Tonight, the PFL returns for their ninth event of the 2023 season and the playoffs will continue. Taking the center stage from Madison Square Garden tonight are the lightweights and welterweights in arguably the most highly anticipated playoff event of the season.
In the main event, Clay Collard (23-10) will look to punch his ticket to the finals as he takes on Shane Burgos (16-4). Now, Collard was originally supposed to face off against Nathan Schulte. Schulte had defeated Raush Manfio by decision to earn the spot. However, Manfio and Schulte are best friends. The PFL didn’t believe either fought to their greatest ability and suspended both fighters and removed Schulte from the playoffs.
His loss is Burgos’ gain. After two straight wins to close out his UFC contract, Shane Burgos signed with the Professional Fighter’s League last year. He immediately faced 2022 champion Olivier Aubin-Mercier (19-5) and lost in the opening round. He would defeat Yamato Nishikawa by decision to earn this spot. Collard earn his spot with a win over Nishikawa and a brutal knockout of Stevie Ray.
Back to OAM, Aubin-Mercier will take on surging challenger Bruno Miranda (16-3). Miranda has won seven fights in a row to earn this spot in the semifinals. However, he’ll have his hands full with OAM. Since signing with the PFL, OAM has gone a perfect 8-0 and won the 2022 lightweight title. He’s been completely dominant so far this season and will look to continue that tonight.
PFL 9 2023 Playoffs
The first two playoff fights of the night go down in the welterweight division. The featured bout is last year’s champion Sadibou Sy (15-6-2) taking on Carlos Leal (19-4). Now, Leal missed weight for the fight but the fight will go on. He will be docked one official point on the scorecards so he’ll be starting at a deficit.
Now, Leal is Sy will be fighting for the second time. They fought in last year’s semifinals with Sy winning a decision. Factoring that one loss in, Leal is 13-1 in his last fourteen fights. He’s 2-0 with two knockouts this season so he looks to be a man on a mission tonight.
Sy has gone a perfect 6-0 over the last two seasons which of course includes him capturing the 2022 PFL welterweight title. This season, he’s had two highlight reel knockouts to earn his spot in the semifinals again. This is definitely a matchup to watch tonight.
In the first welterweight playoff matchup we will see former champion Magomed Magomedkerimov (32-6) taking on Soloman Renfro (11-3). Magomedkerimov won the 2018 championship and looked poised to win the 2019 title before having to pull out of the season. He came back strong in 2021 ultimately losing to Ray Cooper III in the finals.
Last season, he was only able to fight twice winning both fights. He’s 2-0 this year which means he carries a four-fight winning streak into tonight’s PFL playoff event. He’s 17-1 in his last 18 bouts overall.
Renfro gets this spot after coming in during the June event and scoring a knockout over Jarrah Hussein Al-Silawi. That knockout win was his third in a row. He’s a big underdog tonight, but he’s looking to change his life with an upset while punching his ticket to the finals.