Just like that it’s main event time already here at the PFL Challenger Series. Headlining week 2 of the PFL Challenger Series is another clash of very well credentialed grapplers as Amanda Leve meets Naranjargal Tsend-Ayush. Leve won her PFL debut during the 2021 PFL Playoffs despite being knocked down early in the fight. Leve is perhaps the most credentialed fighter on tonight’s card, boasting both IBJJF and ADCC championships at only 26 years old. Across the SmartCage stands Naranjargal Tsend-Ayush, a Mongolian born fighter who has represented her nation as a judoka in the 2016 Olympics. Tsend-Ayush is also a multi-time Mongolian national judo champion and as such we should be in for a treat with the grappling exchanges in this bout.
Apparently someone let both fighters know we’re three for three on finishes tonight because these women came out SWINGING! After some big flurries from both women, Leve initiates the clinch and starts grinding along the fence, firing a knee up the middle and successfully fighting off a hip toss from Tsend-Ayush.
Leve however can’t fight it forever and quickly Tsend-Ayush is able to secure a scarf throw and Tsend-Ayush is looking to scramble now. Leve wastes no time showing off her grappling prowess, sneaking out the back door and managing to get both hooks in on Tsend-Ayush’s back, but Tsend-Ayush refuses to let go of the scarfhold. And on that note, Leve is able to slip her head out and now has full control of Tsend-Ayush’s back with the body triangle in.
It’s now a game of survive and advance for Tsend-Ayush as not many people can survive 90 seconds of Leve back control. Leve is doing a good job peppering in some strikes on the back here as she looks to create an angle to attack a submission. The 10 second clapper hits and Leve abandons any plans for a submission, raining down ground and pound to finish the round.
Tsend-Ayush is able to survive the round and we’re back to the feet where she’s able to land a big left hook, but Leve is undeterred. Leve looks to close distance behind a superman punch but Tsend-Ayush is able to evade and keep her at bay for the time being.
Leve seems to want to show off her skill in other departments as she is perfectly content to strike with Tsend-Ayush at this point, perhaps looking to make a point about her striking after getting knocked down in her PFL debut.
With 90 seconds to go in the round Leve lands a massive overhand left with a right hook behind it, but Tsend-Ayush is still returning fire, landing a pair of heavy hooks. While Tsend-Ayush may not be super technical in her striking, she’s unorthodox and willing to brawl which can make it difficult to get her timing down.
The 10 second clapper hits and both of these fighters are heading to the first 3rd round of their professional careers with a PFL contract on the line!
We begin a pivotal 3rd round with a PFL contract up for grabs and two willing competitors as Tsend-Ayush lands another pair of big hooks and follows it up with a straight right that catches Leve right on the chin.
BOTH FIGHTERS LETTING THEIR HANDS GO IN THE 3RD!#PFLonFubo LIVE NOW | @fuboSports— PFL (@PFLMMA) February 4, 2023
🌎: https://t.co/jPNvomD5xg pic.twitter.com/Mqpc5E3oHj
Not easily deterred, Leve marches forward and lands a big straight left hand of her own. Leve is continuing to press the action as she’s really pulling away on the striking statistics at this point. As we approach the halfway point of the round, Leve is landing the volume although it does feel like Tsend-Ayush has landed the heavier shots as the fighters clinch with Tsend-Ayush thinking about a takedown.
Tsend-Ayush decides to change course and break the clinch, retreating back to the center of the SmartCage and resetting. It seems like the pace is starting to take its toll on both women as the volume wanes a little bit. Leve lands a monster head kick as the fight winds down but Tsend-Ayush just eats it as she has every other strike tonight.
The fighters are going straight through the bell after a brief lull with both of them emptying the tank in the final exchange of the fight! While both women landed, it seemed Leve got the better of that final exchange to likely clinch the fight for her. We go to the judges now to find out!
BJJ ace Amanda Leve stays undefeated with her second victory under the PFL banner!
Amanda Leve def. Naranjargal Tsend-Ayush via UD (29-28 3x)