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Lance Palmer was the first man to reach the Professional Fighters League Featherweight Tournament Finals; Daniel Pineda was the second and the two will square off for a cool million dollars on New Year’s Eve.
Palmer (21-3) opened the PFL 8 2019 Playoffs 2 event at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Thursday night by going the distance with Alexandre Almeida. “The Party” scored multiple takedowns in the contest and pelted the Brazilian with sneaky punches to the head and kicks to the legs. Almeida (21-10) wasn’t able to find a rhythm and Palmer won easily via unanimous decision when the judges scored it 20-18 (twice) and 20-17.
Palmer then took it to Alex Gilpin (14-3) in the semifinals as he did essentially the same thing as he did to “Capitao.” Palmer out-struck Gilpin repeatedly and took him down virtually whenever he wanted. Gilpin, who put Andre Harrison (21-2-1) to sleep at 1:49 of the second from a ninja choke, tried his best to stem the tide of Palmer’s attacks, but ultimately wasn’t able. In the end, Palmer won a landslide unanimous decision via tallies to 30-27 across the board.
On the other side of the featherweight bracket, underdog Pineda looked nearly invincible as he tore through both men he faced. Pineda (28-13) destroyed previously unbeaten Movlid Khaybulaev (14-1-1) in mere seconds. After forcing the Russian to stumble from a nasty leg kick, “The Pit” swarmed him with punches. When Khaybulaev crumbled in a heap, Pineda kept throwing bombs until referee Chris Tognoni halted in just 29 seconds.
Pineda then ran through Jeremy Kennedy (15-3) as he subbed him at 4:00 of the opening round. Kennedy stopped Luis Laurentino (34-3) at 2:24 of the second with punches, but he was no match for Pineda in the semis. Kennedy repeatedly took the Texan down, but when he made mistake of leaving his he’d on the outside during what would be his final takedown attempt, he fell victim to a textbook guillotine before tapping out.