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.

PFL: Claressa Shields second fight date is set

Arguably the greatest female boxer of all time has her second date under the PFL banner. The ‘GWOAT’ Claressa Shields (1-0) will be competing in her second professional MMA contest on August 27th.

The news was first reported yesterday by Ariel Helwani who confirmed with PFL officials. August 27th will also play host to the women’s lightweight playoffs. We will likely see fellow Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison on the same card as Shields.

At this time, PFL has not announced who Shields will be taking on in August. She made her professional mixed martial arts debut a couple of weeks ago at PFL 4 and she’s looking to get right back in there.

While Shields has said that she will continue to box along with competing in MMA, she’s not going back to boxing just yet. Based on the performance at PFL 4, I think Shields realizes that there is a lot of work to be done in the cage.

Expectations for Shields’ next PFL Fight

In her first fight at PFL 4, Shields took on Brittney Elkin (3-7), Elkin didn’t have the prettiest record, but she was a jiu jitsu brown belt and she was bigger that Shields. In the first two rounds, it was very clear that Shields was inexperienced on the ground.

Elkin was able to get dominant positions in both of the first two rounds. You could tell how dangerous Shields is with her hands by watching their brief striking exchanges, but that was washed out by her inexperience on the ground.

However, in the third round at PFL 4, Shields was able to rock Elkin bad on the feet. She sprawled well in defending a takedown and got top position. Once there, she rained down massive shots and picked up the come from behind TKO win in her MMA debut.

It was a great moment for Shields and it was a big learning opportunity. In my opinion, I think PFL is going to give her potentially someone even easier for her second fight. The promotion is betting big on Shields and she was dangerously close to losing her first fight.

If I was thinking about this from a business perspective, I would book her against someone she’s likely to have a highlight reel knockout against. Give her a ton of confidence while she continues to build her skills. I’ll be very interested to see how PFL books her.

Previewing PFL 5

Tonight PFL returns for their fifth event of the 2021 season. Welterweights and light heavyweights will take center stage this evening. In the main event of the evening, former Bellator champion and top UFC contender Rory MacDonald (22-6-1) will be taking on UFC veteran Gleison Tibau (35-15).

MacDonald is making his second appearance for PFL after being one of the promotion’s biggest signings before the 2020 season. Last year was supposed to be the PFL coming out party for Rory MacDonald, however, the pandemic cancelled his first season.

Back in April, he finally got to make his PFL debut when he took on Curtis Millender. MacDonald made quick work of the UFC and Bellator veteran as he submitted him in the first round. Now, he takes on another UFC veteran in Gleison Tibau.

Tibau lost his opening matchup at PFL 2 by decision. That loss snapped a two-fight winning streak which included a victory over former Bellator champion Will Brooks. At 37 years old, Tibau is now fighting in the welterweight division after spending the majority of his career at lightweight.

I do not expect this main event at PFL 5 to be very competitive. We very well might see another first round finish from The Red King. Rory MacDonald is a massive betting favorite and he should be.

Other matchups at PFL 5

I’m incredibly excited to see the 2019 PFL champion Ray Cooper III (21-7-1) compete tonight as he takes on Nikolay Aleksakhin (24-5, 1 NC). Cooper had a dominant first round submission victory back in April to start his 2021 season.

Ray Cooper III made his PFL debut in the 2018 season. He started 4-0 which included two stoppage wins over former world champion Jake Shields. Cooper was then submitted in the finals. However, he bounced back to win the 2019 season and become welterweight champion.

Now, it is worth noting that Cooper missed weight for this fight. As a result, he was docked a point in the standings which makes a win even more important for the former champion. Aleksakhin had his first matchup of the season end in a No Contest after an accidental eye poke back in February. That was Aleksakhin’s second appearance in the PFL cage.

I’m also very excited to see the matchup between light heavyweights Vinny Magalhaes (19-12, 1 NC) and Antonio Carlos Jr (11-5, 1 NC). The two UFC vets are two of the best submission artists in the game. If you’re a fan of grappling this is definitely one to watch at PFL 5.

You can check out the full lineup for tonight’s PFL card below.

PFL 4 Recap: Claressa Shields survives early onslaught to score third round TKO

Tonight at PFL 4, Claressa Shields (0-0) made her highly anticipated MMA debut. Arguably the greatest female boxer of all time took to the cage to take on 12-year MMA veteran Brittney Elkin (3-6).

In the first round at PFL 4, Shields immediately took the center and looked for her right hand. However, Brittney Elkin went for the takedown as soon as she could. Elkin was able to land the takedown, but Shields did a good job of getting up to her feet.

