Impa Kasanganay Caps Wild PFL 2 Event With Knockout and Dance

April 15, 2024
1 month

Impa Kasanganay obliged the crowd by throwing up his hands and swiveling his hips after knocking Alex Polizzi senseless. But it felt more like a celebration of relief rather than excitement. Kasanganay’s first-round knockout of Polizzi was necessary for the defending champion to keep pace with the rest of the division.

Kasanganay, the defending light heavyweight champion, needed a first-round stoppage to maintain a spot in the top four of the standings. It was a wild night of fights for the PFL in both the light heavyweight and lightweight divisions.

But fighters, especially at light heavyweight, needed something spectacular to maintain a spot in the top four. Kasanganay stung Polizzi on the feet before following up with shots on the ground to force a stoppage. Polizzi wrestled valiantly to try and stay in the fight. 

The latest MMA news shows that Kasanganay won’t be able to take his foot off the gas in the second match of the regular season if he wants to qualify for the playoff tournament to pursue another $1 million prize.

PFL Light Heavyweight Playoff Picture
WinnerRoundEnd OpponentPoints
1.Rob Wilkinson*11:10Tom Breese6
2.Josh Silveira*11:40Sadibou Sy6
3.Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov*12:54Jakob Nedoh6
4.Impa Kasanganay*13:39Alex Polizzi6
5.Antônio Carlos Jr.14:34Simon Biyong6
*Would make playoffs  

Can I Ask Him About Steroids?

There would have been nothing negative to discuss regarding Rob Wilkinson’s in-cage return to the PFL. However, the ESPN+ broadcast featured a hot microphone during breaks between fights. PFL play-by-play announcer Sean O’Connell was caught on air joking with his commentators about what questions to ask Wilkinson during the post-fight interview.

O’Connell was heard asking his coworkers if he should ask Wilkinson where he got his steroids. Wilkinson, the 2022 light heavyweight champion, missed the 2023 season after failing a drug test. During his return, he let the entire division know that time off hadn’t slowed him down.

MMAfighting latest updates show that Wilkinson was able to sting Breese with a shoulder strike before stopping the fight with strong knees and punches.

Defending Champion Takes First Round Loss

Sadibou Sy wanted to avoid the difficulty of cutting weight to defend his welterweight championship. Sy decided to go up two weight classes to compete at light heavyweight. While Sy looked fantastic physically, his fight with last year’s runner-up at light heavyweight, Josh Silveira, was a disaster.

Sy got swept off his feet while attempting to defend a takedown early in the first round. While attempting to brace for hitting the canvas, Sy put his hand down to brace for a fall. Sy’s thumb ended up being bent backward and dislocated. Referee Marc Goddard stopped the fight just 1 minute, 40 seconds into the bout after Sy signaled he was injured.

It was a difficult result for Sy, who had hoped to challenge for a championship in another division. Barring special circumstances, Sy is likely eliminated from title contention.

Clay Collard Takes Out Former Bellator Champion

The merger with Bellator gives PFL’s roster more depth. While there is something to be said for the higher quality of fights, many PFL fighters have struggled to keep up with taking on some of the top-end Bellator fighters. While Patricky “Pitbull” Freire, 38, is toward the end of his MMA career, scoring a knockout victory over him was important for the career of Clay Collard and the title picture in the lightweight division.

But it wasn’t a perfect performance for Collard. The former Bellator champion sent Collard crashing to the canvas with a stiff combination in the first round. However, Collard wasn’t discouraged. 

Instead, he went back to his high-pressure, high-volume style. By the second round, it was clear that Freire couldn’t keep the pace. When Freire shelled up alongside the cage in the second round, Collard could land enough shots to force a stoppage.

PFL Lightweight Playoff Picture
WinnerRoundEnd timeOpponentPoints
1.Michael Dufort*21:03Mads Burnell5
2.Clay Collard*21:49Patricky Freire5
3.Brent Primus*22:54Bruno Miranda5
4.Elvin Espinoza*32:23Adam Piccolotti4
5.Gadzhi RabadanovWin by decisionSimon Biyong3
*Would make playoffs  

Shelling Up Not a Great Idea in MMA

Sean Stickland is a former UFC champion known for fighting out of a defensive shell. However, most fighters who attempt this technique in MMA absorb too much punishment to make it viable. Mads Burnell attempted to employ this strategy as a heavy favorite against Michael Dufort.

Burnell, who had a heavy wrestling advantage, decided to try to shell up and absorb Dufort’s strikes. It was a difficult watch, as Dufort took advantage of the opening to pick up the volume and pepper Burnell throughout the fight.

Dufort landed a heavy body shot in the second round that hurt Burnell. Dufort then wrapped Burnell in a guillotine choke to score a surprising submission win and grab first place in the standings.

Shoeface Establishes Dominance in Return

The best MMA news sites show that Antonio Carlos Jr. is one of the more interesting contenders in the light heavyweight division. Carlos was the division’s champion in 2021, but missed the previous two seasons with injuries and legal troubles.

Carlos didn’t waste time utilizing his top-tier grappling against Simon Biyong. Carlos was able to score a takedown early in the fight and finished his opponent with 26 seconds left in the first round with a rear-naked choke. Twelve of Carlos’ 16 career wins have come by submission.

There was one fight on the preliminary card that didn’t impact the regular-season standings. Here’s a look at that result, which isn’t listed above:

  • Heavyweight, Marcelo Nunes win by submission over Jordan Heiderman, Round 1 2:40

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By Dean McHugh.