The PFL’s 2021 season is officially underway. After a wild first event, it was on to the next as Rory MacDonald made his long-awaited debut. Standing in his way was fellow UFC and Bellator veteran, “Courteous” Curtis Millender.
MacDonald was last in action in October 2019 when rematching Douglas Lima. After a successful Bellator debut in May 2017 against Paul Daley, MacDonald went on to defeat Lima and become the welterweight champion.
During his run with the promotion, Rory MacDonald went 3-2-1 and closed things out seeing Lima get redemption via unanimous decision.
For Millender, he enters into the $1 million tournament as a replacement for David Michaud who was forced out of the contest due to a heart condition. The Anaheim native is 1-1 in his last two Bellator outings and went 3-2 in his UFC run directly prior.
The action started out steadily as Millender went low with leg kicks before seeking the jab. MacDonald ducked in for a single-leg takedown attempt which was well defended. After continually pressing against the cage, MacDonald scored the takedown and worked his way onto his opponent’s back. Slowly working and hand fighting, MacDonald found the rear-naked choke that forced the tap. That’s a quick six points for “The Red King.”
The finish marks the first for Rory MacDonald since the aforementioned Daley win where he pulled off the same maneuver.
— PFL (@PFLMMA) April 30, 2021
The full event results can be seen below.
- Welterweight – 170lbs: Rory MacDonald def. Curtis Millender via first-round submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:38
- Welterweight: Ray Cooper III def. Jason Ponet via first-round submission (arm-triangle choke) at 1:23
- Welterweight: João Zeferino def. Gleison Tibau Decision via unanimous decision (29-28 29-28 29-28)
- Light Heavyweight – 205lbs: Emiliano Sordi def. Chris Camozzi via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-27)
- Light Heavyweight: Antônio Carlos Júnior def. Tom Lawlor via first-round submission (guillotine choke) at 4:43
- Light Heavyweight: Cezar Ferreira def. Nick Roehrick via first-round knockout (punches) at 0:37
- Welterweight: Sadibou Sy vs. Nikolay Aleksakhin ends in a No Contest (accidental eye poke) in the second round at 1:56
- Light Heavyweight: Marthin Hamlet def. Dan Spohn via second-round technical submission (arm-triangle choke) at 0:52