PFL World Championship: Renan Ferreira stuns Denis Goltsov to become heavyweight champion

2023 PFL Championships Ceremonial Weigh-Ins at The Anthem in Washington D.C., Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023. (Cooper Neill / PFL)

In the co-main event of the PFL World Championship event this evening, we saw a battle for the heavyweight championship. Denis Goltsov (32-7) was looking to continue his run of dominance while capturing his first heavyweight title as he took on the tough Renan Ferreira (11-3, 3 NC).

Ferreira actually lost his season debut this year, however, the fight was overturned to a No Contest after Rizvan Kuniev tested positive for a banned substance. Ferreira took advantage of that and scored back-to-back first round finishes to get this chance at the championship.

Denis Goltsov has been with the PFL since 2019 and only has two losses. The two losses came against former champions Ali Isaev and Ante Delija. Now, he’s ready to claim gold for himself and has won five fights overall ahead of tonight including three first round finishes this season.

PFL World Championship Recap

Round 1

The PFL heavyweight title fight kicks off with a touch of the gloves. Leg kick from Ferreira starts his striking. Both men are very light on their feet early on and Goltsov lands a leg kick of his own. Ferreira immediately lands a big one of his own. Right hand lands for Ferreira. Combination from Goltsov and he gets a clinch.

Goltsov works the trip and he gets the takedown. Immediately into the half guard. Goltsov working to advance into the mount position with three minutes left in the opening round. Goltsov working to get a kimura but he’s only in half guard and that makes it tough to finish. He lets go of the arm and he settles back into the top position. Goltsov starts working shots from the top.

Ferreira is able to work things back to full guard. Ferreira defending well off his back here. A couple of nice shots land from the top position from Goltsov. Goltsov is able to posture up and land a couple of nice shots. Now he’s looking to advance his position. Full mount from Goltsov with 30 seconds to work. Elbows from Goltsov but he’s not going to get a finish here. Round one ends and Goltsov takes the first at the PFL World Championship.

Round 2

Entering the second and Ferreira desperately needs to keep this fight standing. He lands a right hand and that staggered Goltsov. Goltsov is hurt and Ferreira is swarming him. Goltsov drops and Ferreira gets the finish. Drastic turn of events and Renan Ferreira is the PFL heavyweight champion.

Renan Ferreira def. Denis Goltsov by TKO – Round 2