After failing to make the PFL playoffs, where does Anthony Pettis go from here?

Last December, PFL made huge waves when they signed former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis (24-12). The Professional Fighters League really wanted to invest in big names and they signed one of the biggest on the market.

The UFC tried to resign Pettis earlier in 2020, however, Showtime wanted to bet on himself. Pettis won his final two UFC fights and rode that momentum wave into free agency. Once on the open market, PFL made their big offer.

Pettis signed an exclusive deal with PFL just days after wrapping up his contract with the UFC. Heading into the 2021 season, there were a ton of eyes on Anthony Pettis. Pettis had a target on his back and he said that he relished that.

Back in April, Pettis made his debut with the promotion against Clay Collard. Collard dominated the first two rounds before Pettis came on strong and nearly got a finish in the third round. Ultimately, Pettis lost at PFL 4.

Last week at PFL 6, Pettis made his second appearance against Raush Manfio. Pettis needed a win of any kind to get a spot in the playoffs. However, after starting strong, Pettis was dominated in the third round which ultimately swung the decision in the favor of Manfio.

What’s next after being eliminated from the PFL playoffs?

With Anthony Pettis being eliminated, I think he’s going to take a little time off. PFL is shifting to their playoffs and it doesn’t look like Pettis will have an opportunity to compete until next year under the Professional Fighters League banner.

Now, PFL could always let him take a one-off fight in his down time. The promotion has hinted that they would allow fighters to do that. However, we don’t know if that’s the route that Pettis will take.

The former UFC lightweight champion is starting his own MMA Promotion called Showtime Fighting Championship. The SFC will make it’s promotional debut in October of this year. My guess is that Pettis will be focused on that and business ventures for the time being.

By all accounts, Pettis will be in the PFL in 2022. While PFL’s 2021 season was contained mostly in a bubble, hopefully when Showtime makes his return next year it can be in front of a packed crowd.

PFL 6 Results: Anthony Pettis eliminated from playoffs and Kayla Harrison stays perfect

The PFL returned tonight for their sixth and final regular season event of 2021. In the co-main event of the evening, former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis (24-12) returned as he took on Raush Manfio (13-3).

Pettis was a massive signing for PFL heading into the 2021 season. The Professional Fighters League put a ton of money behind Pettis and they hyped up the signing. It was a big signing for PFL, but Pettis needed to perform to make it worth it.

However, Pettis dropped his PFL debut to Clay Collard back in April. Tonight, he stood across the cage from Raush Manfio and he needed a win to even be in contention for the playoffs. A decision win for Pettis would’ve put him in tiebreaker, but a finish would’ve guaranteed him a spot.

PFL 6 Recap

I was incredibly encouraged with what I saw from Pettis in the opening rounds at PFL 6. Pettis looked much more aggressive and you could tell that he knew that he needed a big victory to advance to the playoffs.

Through the first two rounds, I thought that Pettis was getting the better of the striking at PFL 6. I had Pettis up 2-0 heading into the third and final round where the fight completely changed.

Early in the round, Manfio landed a big shot that hurt and dropped Pettis. Manfio then landed a big knee which put Pettis down a second time. Pettis was able to get back up and finished the round, but it was a clear round for Manfio.

Personally, I still had Pettis winning at PFL 6, but two of the judges didn’t agree. Raush Manfio took the split decision victory and eliminated Pettis from the 2021 playoffs. Definitely not what the promotion that was going to happen when they brought in Anthony Pettis.

In the main event of the evening, Kayla Harrison (10-0) returned to the cage. Harrison took on the veteran Cindy Dandois (16-7) who was looking to pull off the massive upset over the PFL queen. However, it was not meant to be.

As Harrison has done with all of her opponents, she went through Dandois like a hot knife through butter. Harrison picked up the first round armbar finish after dominating Dandois on the ground in the first. I don’t know if anyone in PFL can even be competitive with her at this point.

PFL 6 Preview: Kayla Harrison and Anthony Pettis make their second appearances of 2021

MMA, PFL

Tomorrow night the PFL returns for their sixth event of 2021. The card will see a mix of weight classes competing, but in the main event, the women’s lightweight division will be the focus.

Two-time defending PFL lightweight champion and former Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison (9-0) returns to the cage. She will be looking to pick up her second win of the season as she takes on Cindy Dandois (16-6).

Dandois is a veteran who has fought for all of the big promotions during her career. She dropped her PFL debut earlier this year, but she will be looking to pull off the massive upset tomorrow night.

Standing in her way might just be one of the best women’s fighters in the world. Kayla Harrison has been nothing short of dominant in her professional fighting career thus far. The former Judo Gold Medalist is progressing in her career and she keeps getting better.

