PFL 5 Preview: Light Heavyweights

2024 PFL 5: Salt Lake City

Tomorrow night, the PFL rolls through Salt Lake City, Utah for the fifth event of the 2024 Regular Season. The playoffs will be set tomorrow night for two more divisions including the lightweight and light heavyweight divisions. In the featured light heavyweight matchup of the evening which will also serve as the co-main event, 2023 champion Impa Kasanganay (16-4) will take on Jakob Nedoh (8-2).

The first light heavyweight event back in April was absolutely insane. I hadn’t seen anything like it since the PFL started in that all five light heavyweight winners scored first round finishes which earned them all six points. The only thing separating the fighters is how fast they finished their opponent in the first round.

Kasanganay knocked out Alex Polizzi (10-4) at the 3:29 mark which has him currently in fourth place entering tomorrow night. After getting a win on the regional scene following his UFC release, Kasanganay signed with the PFL to participate on The Challenger Series. He had been just 2-3 in his previous five fights.

After a first round knockout, he earned his way into the 2023 season. From there, he won four straight including dominating Josh Silveira (13-2) to win the 2023 championship. His only loss in the PFL came earlier this year when he lost a close decision to Bellator middleweight champ Johnny Elben on the Champion versus Champion card.

PFL 5 2024

Speaking of Josh Silveira, he scored a first round finish over Sadibou Sy (16-8-2) due to an injury at the April event. Nevertheless, it’s six points for Silveira who finds himself in second. However, he has a very tough draw tomorrow night in taking on 2022 champion Rob Wilkinson (18-2, 1 NC).

Wilkinson ran through the 2022 PFL season going 4-0 with four finishes to win the light heavyweight title. He was the big favorite to do it again in 2023 and he started the season with a decision win over Thiago Santos. However, that win was overturned due to Wilkinson testing positive for steroids.

He was suspended and was out for the season. He returned emphatically in April with a destruction of Tom Breese (18-5) which took just 70 seconds and has him in first overall. This is the first time I can remember the PFL pairing up the two guys at the top of the leaderboard with a shot at the playoffs on the line.

Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (22-7-1) also has six points after finishing Jakob Nedoh in just under three minutes to start the season off. That timing currently has him in third place. He’ll be taking on Simon Biyong (9-4) who was submitted by 2021 champion Antonio Carlos Junior (16-5).

Carlos Junior is just outside the top four currently since his finish happened at the very end of the first round. The 2021 PFL champion has still never lost inside the Smart Cage and he’ll be taking on Alex Polizzi tomorrow. With Wilkinson and Silveira facing off, any form of victory for Carlos Junior tomorrow night will secure him a spot in the playoffs.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: