Andre Harrison (19-0 MMA, 2-0 PFL) clinched the three-seed in the PFL featherweight division on Thursday night with a unanimous decision victory over Nazareno Malegarie (35-5 MMA, 1-1 PFL) at PFL 4.
Harrison’s opponent appears to be up in the air, as the sixth seed hasn’t yet been determined, per the PFL website. Magomed Idrisov and Lee Coville have yet to compete twice, so it appears they’ll fight to determine who will make the tournament. Not knowing his first opponent doesn’t faze Harrison, however.
“I don’t care who it is. It doesn’t matter to me,” Harrison told the media after his fight. “I don’t have my eyeballs on somebody like, ‘I hope I fight him,’ or ‘I hope I don’t fight him.’ There are a lot of great fighters out there.”
Harrison’s potential first-round opponents appear to be the winner of Idrisov vs. Coville, Max Coga, or possibly even Alexandre de Almeida. It depends on how many points the winner of the aforementioned match earns.
The featherweights will compete in October, likely on the PFL 8 card on October 5, in the quarterfinals and semifinals in the same night. Winners of a two-round fight will move on to the semifinals for a three-round showdown to determine who will head to the December 31 million-dollar final.
“Win and advance. Win and advance,” Harrison said his mindset heading into the postseason will be. “Y’all are going to hear that time and time again from me.”
Of course, contestants needed to be one of the top-8 of 12 in their weight class to move onto the post-season. Harrison, after earning three points in his first fight against Tuerxun Jumabieke, potentially NEEDED to win against Malegarie to reach the playoffs. He did just that.
“Relief,” Harrison said is the primary emotion he felt after clinching his playoff berth. “You work your tail off all the time for a goal that really only matters to you and the people closest to you.
“Win lose or draw, I mean, [the media] is speaking to me now, but if somebody else had won and they were here, it wouldn’t really make a huge difference to you guys. So for me, it’s a big relief that I’m the person that’s here that you guys are speaking to. I’m happy that I’m the person. Like you guys said, I clinched that spot, I’m going forward. That’s what this all means to me, man. I’m happy.”
Harrison vs. Malegarie
Harrison took the fight to Malegarie for all three rounds, cruising to a dominant unanimous decision. “The Bull” rocked Malegarie in the second round, and while he kept his poise, he was unable to finish him.
“I’ve seen guys rush in when they thought they hurt somebody and end up losing the fight that way,” Harrison said. “Time and time again, you see guys running in all crazy and end up getting caught. For me, being able to see that somebody’s hurt and not blitzing and getting clipped with something. That poise is what saves you in that position. That comes with experience.”
Harrison said he’d like to improve on his aggression leading into the postseason while maintaining his poise. He’ll get to showcase improvements when October rolls around.
“I’m healthy, everything’s good to go,” he said. “For me, I’m sure I’m going to go home and get yelled at by [my coaches]. We’re going to fix whatever we saw tonight, we’re going to add on to whatever was good tonight.”