day. That’s been a theme in my mind my entire career – just try to enjoy the process and really learn stuff.”

For more on “PFL: Daytona,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Source: MMA Junkie

PFL: Daytona's Joao Zeferino encouraged by thought of winning tourney with big prize money in 2018

Five fights into a career with WSOF – including three in one night – Joao Zeferino is encouraged about what his future holds now that the promotion is morphing into the Professional Fighters League.

Zeferino (21-8) fights tonight at PFL: Daytona against fellow welterweight Herman Terrado (14-3-1). It’s the debut event for the newly launched PFL, a rebranded promotion formerly known as WSOF. The card, which serves as one of a series of events that precede the promotion’s debut season in 2018, airs tonight on NBCSN from Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.

“It’s true that the promotion’s format and name have changed,” Zeferino, from Brazil, told MMAjunkie. “But we’ll see how it plays out over the next few months. I’m still dealing with the same people. But this is all very promising. I’m very excited and honored to participate in the first Professional Fighters League card.”

Zeferino, who went 3-2 for WSOF, said going elsewhere was a possibility for him. But he likes the way the PFL will be formatted – and the potential for a proposed $1 million prize if he wins a tournament.

“It was the best choice for me,” he said. “In addition to the bigger prizes next year, and the monthly salary, I’ve always been very well treated by the team at WSOF – Carlos Silva and Ray Sefo. I renewed my contract and I’ll remain with the organization.”

In 2015, Zeferino fought in the one-night lightweight tournament at WSOF 25 and got past Brian Foster and Jorge Patino with heel hooks to get to the final. But there, he had to fight Foster again, despite beating him in the first round of the tourney, and was knocked out in the second round.

Still, he said that experience was huge for him, perhaps moreso than his two UFC fights in 2013.

“My career has always been about reaching the next level,” he said. “When I was in the UFC, I found myself in a comfort zone as far as training. I needed to evolve, so I set about to do so – so much so, that I won the next seven fights. The WSOF tournament with three fights in one night helped bring my name to the forefront. Even though I lost the final, it was an excellent night. Immediately after, I fought Jon Fitch. It was one weight class above, but I make no excuses (for that loss). I was able to see where I could further improve so I could reach the apex of my career. I did improve, and I was able to show some of that when I defeated Jason High. I keep working on myself, addressing any holes in my game, and further strengthening my best attributes.”

Zeferino will be hoping that strengthening pays off against Terrado, a Strikeforce and Bellator veteran who has all 14 of his wins by stoppage.

“We’ve been studying Herman Terrado,” he said. “He’s a dangerous guy with a good overhand. He comes on strong during the first round. But I think because he has too much muscle, his performance declines in later rounds. I’ll exploit the gaps I see in his game. Sure, he fought at Bellator before, but he’s never beat an opponent of my caliber, or of the fighters I’ve fought and beat.”

For more on “PFL: Daytona,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

With retirement looming, PFL: Daytona's Caros Fodor rejuvenated and ready to go out on high note

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With the fight he considers one of the most emotional he’s ever had to go through behind him, Caros Fodor sees a light at the end of the tunnel and wants to go out on a high note.

Fodor (11-5) returns to action tonight for the first time in 11 months when he meets Jason High (20-6) at PFL: Daytona, the debut event for the newly launched Professional Fighters League. The PFL is the newly rebranded promotion formerly known as WSOF. The card, which serves as one of a series of events that precede the promotion’s debut season in 2018, airs tonight on NBCSN from Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Fodor, a Strikeforce and UFC veteran, beat his adopted brother Ben Fodor in July 2016 at WSOF 32. The two had become heated rivals by that time – but now they’ve mended some fences.

“The fight with my brother, I’m glad that’s out of the way,” Fodor told MMAjunkie Radio. “It was probably one of the most emotional fights I’ve had. I’m glad that’s over with. We hated each other for the rest of the summer and didn’t speak at all. Then we made up on Christmas morning, actually, at my mother’s house. We’ve hung out once since the fight. But we made peace, and we’re all good.”

Fodor said some bonding took place during the holiday over breakfast and said both he and Ben wanted to patch things up.

“It was mutual. I was drunk, which helped me,” Fodor said. “… It was pretty awkward with a dead silence in the house. I made breakfast and handed him some eggs, and he was receptive to it. I love his son, my nephew, and we were exchanging gifts. It felt like the right time. It was pretty casual in the beginning, but the more alcohol consumed, the (more emotional) it got.”

Now that Fodor has that out of the way, and has signed a new contract with PFL, he’s got his eye on the future. Specifically, he’s looking at coming to the end of the line for his fighting career and believes that will come in less than two years.

But the good news is, Fodor says he’s back to enjoying the training process now – and will no doubt be curious to see how that plays out tonight against High in Florida.

“I’m just concentrating on Jason now,” Fodor said. “I don’t really care what the venue is; I just want to have a good night. I’ve been training hard with my mind set. I’m on my last couple fights. This will probably be my last contract. I wanted to retire at 35, and I’m 33 1/2. I’m just going to try to enjoy this whole experience.

“The sport was really tough for me a couple years ago, and it was tough to go through camps. But now I feel like I’m wrapping it up and I’m just enjoying the whole camp process. This has been one of the most enjoyable camps in a long time. I’d have to keep winning and the pay would have to go up a lot to keep going – I’d have to be the champion. We’ll see what happens in a year and a half. I’ve been competing for 13 years now, and I’m kind of beat up and looking forward to the future. I really want to go out on a high note.”