Shields was actually able to reverse the position and land good shots. However, Elkin was able to immediately get back to the top position and she was able to work her way to the mount. Elkin, a jiu jitsu brown belt, held the mount but couldn’t mount a ton of offense.

In the final minute of the first round at PFL 4,. Elkin did some damage from the mount, but couldn’t finish the fight. In the second round, Shields started the round extremely well. She landed some bombs on Elkin and looked like she hurt Elkin which forced a sloppy shot.

Shields followed Elkin to the ground and she was immediately put on her back. It was very evident at PFL 4 that Shields was showing a ton of inexperience on the ground. Elkin moved right to the mount as soon as she got the top position.

The rest of the second round featured Elkin dominating from the mount position. Shields did show some good defense in escaping an arm bar just at the end of the second round and she landed bombs in the final seconds of the round.

In the third round, Shields completely turned things around. She defended a takedown beautifully and was able to get top position on Brittney Elkin. Shields rained down bombs and scored the TKO win in her MMA debut at PFL 4.

Clay Collard picks up second win of 2021

In the co-main event, Clay Collard (19-9, 1 NC) returned to take on Joilton Lutterbach (35-9, 1 NC). Back at PFL 1, Collard spoiled the debut of former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. On the heels of his successful year in professional boxing, Collard rode that momentum into PFL 1.

However, tonight was a different story. From the first round, you could tell that Lutterbach was going to be a challenge for Collard. It took Collard a while to get comfortable and throughout the night he would try striking blitzes to throw off Lutterbach.

However, every time he did that, he would get taken down. The fight ultimately came down to the grappling of Lutterbach versus the striking of Collard. The third round was the decisive round  of the fight. Collard landed bigger shots, but Lutterbach landed takedowns. Ultimately, two of the judges at PFL 4 gave the fight to Clay Collard.

Other PFL 4 Main Card Results

The action was great from start to finish at PFL 4. With the main card on ESPN2, all of the fights delivered. In the first fight on the main card Natan Schulte (21-4-1) took on Alex Martinez (8-1, 1 NC). Martinez was originally supposed to fight Anthony Pettis, however, Pettis pulled out yesterday due to an illness.

It was a very close fight this evening and Martinez had some big moments. However, the takedowns proved to be the difference as Natan Schulte won a split decision. A big bounce back win for the former PFL champion who lost in his opening fight in 2021.

Fresh off of defeating Lance Palmer, Bubba Jenkins (16-4) returned to take on Bobby Moffett (13-6, 1 NC). Jenkins controlled the first part of the fight, but Moffett proved to be extremely tough. Moffett poured it on in the third round, but ultimately it wasn’t enough to sway the judges and Jenkins picked up the win.

Brendan Loughnane (21-3) and Tyler Diamond (12-2) put on an incredible fight at PFL 4. Both men left everything they had in the cage, but Loughnane won a decision and clinched a spot in the PFL featherweight playoffs. It was an incredible night of fights for the Professional Fight League overall.

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.

Previewing Claressa Shields’ PFL Debut

Tomorrow night, the greatest women’s boxer in the world will make her PFL debut. Claressa Shields (11-0 boxing, 0-0 MMA) will make her highly anticipated mixed martial arts debut tomorrow night in the headliner of PFL 4.

Shields will be making her debut against Brittney Elkin (3-6). In reality, Claressa Shields is arguably the greatest women’s boxer of all time. She’s a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, and she’s held nine world championships in boxing across two weight divisions.

Simply put, she’s the best. A crazy thing about her is the fact that she’s just 26 years old. Still young in her professional career, Shields decided last year that she wanted to conquer all of combat sports. With that, Shields signed a deal with PFL and will be making her debut tomorrow night.

To show that she’s not taking this lightly, Shields has been training at Jackson-Wink alongside the likes of Jon Jones, Holly Holm, and Michelle Waterson. Shields has leaned on former UFC champion Holly Holm a lot during this transition to MMA and she’s looking for that to pay off at PFL 4.

While the record might not be impressive, Brittney Elkin is a great first test for Claressa Shields. Elkin stands 5’11 and she’s fought in PFL before. She’s also fought in Bellator and shared a cage with the best PFL has to offer in Kayla Harrison.

PFL 4 Preview

PFL 4 is going to be fascinating to see how Shields does in the cage. One thing we know for sure is that Brittney Elkins has no chance to win this fight if they are standing. We don’t see people with the hand skill of Claressa Shields in MMA ever.

