Kelvin Tiller took one step closer to his dreams last Thursday. The middleweight-turned-heavyweight submitted Jared Rosholt in the second round of their PFL 4 bout.
Tiller was able to score a takedown on the wrestling-heavy Rosholt in the first round before Rosholt was able to end the round on top with his usual suffocating game. But less than a minute into the second round, Tiller started working on an anaconda choke. He used it to transition into a tight guillotine that forced Rosholt to tap.
The win gave Tiller five points and earned him the second seed heading into the Professional Fighters League playoffs. In October, he’ll potentially fight twice in one night. If he wins both bouts, he’ll compete in the tournament finals for a chance to win $1 million.
That would be life-changing for Tiller, who said his primary motivation is to not be poor again and give his own children more than he had.
“I don’t want to be poor again,” Tiller told the media after his win. “I don’t want to go back to that, all my kids having to grow up like we had to grow up. My little youngins, they looking up to me to do something positive without being in the streets, not robbing, not selling drugs. I didn’t graduate high school, so they need to look up to something. I want to be that man that they look up to.”
Tiller said he was raised by his single mom.
“She raised us and we didn’t have nothing,” he said. “Sometimes we didn’t have milk with our cereal, we had water sometimes.”
Tiller, who goes by the nickname, “The Mama’s Boy,” said he intends to buy his mama a nice car and house one day.
He doesn’t care who he has to fight in the postseason to win the million dollars, as he feels he already beat the two best PFL heavyweights in Caio Alencar and UFC veteran Rosholt.
Sefo and Silva Reaction
The PFL brass were impressed with Tiller’s two performances, especially his win over Rosholt.
“Amazing,” PFL League President Carlos Silva said to describe Tiller’s win.
“All these guys have basically come out, and actions speak louder than words,” Ray Sefo, President of Fight Operations, said. “I’m very surprised in Kelvin Tiller’s skills. He’s very talented. We didn’t see much in the [Alencar] fight; we saw him roll under, throw an overhand right, land it and the fight was over.
“Today, we not only saw him take Rosholt down, sweep him as well and then finish a submission. I never expected that. I don’t think Rosholt expected that! That goes to show how skillful he is. That guy, at the heavyweight division, has a huge future.”
Tiller entered his first two fights as an underdog. Not anymore. He’s emerged as a favorite to win the whole tournament, even if that’s not a label he’s used to.
“I’ve been the underdog in life growing up,” he said. “A lot of people doubted me. So to be here is a blessing. I feel like I belong here and I ain’t going to let nobody take that away from me.”
Tiller will take on the heavyweight seventh seed when he returns to action in October.