For more on “PFL: Daytona,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Source: MMA Junkie

5 reasons to watch 'PFL: Daytona,' a new league's chance to make a first impression

The announcement that WSOF was no more came in mid-April. The assets of the promotion were reportedly acquired by Russ Ramsey along with venture capitalists Donn Davis and Mark Leschly. The new ownership group quickly rebranded their purchase as the Professional Fighters League.

A lot more than a simple name change took place when the promotion changed hands; there was also a change in philosophy. Instead of a roster of fighters competing for gold belts, the PFL will feature fighters in seven weight divisions competing in a season-style format. At the end of the season, the competitors with the best records advance to a single-elimination postseason playoff with the winners taking home a $1 million prize.

While the PFL season officially launches in 2018, the promotion is holding four events in 2017. The first of those fight cards takes place Friday and is headlined by a bout between former WSOF welterweight champion Jon Fitch and former WSOF lightweight title contender Brian Foster.

While the wins and losses on this card won’t count toward the fighters’ season records, the bouts will be much more than exhibitions, as the promotion intends to use the results to help determine fighter seeding when the season opens in 2018.

“PFL: Daytona” takes place at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. The fight card airs live on NBCSN.

Here are five reasons to watch the event.

1. One chance to make a first impression

Several of the major players involved in the WSOF remain with the PFL, including former President Ray Sefo and former CEO Carlos Silva, who now serve as President of Fighting Operations and President of Event Production and Business Operations, respectively. The continued involvement of Sefo and Silva might make fans feel as if they’re going to see nothing more than a name change with the first PFL card.

The promotion needs to have something more than a new logo and new talking points heading into its first card as a new entity, and that’s not just for the sake of the fans. The promotion also needs to impress any fighters it hopes to attract for its inaugural season in 2018.

There are going to be a lot of eyes on this first PFL card, and with the UFC and Bellator as the top players in the game right now, the PFL needs to hit it out of the park in Daytona. If there are stumbles or missteps, they could be costly and hard to recover from, because if we know anything in 2017, we know the MMA world is not always a forgiving place.

2. The retirement talk was premature

The last time we saw Fitch, he had just ground out a unanimous decision win over Jake Shields to retain his WSOF welterweight title at WSOF 34. Not long after his hand was raised in victory, Fitch, who has been fighting since 2002, said a “funny reading” on his pre-fight brain MRI had him contemplating retirement.

Fitch recently spoke to MMAjunkie Radio about that MRI and said what it showed is something that needs to be monitored on an ongoing basis and not something that needs to be acted upon immediately. To be on the safe side, Fitch paid a visit to the Cleveland Clinic and also had conversations with his doctors.

At this point, Fitch (29-7-1) feels safe continuing his MMA career. Something he will do against Foster (27-9). The winner of this bout will grab the No. 1 seed for the 2018 PFL season in the welterweight division, and while we know there are no gimme fights in MMA, being the top seed should provide the victor with a bit of an easier path to the finals.

Foster enters this fight coming off a submission win over Luiz Firmino at WSOF 33.

3. Establish a foothold

The light heavyweight contest between Smealinho Rama and Ronny Markes has a lot of potential. In Rama, you have a young, former WSOF heavyweight champion looking to establish himself at 205 pounds. In his first bout at light heavyweight, the 25-year-old Rama put a beating on Jake Heun. During that contest, which took place at WSOF 34, Rama looked excellent, showing that the weight cut did not reduce the power in his strikes as he earned a TKO win over Heun.

As for Markes, the former UFC fighter has struggled as of late, going 2-4 after starting his career on a 14-1 run. The move to the PFL could be just what Markes needs to reset his career. He’s still only 29 years old, so he has time to work his way back into the mix.

While Rama (10-2) and Markes (16-5) both have good submission skills, don’t be surprised if these two get after it on the feet, looking to make a statement in the first light heavyweight bout in PFL history.

4. Forget the past

Jason High was seemingly one fight away from fighting for the WSOF lightweight title when he met Joao Zeferino at WSOF 33. At the time, High was 2-0 with the promotion, earning both of those victories via TKO. A questionable TKO stoppage in the second round of the Zeferino bout halted High’s path to title contention.

High, one of the more unheralded fighters in the lightweight division, returns to the cage for the first time since that October defeat, and you can bet he’ll be anxious to get back in the win column.

High faces Caros Fodor, who is coming off a decision win over his brother, Ben Fodor, at WSOF 32. For Fodor (10-5), the lightweight bout against High (20-6) will allow him to put that emotional contest behind him and move forward with his career.

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5. So close

In April 2016, Joao Zeferino dropped a unanimous decision to Fitch in a battle for the vacant WSOF welterweight title. Zeferino followed that with a TKO win over Jason High, earning a shot at Justin Gaethje and his WSOF lightweight belt. Unfortunately for Zeferino, an injury prevented him from battling Gaethje.

Now healed up and back at welterweight, the submission ace returns to the cage for the first time since his win over High in October, and you know Zeferino’s (21-8) plan is to use a victory over Herman Terrado to launch himself into the welterweight mix when the PFL season begins in 2018. Terrado (14-3) is unbeaten in his last four fights and has only gone the distance three times in his career.

For more on “PFL: Daytona,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, WSOF
Source: MMA Junkie

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2475 with Rich Franklin, Marc Ratner and Carlos Silva

Stream or download Friday’s edition of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Rich Franklin, Marc Ratner and Carlos Silva.

Franklin is not opposed to fighting again, but doesn’t think that’s likely at all. He feels like ONE Championship’s number one goal is to continue making inroads into China. Says Angela Lee could be as big as Ronda Rousey is/was. Ratner says the commission was correct for sanctioning the Mayweather-McGregor boxing match. Silva shared some details from next season’s Professional Fighters League regular season and playoffs format.

You can listen below or download the episode from SoundCloud.

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Source: MMA Junkie