PFL is currently gearing up for their return for the 2021 season. After COVID cancelled the 2020 season, the promotion is ready to hit the ground running this year. While no fights took place in 2020, PFL sure stayed in the news with a number of big signings.
One of the biggest signings for PFL in 2020 was Fabricio Werdum (24-9-1). The former UFC heavyweight champion completed his contract with the UFC back in July on Fight Island. That night, Werdum welcomed Alexander Gustafsson to the heavyweight division.
In reality, it smelled like a showcase for Gustafsson. Werdum looked awful against Alexey Oleynik in May where he lost a split decision and this was a quick turnaround. Many (including myself) wrote off the 43 year old former champion.
However, Werdum showed everyone up that night. After a quick takedown, Werdum was able to lockup an armbar for the win halfway through the round. From there, he immediately raised his value on the free agent market.
PFL and Bellator were both very interested in bringing in Werdum. Werdum had the Fedor rematch waiting in Bellator, but PFL wanted him to bring more attention to their heavyweight division. In the end, Werdum signed with the Pro Fight League and he will be highlighted this season.
Other PFL heavyweights to watch
There are three other PFL heavyweights I’m really watching for during the upcoming season. The most obvious one to me would be Ali Isaev (9-0). The heavyweight from Dagestan was the 2019 PFL heavyweight champion.
With four dominating performances, Isaev put the world on notice that he’s a threat at heavyweight. The next guy I have my eyes on is Justin Willis (8-2). “Big Pretty” hasn’t fought since March of 2019. That was the final fight he had with the UFC.
Willis took on Curtis Blaydes and came up short by decision. However, up until that point, Willis was 4-0 in the UFC and that included a win over former title challenger, Mark Hunt. Willis is definitely a sleeper in PFL’s upcoming season.
The last guy I have my eyes on is Mohammed Usman (7-1). The younger and much bigger brother of the current UFC welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman. Mohammed Usman is riding a four-fight win streak as he makes his debut in the big leagues under the PFL banner.
I cannot wait for this upcoming season of PFL. The promotion took the time off last year to really raise the bar in terms of talent on their roster. I love that another big promotion is making waves in US MMA. You can view the full heavyweight roster below.
OFFICIAL: The 2021 PFL Heavyweight & Women's Lightweight divisions are locked in and will compete at #PFL3 on Thursday, May 6th! pic.twitter.com/lZtwzf18Wg
— PFL (@PFLMMA) February 9, 2021