After back-to-back women’s lightweight bouts, Thursday’s PFL Playoffs fight card turned to the big boys, with Carl Seumanutafa taking on Muhammed DeReese on ESPN+.
A non-Playoffs bout, Seumanutafa and DeReese fought for pride and for a chance to impress PFL brass, potentially earning a spot in next year’s tournament in the process.
Here’s how the fight played out at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
The bell sounds, and they’re off quickly. DeReese immediately initiates the clinch and looks for the takedown, but Seumanutafa pops right back to his feet. DeReese presses his opponent against the cage, but Seumanutafa counters with a kimura. One minute gone, and Seumanutafa is holding that kimura grip as DeReese continues to look for the takedown against the cage.
Midway through the round, and they’re still up against the cage, not much happening here. Referee Gary Copeland is OK with it though, as he hasn’t separated them. This is a weird, unexpected round thus far, and Seumanutafa finally drops for the kimura but doesn’t like it there, as he immediately returns to his feet.
DeReese pushes Seumanutafa against the cage once more, and Seumanutafa clings to that kimura grip. Finally, with 40 seconds to go, Seumanutafa rolls, but there’s nothing there, and they’re right back against the cage. This time, though, it’s Seumanutafa looking for the takedown, and DeReese threatens the guillotine.
Ten seconds remain … and the round is over.
Not sure how to score Round 1, so Round 2 becomes all the more important. Already, there’s more action, with Seumanutafa sitting down on his punches and landing a few heavy shots.
They smile and trade words in the center of the cage. Seumanutafa looks for the inside low kick, but it glides high, catching DeReese in the groin. He gets a moment to recover, and they’re back after it.
One minute gone in the round, and Seumanutafa looks for the high kick. It just misses, and DeReese nods. They laugh again, trading a few words in the center of the cage. Big overhand right from DeReese whiffs, but he rushes Seumanutafa and lands a nice uppercut on the inside. Seumanutafa eats it, and DeReese pushes him against the cage.
Wouldn’t ya know it, Seumanutafa is back on that kimura grip.
Carl Seumanutafa threatens with the kimura in the second round!#PFLPlayoffs LIVE NOW on ESPN+— PFL (@PFLMMA) August 20, 2021
How To Watch: https://t.co/WfOt9XBfzk pic.twitter.com/ChqUkd2YRT
Again, DeReese keeps his arm out of danger, but Seumanutafa uses the position to score with a massive throw. They bounce off the mat, and they’re back to their feet in a flash.
It’s DeReese looking for the kimura this time, but Seumanutafa lifts him and attempts a slam –– which DeReese thwarts. The round ends there, and they regroup for Round 3.
Fighter Performance Rating gave DeReese Round 1 and Seumanutafa Round 2, so it’s anybody’s fight here down the stretch.
Action picking up in the 3rd round!#PFLPlayoffs LIVE NOW on ESPN+— PFL (@PFLMMA) August 20, 2021
How To Watch: https://t.co/WfOt9XBfzk pic.twitter.com/QdndxvpJ48
Massive leg kick from Seumanutafa lands and drops DeReese momentarily, but he pops back up and lands a couple bombs of his own. Seumanutafa eats them without issue. More leg kicks from Seumanutafa find a home.
Seumanutafa rushes forward, and DeReese lands a short counter left. Clearly dazed, Seumanutafa hits the mat. That was wild. It looked like a super short shot, but it landed right on the button.
DeReese drops Carl in the 3rd round! Did he just steal the fight with the knockdown?#PFLPlayoffs LIVE NOW on ESPN+— PFL (@PFLMMA) August 20, 2021
How To Watch: https://t.co/WfOt9XBfzk pic.twitter.com/lY5ZHA28u1
DeReese pounces with ground-and-pound, but Seumanutafa survives and works back to his feet. They separate with 45 seconds to go, and they are slugging it out, looking for the knockout. Seumanutafa is going for it, and he launches a flying knee. DeReese literally catches him in midair and slams him to the mat.
The fight ends with DeReese on top. Good luck scoring that one, judges.
It was a tough job, but in the end, the judges all saw it for the same winner: DeReese.
Official Result: Muhammed DeReese def. Carl Seumanutafa via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)