Andre Harrison put Professional Fighters League featherweights on notice. He earned a dominant unanimous decision win over Tuerxun Jumabieke last Thursday at PFL 2018 #1.
“The Bull” took the fight to Jumabieke from the opening bell to the final one at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. The former World Series of Fighting featherweight champion landed hard punches, thudding leg kicks, powerful takedowns and applied a couple of tight D’Arce chokes. Despite his best efforts, he couldn’t finish Jumabieke, a former UFC fighter.
“You guys have gotta remember that even though it was a dominant performance, Jumabieke still has 20 professional wins,” Harrison told the media after the event. “Jumabieke fought in different organizations and he has done well, so it’s not like he’s a pushover where you can just get him up out of there any old kind of way.
“I had no choice but to throw everything and the kitchen sink at him with strikes, takedowns, submission attempts. I did everything I could do but at the end of the day, he’s a tough dude. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
Harrison earned three points for the victory. He’s behind in the standings to Alexandre de Almeida (six), Steven Siler (six) and Lance Palmer (five). All three finished their opponents at PFL 1. None of that matters to Harrison, however, who holds wins over Palmer and Siler.
Harrison said he would’ve loved to have gotten the finish, but at the end of the day, fighters must win to advance in the PFL tournament. Even if a fighter scores a late finish in their first fight, they could find themselves on the outside looking in come playoffs time if they lose their second regular season bout. Harrison, who likely finds himself in a must-win scenario for his second regular season fight, is laser-focused on the ‘W.’
“The name of the game is win and advance,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if I get three points now, three points later. I’m going to get my three, that’s without a doubt. Five, six, whatever points after that, I’ll take that as it comes. Win and advance, man, and today, I advanced.”
“The name of the game is win and you go forward”
The PFL regular season is set up so that the top 8 of 12 athletes in each weight class advance to the postseason. From then on, points for finishes go out the window and it’s all about getting the win to advance. Harrison is preparing for that.
“It doesn’t really matter so much about the whole point system,” Harrison said. “I think everybody is banking a little too much on the point system. ‘Oh, I’m going to be the top seed.’ At the end of the day, you can be the top seed and still lose in the quarters or the semis. The name of the game is win and you go forward.”
Harrison held the WSOF featherweight crown before the promotion rebranded into the PFL. He’s entered the tournament as the favorite to win as a result. He’s maintained his poise and said he hasn’t felt any added pressure because of that.
Speaking of pressure, there’s a lot riding on the tournament. Each weight class’ winner at the end of the year will earn $1 million. While some fighters are buzzing about the opportunity to become millionaires, Harrison isn’t thinking about that, yet.
“If you start thinking about the million dollars now, you may not make it to it,” Harrison said. “So for me, I’m not thinking about the million dollars.”
He said his focus is on his next fight, which is likely slated for July 19 at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, NY.