Satoshi Ishii scraped past replacement opponent Zeke Tuinei-Wily at PFL 3 yesterday. The Japanese heavyweight needed a split decision to overcome the inexperienced American, who only stepped in after Philipe Lins suffered an injury.

From the opening bell Ishii set out his stall to get the fight to the ground. The Olympic gold medalist Judoka was able to secure takedowns but struggled to keep his opponent down with Tuinei-Wily happy to stand in the pocket and trade.

Ishii scored with a late flurry at the end of the round but looked out of sorts and Tuinei-Wily continued to stuff his takedowns and score with punches in the second stanza. The third round clearly belonged to the Japanese veteran even if his tactics weren’t exactly fan friendly.

Ishi was relentless in pursuit of takedowns and was able to spend the majority of the final five minutes in top position, without ever threatening with strikes or submission attempts. It was enough to win him the round on all three judges’ scorecards, which ultimately proved decisive.

All three judges at the Nassau Coliseum awarded the opening round to Tuinei-Wily but crucially two out of three scored the second for Ishii. The Japanese heavyweight won by split decision and improves to 22-8-1 while the American drops to 3-2.

Ishii heads onto the next round of fights in the heavyweight tournament with three points in the bank. But if he was expecting an easy fight after last year’s champion Philipe Lins withdrew the 32 year old was mistaken as Tuinei-Wily pushed him all the way.

PFL 3, New York, June 6th
Emiliano Sordi def. Vinny Magalhaes via TKO (Punches) at 2:45 of Round 2
Kelvin Tiller def. Muhammed DeReese via Submission (Kimura) at 3:22 of Round 1
Satoshi Ishii def. Zeke Tuinei-Wily via Decision (Split)
Denis Goltsov def. Jared Rosholt via TKO (Punches) at 2:03 of Round 1
Ali Isaev def. Valdrin Istrefi via Decision (Unanimous)
Viktor Nemkov def. Rakim Cleveland via Decision (Unanimous)
Ronny Markes def. Sigi Pesaleli via TKO (Punches) at 3:44 of Round 2
Rashid Yusupov def. Mikhail Mokhnatkin via Decision (Unanimous)
Francimar Barroso def. Alex Nicholson via Decision (Split)
Maxim Grishin def. Jordan Johnson via Decision (Unanimous)
Ante Delija def. Carl Seumanutafa via Decision (Unanimous)
Bozigit Ataev def. Dan Spohn via KO (Punches) at 3:25 of Round 1