After her first round win in her 2021 PFL season debut, Harrison said that she was the baddest woman on the planet. While that title still belongs to Amanda Nunes, Harrison is on her way to making it interesting.

Other matchups at PFL 6

In addition to the women’s lightweight division, the men’s lightweights will be on display in the co-main event of PFL 6. Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (24-11) will be making his second appearance with The Professional Fight League.

Pettis will be taking on Raush Manfio (12-3). The former UFC champion was a massive signing for PFL for the 2021 season, but he dropped his season debut to Clay Collard. Now, Pettis will look to get back on track tomorrow night.

Lance Palmer (22-4) will also be competing tomorrow night at PFL 6 as he takes on the undefeated Movlid Khaybulaev (16-0-1). There are a ton of great matchups tomorrow night as PFL goes head-to-head with Bellator on Friday night.

I’m looking forward to this card and you can see the full lineup below.

Anthony Pettis out of PFL 4

PFL 4 has seen a big shakeup. Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis (24-11) was set to take on Alex Martinez (8-0, 1 NC) in the co-main event tomorrow night. However, that fight has now been called off.

AG.Fight was the first to report this morning that Pettis was forced to withdrawal from the fight. Pettis has come down with an illness that will keep him from competing tomorrow night. This was set to be Pettis’ second appearance with PFL.

The former lightweight champion lost to Clay Collard in his promotion debut back in April. Pettis had some highlight moments, but also almost got finished during that contest. This fight with Alex Martinez was set to be an opportunity to bounce back.

Pettis has now been moved to PFL‘s card on June 25th and he’s received a new opponent. Showtime will now be taking on Raush Manfio (12-3) on June 25th. Manfio won by split decision at PFL‘s first event of the 2021 season in April.

PFL 4 Updated Card

With Anthony Pettis off the card and out of the co-main event slot, there’s been some shifting around with tomorrow night’s card. Obviously, the main event between Claressa Shields and Brittney Elkin is still on. 

However, we have a new co-main event of the evening. Alex Martinez keeps his spot in the co-main event, but he will now be taking on former PFL lightweight champion Natan Schulte (20-4-1) tomorrow night.

Entering PFL 1 back in April, Natan Schulte had been almost perfect inside the Professional Fight League cage. In ten career fights with the promotion, Schulte was an impressive 9-0-1 and he won the title in both 2018 and 2019.

However, Schulte lost by unanimous decision to Marcin Held back in April in a big upset. Now, the former two-time PFL champion will look to bounce back against the undefeated Alex Martinez tomorrow night.

PFL 4 matchups announced: Anthony Pettis looks to bounce back against Alex Martinez

PFL has announced the card for their fourth event of 2021. The Pro Fight League posted on their official Twitter page today the matchups for the next round of the lightweight and featherweight seasons.

The fourth PFL event is going to take place on June 10th. In the main event, Claressa Shields will be making her MMA debut when she takes on Brittney Elkin (3-6). Shields is the best P4P boxer in the world and she’s a former Olympic Gold Medalist.

There will obviously be a lot of hype surrounding her PFL debut. In terms of the 2021 season, a lot of eyes are going to be on Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (24-11). Pettis will be taking on Alex Martinez (8-0, 1 NC) in the co-main event of the evening.

Showtime made his PFL debut just a few weeks ago. Pettis was a big signing for the Pro Fight League and they put him up against the popular Clay Collard (19-8, 1 NC) in his first matchup.

The former UFC lightweight champion was hurt multiple times throughout the first two rounds. However, Pettis was able to rally late and almost pulled off the victory. But, in the end, Collard got the win and spoiled the PFL debut for Pettis.

PFL 4

That night, Alex Martinez defeated Loik Radzhabov by split decision. This fight against Pettis at PFL 4 is the biggest fight in Martinez’s young career. This is also a huge fight for the former world champion.

If Pettis falls to Alex Martinez, it will raise a lot of questions about what’s left in the tank. The man who defeated Pettis back at PFL 1 is ready to get back to his winning ways. Clay Collard will be taking on Joilton Lutterbach (34-9).

Lutterbach lost his first fight by split decision and he’s looking to bounce back against Collard at PFL 4. To view the full list of matchups that were announced, see the PFL tweet below.

PFL 2: What to watch for

Tonight, PFL will return for the second event of 2021. Last week, the promotion made it’s return after taking 2020 off due to the global pandemic. It was an extremely eventful first night back for the Pro Fight League. The night was filled with big upsets.

