Dilano Taylor made quick work of Rory MacDonald — and now he’s one fight away from $1 million.
Taylor faced off against MacDonald in the main event of PFL Playoffs 2 on Saturday evening at the Cardiff Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales, and delivered the finest performance of his career, knocking out “The Red King” in the first round after accepting the fight on just a few days’ notice once MacDonald’s original opponent, Magomed Umalatov, was forced off the card with visa issues.
In his short lead up to the fight, Taylor said he believed MacDonald’s best years were behind him, and “The Postman” set out to prove that was true, picking MacDonald apart on the feet before dropping him with a big right hand and following up with strikes on the ground. In the end, referee Marc Goddard was forced to step in and save MacDonald at 3:59 of the opening round.
The win is Taylor’s third in the PFL cage and secures his spot in the 2022 PFL welterweight championship finals on Nov. 25.
In the co-main event of the evening, Ante Delija turned in the best performance of his PFL career, finishing Renan Ferreira with ground-and-pound in the first round to secure his spot in the heavyweight finals.
Delija wasted no time against Ferreira, storming across the cage and securing an early takedown. From there, “Walking Trouble” was dominant, advancing position and raining down shots, forcing Ferreira to to cover up before finally being saved by the referee.
The win moves Delija to 22-5 in his career and locks him into the 2022 PFL Championship on Nov. 25.
In the first heavyweight semifinal of the evening, Matheus Scheffel punched his ticket to the finals with a third-round TKO of Juan Adams.
Both Scheffel and Adams were replacement fighters, with Scheffel stepping in for last season’s PFL champion Bruno Cappelozza (who he defeated during the regular season) and Adams stepping in to Denis Goltsov.
Scheffel proved to be the superior alternate, as he was able to mostly keep the fight standing and land big shots on the feet, leading the referee to make a standing stoppage in the third round after Scheffel rocked Adams.
Scheffel moves to 17-8 in his career and will face Ante Delija in the 2022 heavyweight finals.
In the first welterweight semifinal of the evening, Sadibou Sy was able to outwork Carlos Leal over the course of three rounds.
Sy took the first round due to his kicks, a sharp jab, and sturdy takedown defense, but Leal came on strong in the second and appeared to have the momentum heading into the final frame. It was not to be for Leal though, as Sy caught a second wind, aided perhaps by a low blow from Leal that afforded Sy a break and resulted in the referee deducting a point from Leal.
In the end, Sy took scores of 29-27 on all three judges’ scorecards to advance to the welterweight finals against Dilano Taylor.
In the main card opener, Nathan Kelly bulldozed Ben Ellis en route to a first-round submission victory.
Kelly came storming out of the gates and hurt Ellis repeatedly on the feet before taking the back and locking in a fight-sealing rear-naked choke. The win moved Kelly to 6-2 and qualified him for the 2023 European PFL Series.
Check out the full PFL Playoff 2 results below:
Main card (ESPN/ESPN+ at 2 p.m. ET)
Dilano Taylor def. Rory MacDonald by TKO (punches) at 3:59 of Round 1
Ante Delija def. Renan Ferreira by TKO (punches) at 4:31 of Round 1
Matheus Scheffel def. Juan Adams by TKO (punches) at 3:45 of Round 3
Sadibou Sy def. Carlos Leal by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
Nathan Kelly def. Ben Ellis by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:45 of Round 1
Preliminary Card (ESPN+ at 12 p.m. ET)
Josh O’Connor def. Emran Sakhizada via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:56 of Round 3
Marcin Wojcik def. Mick Stanton via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:04 of Round 1
Chris Mixan def. Christian Stigenberg by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Szymon Bajor def. Ronny Markes by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-27)