Professional Fighters League’s reigning champions along with its new big-name signees are all set for its 2021 season.
World champions Kayla Harrison, Lance Palmer, Natan Schulte, and Ray Cooper III will be back to defend their titles in the most innovative and fastest-growing Mixed Martial Arts league on the planet.
The PFL has also added former world champions Rory MacDonald, Fabricio Werdum, Anthony Pettis and boxing icon Claressa Shields and many more world-class fighters in what promises to be its biggest offering yet.
The new PFL season will be aired live on the ESPN family of networks beginning in April.
Since its debut three years ago, the PFL has taken the MMA world by storm. Along with the finest collection of athletes globally, the league has continued to grow its fight-night and in-cage technology through SmartCage and IBM.
PFL fighters will compete in regular-season fights to accumulate points that will determine who will advance to the playoffs. The survivors from six different weight classes will battle it out in an exciting knockout style format in the playoffs. Each champion will be rewarded with a million-dollar paycheck.
Return of the champions
Harrison, a former Olympic gold medalist, Palmer, Schulte, and Cooper III are among the select few who have already run the gauntlet of the PFL and cashed in.
MacDonald is arguably one of the top pound-for-pound fighters of his generation. He took note of the PFL’s innovations and signed with the promotion in 2019. The welterweight fighter will make his debut this year.
In 2020, the PFL roster grew with the additions of such fighters as Cezar â€œMutanteâ€ Ferreira and Sung Bin Jo. It served as a precursor to the earth-shattering signings of Werdum, Pettis, and Shields.
Werdum has risen to the top of the heavyweight division on more than one occasion, beating the likes of Fedor Emelianenko and Cain Velasquez along the way.
On the other hand, Pettis is also a former lightweight champion who has also competed at welterweight. His resume includes victories over Benson Henderson, Charles Oliveira, and Donald Cerrone.
Meanwhile, Shields is aiming to become the PFL’s crossover star. She will continue her quest inside the boxing ring while also beginning her career as a mixed martial artist this year. The three-division boxing world champion has been training at the world-famous Jackson-Wink MMA gym in New Mexico in preparation for her much anticipated PFL debut.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo