Impa Kasanganay Goes Through Hell to Clinch Top Seed in PFL Light Heavyweight Playoffs

June 22, 2024
1 month

Impa Kasanganay’s face saw a steady stream of blood trickling down his cheeks during the second round of his PFL 5 fight with Jakob Nedoh Friday night in Salt Lake City, Utah. While Kasanganay was in trouble, Nedoh scored a knockdown in the second round, but he didn’t quit. Late in the second round, MMAfighting latest news saw that Kasanganay rocked Nedoh.

Kasanganay, the defending PFL light heavyweight champion, followed up with a wild sequence of punches. He dropped Nedoh, who immediately sprung back to his feet along the cage. However, Kasanganay didn’t give him room to breathe.

Kasanganay continued to hit Nedoh until the bell sounded for the end of the round. While the referee didn’t signal a clear end to the fight, Nedoh had taken an extended beatdown. In between rounds, the cage-side doctor came in and called a stoppage to the fight.

Kasanganay’s fight stood out during a night of lackluster performances as fighters in the light heavyweight and lightweight divisions fought for their spots in the playoffs. Things weren’t always perfect for Kasanganay, but he found the right combination in the second round. He will get an opportunity to defend his title.

Final PFL Light Heavyweight Regular Season StandingsTop four make playoffs
NameWin LossPoints
1.Impa Kasanganay2011
2.Rob Wilkinson209
3.Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov209
4.Josh Silveira106*
5.Antonio Carlos Junior116
6.Sadibou Sy114
7.Alex Polizzi113
8. Andrew Sanchez010
9. Tom Breese010
10. Jakob Nedoh020
11.Simon Biyong020
*Won tiebreaker for final playoff spot due to finishing the first fight of the season in a faster time.

Mads Burnell Ruins Collard’s Homecoming

Clay Collard was thrilled to be the headliner for this card. Collard, the runner-up from last year’s PFL lightweight season, was fighting in his home state. However, while Collard put on his typical display of high-volume striking, he couldn’t wilt Burnell. Burnell needed a first-round finish to advance to the playoffs.

But Burnell said in the leadup to the fight that he didn’t care about the points or making the playoffs. What Burnell wanted was a victory in the cage. He successfully beat Collard because of what he could do on the ground.

Burnell wasn’t flustered by Collard’s pressure and high strikes thrown. Burnell waited for openings and secured several takedowns. The best MMA news sites show he could ride his wrestling to a decision victory.

Collard still clinched a playoff spot. He will be the fourth seed and will have to beat former Bellator champion Brent Primus to win the belt.

PFL Lightweight regular season standingsTop four make playoffs
NameWin LossPoints
1.Brent Primus209
2. Gadzhi Rabadanov206
3.Michael Dufort115*
4.Clay Collard115
5.Elvin Espinoza114
6.Adam Piccolotti113
7. Mads Burnell113
8.Bruno Miranda113
9.Patricky Pitbull020
10.Solomon Renfro01-1**
*Tiebreaker for the third/fourth seed was determined by the time in which each fighter finished their first fight.**Renfro was deducted one point for missing weight.

Sy Rebounds With KO Win over Opponent with 24-Hour Notice

Andrew Sanchez didn’t mind stepping in to fight Sadibou Sy with less than a day’s notice. Sanchez was already scheduled to fight Karl Albrektsson in a light heavyweight bout. However, when Sy’s original opponent, Tom Breese, pulled out due to injury, the organization asked if Sanchez would mind filling in.

Sanchez filled in valiantly to fight Sy, who won the PFL’s welterweight division last season before bumping up to light heavyweight this season. Sanchez hung tough with Sy for three rounds. Sy was content to blast Sanchez with kicks.

However, Sy managed to sting Sanchez with a hook late in the third round and followed with a combination that earned him a standing knockout.

There’s No Substitute for Experience

Primus had to fight to survive in the first round when Solomon Renfro dropped him with a punch. When Primus got up, he dropped Renfro before attempting to lock up a submission. While Primus didn’t succeed in the first round, he may have filed away some information about what worked for use later.

Primus may have been behind on the scorecards in the third round, but he was able to get Renfro on the mat again. MMA news sites show that Primus was able to wrap up another submission victory to give him the top seed in the lightweight playoffs.

Miranda and Pitbull Can’t Steal a Playoff Spot

Bruno Miranda and Patrick Pitbull both aggressively pursued a first-round finish. Each man needed all six points to earn a spot in the lightweight playoffs. Their fight led to some wild moments.

Within the first minute of the fight starting, Pitbull and Miranda both attempted to land a flying knee at the same time. Throughout the fight, each man had their moments where they appeared like they had their opponent in a position to win.

Pitbull nearly submitted Miranda in the first round. Miranda was in position to knock out Pitbull in the third. But in both cases, the veteran fighters leaned on their savvy and experience to survive.

2022 Light Heavyweight Champion Bounced

Former UFC fighter and Brazilian reality TV star Antonio Carlos Junior ran through the PFL’s light heavyweight division when he won the championship in 2022. But after being forced to take 2023 off due to personal issues, he missed a chance to get back to the playoffs when he was outwrestled by Alex Polizzi in a fight that went the distance.

Here’s a look at the rest of the fights on the card not mentioned above:

  • Light heavyweight, Rob Wilkinson win by split decision over Josh Silveira, 29-28 (Wilkinson x2), 29-28 (Silveira)
  • Light heavyweight, Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov win by decision over Simon Biyong, 30-27 (x3)
  • Lightweight, Gadzhi Rabadanov win by decision over Elvin Espionza, 30-27 (x3)
  • Lightweight, Adam Piccolotti win by split decision over Michael Dufort, 29-28 (Piccolotti x2), 29-28 (Dufort)
  • Lightweight, Sergio Cossio win by decision over Anthony Romero, 29-28 (x3)
  • Lightweight, Brayhan Zurcher win by knockout over Julian Ruiz, Round 2 1:26

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By Dean McHugh.