Former PFL champions Lance Palmer and Natan Schulte both lost by unanimous decision last week. The two former champions were sizable favorites in their first fights of the 2021 season. In the main event, PFL‘s biggest signing of 2020, Anthony Pettis (24-11), made his debut.

Pettis took on the incredibly popular Clay Collard (19-8). Collard spent last year in the professional boxing ring, but he returned to PFL for the 2021 season. The first two rounds of their fight was all Collard who nearly finished Pettis a couple of times.

In the third round, Pettis almost pulled off the comeback when he landed a beautiful head kick that he transitioned into a big knee. However, Collard survived and went on to win a decision. Probably wasn’t exactly what PFL executives were thinking for their first night back, but this is MMA where anything can happen.

PFL 2 – Fights to Watch

Tonight, PFL will host their second event of 2021. Of course, all of the attention is going to be on former UFC and Bellator welterweight, Rory MacDonald (21-6-1). MacDonald was a massive signing for PFL and was expected to compete in the 2020 season.

However, the pandemic shut things down so he is just now getting set for his promotional debut. He’s had an opponent switch and he is taking on Curtis Millender (18-6) in the main event. Like MacDonald, Millender is a veteran of both the UFC and Bellator.

This is expected to be a very good matchup for PFL’s second main event of 2021. I’ve also got my eyes on Ray Cooper III (20-7-1) tonight. Cooper was the 2019 welterweight PFL champion and he’s taking on Jason Ponet (20-12-1) in the co-main event.

I’m very excited about the possibility of Cooper and MacDonald meeting at some point during this PFL season. It will be very interesting to watch how they both look tonight in their first fight of the season. The event is filled with solid fights and it should be a good watch for MMA fans.

Sizing up PFL’s 2021 lightweight season

Yesterday, PFL took the headlines as they announced their matchups for their card on April 23rd. One of the divisions that has the most hype around it entering the 2021 season for PFL is the lightweight division.

The promotion took the year off in 2020, but they spent time trying to build up their roster. Arguably the biggest signing they had in all of 2020 was signing former UFC and WEC lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis (24-10).

Pettis won two fights in a row to close out his UFC contract before he hit the open market. It didn’t take long for PFL to sign Pettis for the 2021 season once he was on the market. It was announced yesterday who Pettis will meet in his debut. 

Showtime will be taking on Clay Collard (18-8, 1 NC) in his PFL debut. Collard spent the last couple of years in the professional boxing ring. Before losing his last couple of bouts, he went an astonishing 5-0 in 2020. Some of the matches took place under the Top Rank banner.

Collard is now ready to resume his MMA career, and he will do that in style. PFL‘s lightweight season should be fantastic this year and there are several fighters that everyone should be paying attention to.

PFL lightweights to watch

Of course, the first PFL lightweight that you have to think about his Natan Schulte (20-3-1). I mean how can you not considering he won both the 2018 and 2019 seasons at lightweight in PFL.

Schulte is 9-0-1 in his career with the Pro Fight League. He will have a target on his back as he tries to make it three seasons in a row in 2021. Schulte will take on UFC and Bellator veteran, Marcin Held (26-7), in his first matchup of the 2021 season.

The next guy I have my eyes on is Loik Radzhabov (13-2-1). Radzhabov was the runner up in 2019 and he looks like he could make another run at PFL’s lightweight crown in 2021. Radzhabov will take on UFC vet, Johnny Case (27-7-1) in his first matchup of 2021.

Another big signing for PFL in 2020 was signing Olivier Aubin-Mercier (11-5). “The Canadian Gangster” was the runner-up in his season of The Ultimate Fighter and he spent the majority of his career with the UFC.

Aubin-Mercier has been in there with the likes of Gilbert Burns, Diego Ferreira, Drew Dober, and more. He’s got a wealth of experience and he’s a very exciting addition to the PFL lightweight roster.

In his debut, he will be taking on Joilton Lutterbach (34-8). There is a lot to be excited for when looking at the 2021 season for The Pro Fight League. Their lightweight division looks great this year and I’m excited to see just how this season plays out.

Anthony Pettis will make PFL debut against Clay Collard

The PFL debut is set for Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (24-10). The former UFC and WEC lightweight champion will make his debut with the promotion against Clay Collard (18-8, 1 NC). The matchup will take place on April 23rd.

Anthony Pettis closed out his UFC contract at the end of 2020. The UFC had tried to negotiate an extension with the former champion earlier in the year, however, Pettis wanted to bet on himself. Pettis won two straight to close 2020 and entered free agency.

Once he hit the market, it was known that he wasn’t returning to the UFC. Bellator and PFL instantly were in contact with the Pettis camp. Pettis’ younger brother, Sergio, is one of the best fighters in Bellator. They were seen as the early favorite to land Showtime.