The last time we saw someone at this level of boxing crossover was James Toney. However, Toney was far past his prime and he went in there against one of the greatest to ever do it in Randy Couture. Not too mention one of the best grapplers in the history of the heavyweight division.

Of course, Toney was smashed by Couture. I don’t see the same happening to Shields at PFL 4. Shields is young and she’s an incredible athlete. I’m expecting to see some all-around skills from her tomorrow night. I expect her takedown defense to be tested and I also expect some kicks to come her way.

That said, Shields will be able to take advantage of the smallest openings with her hands. I’m expecting something massive to land and I think she’ll get it done in the first round. Expect Claressa Shields to make a statement in her first PFL appearance.

Prediction: Claressa Shields by KO – Round 1

Fabricio Werdum out of PFL 6 and potentially longer

Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum (24-9-1, 1 NC) is not going to be competing at PFL 6 after all. Yesterday, The Professional Fight League announced their sixth event for the 2021 season.

PFL 6 was the second event of the year that would feature heavyweights and women’s lightweight. Werdum was slated for the co-main event of the evening where he was taking on Brandon Sayles (6-1).

Sayles was coming off of his huge win at PFL 3 over Mohammed Usman. As a reward, the PFL gave him the former UFC heavyweight champion. However, that fight is no longer going to take place.

MMA Fighting was the first to report that Fabricio Werdum has pulled out of the fight. Supposedly, he’s unable to compete after suffering some damage in his No Contest against Renan Ferreira (6-2, 1 NC) a month ago.

In that fight at PFL 3, Werdum locked up a triangle choke in the first round. It definitely appeared that Ferreira tapped, but the referee missed it. Ferreira escaped the choke and dropped bombs on Werdum which ended the fight.

Since then, the athletic commission overturned the fight to a No Contest. Werdum was looking to pick up his first PFL win, but it now appears that he’s going to have to wait.

PFL 6 Without Werdum

For now, PFL will move forward on June 25th without the former heavyweight champion. They still have some very solid fights on the card including Kayla Harrison (9-0) facing off against Cindy Dandois (16-6) in the main event.

Sayles will remain on the card and PFL is actively searching for a replacement opponent. It is unclear at this time how long Werdum will be out and whether or not he will compete during the rest of the 2021 season.

If Werdum cannot compete, it will be a massive blow after PFL made a big investment in him. Werdum’s first opponent in the promotion will take on the former PFL heavyweight champion Ali Isaev (9-0) in his first fight of the season. The rest of the card can be seen below.

PFL 6 Matchups Announced

This week PFL announced it’s matchups for their sixth event of the 2021 season. The event will take place on June 25th and in the main event Kayla Harrison (9-0) on Cindy Dandois (16-6) and the former PFL heavyweight champion Ali Isaev (9-0) will be making his first appearance of the season.

Isaev was pulled from the first PFL event for the heavyweights and was docked a point for having his fight fall through. In his first matchup of the season, he will be taking on Renan Ferreira (6-2, 1 NC).

Ferreira took on former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum (24-9-1, 1 NC) in his first matchup of the PFL season. This matchup was layered in controversy after the way that it ended.

The fight started with an incredible pace and Werdum was able to lock in a triangle choke early. It clearly looked like Ferreira tapped from the choke, but the referee didn’t see it. Ferreira was able to get out of the choke and started dropping bombs.

The referee called a stop to the action and spoiled the PFL debut of Werdum. Werdum claimed he lightened the choke after feeling the tap and appealed the loss. The athletic commission overturned the fight to a No Contest. I figured PFL would do the rematch, but instead, Ferreira will take on Isaev.

PFL Round 2 for Werdum

Fabricio Werdum is getting a second chance to make an impressive statement in PFL. In reality, he should have a first round submission win on his Pro Fight League resume, but nothing can change that at this point.

In his next fight, Werdum will take on Brandon Sayles (6-1). Sayles pulled off arguably the most impressive performance of all the heavyweights in his first matchup of the season. He took on the hot prospect, Mohammed Usman (7-2).

Sayles looked incredibly slick on the feet and it ended dropping Usman multiple times. Once the fight was on the ground, Sayles locked up a choke and put Usman out. He will look to pull off another upset in his second PFL matchup of the season.

As mentioned above, Kayla Harrison will headline and I expect her to roll in her second fight of the season. I’ll be very curious to see how Larissa Pacheco (14-4) looks in her second fight as she takes on Helena Kolesnyk (5-3). Great matchups for the sixth PFL event of 2021.