Brandon Sayles Beats Kamaru Usman's Brother Mohammed in PFL's $1M Tournament

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIIMay 7, 2021

The Professional Fighters League logo is seen on the cage before a mixed martial arts bout at PFL 1, Thursday, June 7, 2018, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
Gregory Payan/Associated Press

Mohammed Usman, the younger brother of UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, earned a loss in his Professional Fighters League debut on Thursday, via Brandon Sayles' chokehold in a heavyweight bout. 

It wasn't the welcome to the PFL Usman was expecting as Sayles repeatedly struck him with leg kicks, tiring his opponent before knocking him down twice in the second round. 

Both knockdowns were the direct result of a strong right hook to Usman's chin. He was able to recover from the first and get back to his feet, but the second one—which came moments later—put him in a daze. That allowed Sayles (6-1-0) to pull off a rear-naked choke just 3:42 into the second round and pick up a submission.

Usman landed 28 of 67 attempted strikes to Sayles 47 strikes on 79 attempts, mostly trying to box with the larger Sayles (6'5", 265 pounds) and avoid a grappling match. 

"My style, of course it's my style," Usman told ESPN's Marc Raimondi. "But if you want to look at the heavyweight division and who moves like that and kind of does the things I do, you'll think of Curtis Blaydes."

That's not too shocking considering Usman spent the past two months training with Blaydes and Alistair Overeem in Colorado.

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A former University of Arizona defensive end, the younger Usman stands 6'2", 265 pounds with a 73" reach. The 32-year-old entered the Decagon 7-1-0 in his career with three knockout victories and two wins by submission. Known as "The Motor," he snapped a four-bout win streak as PFL 3 got underway in Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. 

Unlike other promotions, PFL operates under a regular season and playoff format, with fighters able to earn points and move up and down the standings. The champion in each weight class earns $1 million.

Each fighter faces two opponents during the regular season in three five-minute rounds. Three points are awarded for a win, one for a draw and zero for a loss. A stoppage in Round 1 is worth three points as well, with stoppages in Rounds 2 and 3 worth two points and one point, respectively. 

After Thursday's debut, Usman is in fourth place in the standings with one heavyweight bout remaining on the card.  

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