However, not long after he became a free agent, Pettis signed an exclusive deal with PFL to compete in the 2021 season. The Pro Fight League really wanted Pettis and they made him a great offer to bring him in.

Pettis was just one of many big signings for PFL in the last year. After cancelling the 2020 season due to COVID, the promotion bolstered their rosters in order to have their biggest season yet in 2021.

Fun matchup to kick off the PFL lightweight season

Standing across from Anthony Pettis on April 23rd will be Clay Collard. Collard has had a very interesting career in combat sports. He was a four-fight veteran of the UFC and he’s put together a solid MMA resume.

However, he’s been known more for his boxing over the last couple of years. Since May of 2019, Collard has really just focused on his boxing. While PFL was on the sidelines over the last year, Collard was in the boxing ring.

Since 2019, Collard has boxed in 15 professional bouts. Several of those came under the Top Rank banner. He just fought last weekend against Maidel Sando and lost a decision. Now, Collard will turn his attention back to PFL and MMA.

This should be a fun matchup and it’s great matchmaking to kickoff the PFL lightweight season. We know how entertaining Anthony Pettis can be and we know how good the hands of Clay Collard are. Should be a very fun matchup in April.

PFL’s biggest stars ready for new season

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.

Innovative format

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 “Mutante” Ferreira and Sung Bin Jo. It served as a precursor to the earth-shattering signings of Werdum, Pettis, and Shields.

New stars

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

Inside PFL’s rise as no.2 global market leader in MMA

While the UFC continues to reign over the landscape of mixed martial arts worldwide, the Professional Fighters League (PFL) has exploded into the scene and now finds itself right behind the industry leader after just three years.

In an interview with CombatPress.com, PFL founder Donn Davis said that the league had established itself as the number-two MMA company globally on multiple factors, including fighter roster, worldwide audience, distribution, and growth.

“So I think what you’re seeing now, by all metrics, is the PFL is the number-two MMA company worldwide. In terms of fighter roster, PFL is number two. For a worldwide audience, PFL is number two. In terms of worldwide distribution, PFL is number two, and in terms of growth, PFL is number two,” Davis said.

Top MMA Promotions - PFL

Season format

But what pushed the PFL out into the front of the pack, alongside the UFC?

Founded in 2017, the league has already been able to put on two massively-successful seasons. Now, they are gearing up for the third season, which kicks off in April.

Notice how the PFL’s year is called a season?

That’s because the league follows a tournament-style format, which is unique in the world of MMA.

The league uses a regular season, playoffs, and finals format, which means the fighters will need to win to advance. At the end of the season, a world champion will be crowned for each weight division, and the winners are awarded one million dollars.

Stacked roster

Making that tournament format all the more exciting for the fans to watch is the stacked roster of fighters that the PFL boasts.

Each of the league’s six weight divisions features veterans and up-and-coming talent from across the globe. The PFL is home to many of the MMA world’s top stars, including PFL Women’s Lightweight Champion Kayla Harrison, two-time PFL Featherweight Champion Lance Palmer, two-time PFL Lightweight Champion Natan Schulte, and many others.

In 2021, the league will have an influx of world championship talent led by Fabricio Werdum, Anthony Pettis, Rory MacDonald, and three-division boxing world champion Claressa Shields, who will be making her mixed martial arts debut.

Top-notch management

While the PFL indeed features an all-star roster of fighters, they also have the number one executive team in sports.

Founder Donn Davis, who was also behind Revolution LLC, has brought together some of the top minds in media, sports, and digital to lead the league to the top.

Leading the charge is PFL CEO Peter Murray, who helped sign some of the biggest names in sports during his time with Under Armour. Executive Producer George Greenberg has over 40 years of experience and is coming off as an Executive Vice President for Fox Sports. President Ray Sefo was the founder of the World Series of Fighting and is a combat sports legend.

Those big names are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the PFL’s executive management roster.

Overwhelming support

The PFL is also backed by a world-class team of investors, including Swan & Legend Venture Partners and Matterhorn Private Equity, and Ted Leonsis, David Blitzer, Mark Lerner, Kevin Hart, Mark Burnett, and Tony Robbins. The league has also managed to secure sponsorships with AB InBev, Socios.com, The Marines, and many others.

The PFL can be seen in the United States via ESPN and in an additional 160 more countries worldwide via various platforms and sports networks.

With all these considered, it’s no surprise that the PFL is already at the top of the MMA mountain, alongside the UFC. With another big year in store in 2021, there’s no telling the heights that the fastest growing sports league in the world can reach.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo