Team ATT is not only taking over AEW, but on Wednesday, it took over PFL MMA.
During the PFL Championships at Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in South Florida, American Top Team celebrated four champions (Antonio Carlos Junior, Movlid Khaybulaev, Raush Manfio, Kayla Harrison) and a runner-up (Magomed Magomedkerimov).
Harrison is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a two-time Impractical Jokers guest star, a two-time mom and now a two-time PFL MMA champion. Her adopted daughter, Kyla, stood next to mom during the post-fight ceremony as PFL ring announcer Lilian Garcia, a WWE alum, announced Harrison the winner. That’s a nice moment.
PFL President Ray Sefo then handed Harrison the championship title belt, and PFL CEO Peter Murray followed by presenting Harrison with the extra large poster-sized $1-million check.
Not too shabby.
On Wednesday in the main event of the PFL MMA Championships, Harrison (12-0) remained unbeaten with an armbar submission victory in the second round over a game Taylor Guardado (3-2). Harrison won her second consecutive PFL women’s lightweight championship belt and that cool $1-million.
The victory just one part of an exciting week for Harrison as she officially adopted her second child, her nephew, Emery. She previously adopted her niece, Kyla. They are now her son and daughter.
PFL is different form the rest, using a regular season and playoff format, culminating with a one night championship, featuring six championship fights.
Each championship fight had a five-round limit, and each champion walked home with $1-million.
Raush Manfio of American Top Team won the lightweight championship with a unanimous decision over Loik Radzhabov of Sanford MMA.
Manfio -- who was very good with the right hand (punch/strikes) and tie-up knee lifts -- conditioned himself well through his coaches to go five rounds. He outworked and outlasted a tough Radzhabov.
“Shoeface” Antonio Carlos Junior, the champion of the light heavyweight division, gave ATT another PFL title.
Carlos Junior (13-5) used a rear naked choke to submit Marthin Hamlet (8-3) in the first round.
American Top Team continued its winning ways as Movlid Khaybulaev (19-0-1) defeated Chris Wade (20-7) by unanimous decision for the PFL featherweight championship.
Ray Cooper III (24-7-1) brought the crowd to its feet in the co-main event with an exploding knockout of Magomed Magomedkerimov (29-6) of American Top Team in the third round for the welterweight championship.
In a non-title, prelim bout, Jordan Young (12-2) of American Top Team beat Omari Akhmedov (21-7-1) also of American Top Team by TKO in Round 3. Young bounced back from his first round setback and began punching his way to victory with some stiff overhand rights and a right uppercut.
American Top Team’s Dan Lambert, Junior dos Santos, Austin Vanderford and Paige VanZant took a break from AEW Dynamite, which is Wednesdays, to support the ATT fighters.
Jorge Masvidal, too. Head Coach Conan Silveira, MMA Coach Mike Brown and Wrestling Coach Steve Mocco were there, lending their expertise, and more ATT coaches, staff (Richie G) and fighters attended.
In an action-packed heavyweight fight, an emotional Bruno Cappelozza (14-5) beat Ante Delija (19-5) by unanimous decision for a PFL championship. Afterward, Cappelozza learned his father died during fight week when Bruno was in South Florida.
Julia Budd, a former Bellator MMA champion, made a successful PFL debut in the lightweight division with a unanimous decision victory over Kaitlyn Young.
Budd (16-3) and Young (12-12-1) fought for the outstanding women’s MMA group Invicta, but this was their first meeting in competition form. One of Canada’s finest, Budd is a big fan of WWE Hall of Famer Bret “The Hitman” Hart. She will compete in the PFL regular season in 2022.
Decorated boxer Claressa Shields (1-1) lost a split decision to Abigail Montes (3-0) in a lightweight battle. Shields looked better in her second fight, compared to her MMA debut.
In the opening bout, a lightweight contest, Don Madge (10-3-1) beat Nathan Williams (13-8) by rear-naked choke in the second round.
Randy Couture, Kenny Florin and Sean O’Connell called the action.
It was a long day for fighters, coaches, staff, media and fans. Fights began at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN+ with five fights. Then ESPN2 broadcast five fights, starting at 8 p.m. By the time the post-show press conference ended, it was 12:30 p.m.-plus.
My MMA & Pro Wrestling Talk on the Web and Social Media
YouTube: jim varsallone (jimmyv3 channel)