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.

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.

PFL 5 matchups announced; Rory MacDonald – Gleison Tibau to headline

The PFL has announced their matchups for their fifth event of the 2021 season. This fifth event will feature the second matchups between the welterweights and the light heavyweights of the PFL.

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). The fifth PFL card of 2021 will take place on June 17th.

MacDonald will be making his second appearance with the Pro Fight League. He was the promotion’s biggest signing prior to the 2020 season, but last season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the PFL up and running in 2021, MacDonald made his debut at PFL 2 when he submitted Curtis Millender in the first round. MacDonald is being looked at as the favorite to become the Pro Fight League welterweight champion.

Standing in his way on June 17th is the tough 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. He’s been in there with some of the best in the world and he’s looking to pull a massive upset at PFL 5.

Other matchups to watch at PFL 5

I’m incredibly excited to see the 2019 PFL champion Ray Cooper III (21-7-1) compete in a few weeks. 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.

He will be taking on Nikolay Aleksakhin (24-5, 1 NC) on June 17th. 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.

His first came back in 2019 when he scored a TKO win over Jesse Ronson. That No Contest snapped a seven-fight win streak. He should be a good test for the former PFL champion in a few weeks.

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 the Pro Fight League’s fifth event of 2021 below.

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’s Kayla Harrison has her eyes set on GOAT status in the final year of her contract

MMA, PFL

Make no mistake about it, the best female fighter in PFL is Kayla Harrison (9-0). The two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in Judo is an extremely special talent and she’s completely destroyed every opponent that’s been put in front of her.

In her nine professional wins, only two of them have gone the distance. Both of those fights were against arguably the second best PFL female fighter Larissa Pacheco (14-4). Pacheco and Harrison are likely going to meet again during this PFL season.

Harrison made a statement after her last performance and she said after the fight that she’s the baddest woman in any room. She wants the world to see her as the greatest of all time once she’s done competing.

Harrison’s contract with PFL is set to expire after this season. PFL is already having a dream scenario where Harrison ultimately fights Claressa Shields, but that probably will not play itself out.

Assuming Harrison runs through the other PFL lightweights this season and captures another title, she’s going to be the hottest free agent on the market. Harrison will have the UFC and Bellator knocking at her door to take her away.

PFL, Bellator, or the UFC?

The Olympian has been vocal that she does actually believe in the PFL format with seasons and rankings. However, she does recognize that there are big fights out there outside of PFL that could cement her legacy.

Of course, the biggest show in town is the UFC which is the home of the greatest of all time in Amanda Nunes (21-4). Nunes is the UFC’s two-division champion and she’s actually a teammate of Harrison’s at American Top Team.

Dana White recently commented about the PFL champion saying, “I don’t know if she’s ready. I just don’t know if her people think she’s ready. It’s a whole other level when you get here (the UFC).”

The PFL champion fired back on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show stating, “I think that if Dana is ready to pay me a lot of money, I’ll make him a lot of money. I’m ready to face the best in the world.”

Harrison is likely going to win her third PFL championship this year. After the year is over, The Pro Fight League, Bellator, and the UFC will all be calling. My guess is that she ultimately winds up in the UFC especially considering her ability to make 145 pounds. This will definitely be a story to follow at the end of the year.

PFL 2 Recap: MacDonald and Cooper shine in 2021 season opener

Last night, PFL held their second event of 2021. Last week, the promotion held their first event and it was a night filled with upsets. Two former champions lost and Anthony Pettis lost his highly anticipated PFL debut.

Last night, Rory MacDonald (22-6-1) was set to make his PFL debut. MacDonald signed an exclusive deal with the Pro Fight League just before 2020. He was a massive signing and he was expected to make his debut during the 2020 season.

Of course, the 2020 season was cancelled due to COVID. With that, MacDonald has sat on the sidelines waiting to get back into the cage. Well, he got that chance last night.

Meeting him in his PFL debut was Curtis Millender (18-7). Like MacDonald, Millender is a veteran of both the UFC and Bellator. He was a recent signing for PFL after MacDonald’s original opponent fell through for last night’s second event.

When the fight got underway, it didn’t take long for MacDonald to get the fight to the ground. Given MacDonald’s overall skillset, his path to victory in this one was on the ground and he didn’t take long to get it there.

MacDonald was able to get Millender’s back, but he was struggling to lock in a rear-naked choke. The Red King started working heel kicks to the thighs and opened up his hooks to do so.

Millender saw this as an opportunity and he tried to get up. However, in doing so, he went right into MacDonald’s trap. MacDonald locked in the choke when Millender stopped fighting the hands and he got the submission win in his PFL debut.

PFL Champion Impresses

In the co-main event of the evening, previous PFL champion Ray Cooper III (21-7-1) returned to take on Jason Ponet (20-13-1). The fight didn’t last very long and Cooper was incredible impressive.

In the first round, the two men found themselves in a clinch along the fence. Ponet attempted a knee but it was caught by the former PFL champion. Cooper slammed Ponet to the ground and started working on the floor.

It didn’t take long before Cooper locked up an arm-triangle for the submission victory. Both MacDonald and Cooper were incredibly impressive at PFL 2 with their first round submission victories.

I, along with many fight fans, am very excited about the potential matchup between MacDonald and Cooper. Whenever it does happen during the 2021 season, it will definitely be one to watch.

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.

David Michaud out of PFL headliner with Rory MacDonald; heart condition could force retirement

PFL is getting ready to kick things off this month. After having 2020 off due to the pandemic, the Pro Fight League has been gearing up for a major 2021 season. One of the division’s generating the most buzz has been the welterweight division.

The welterweight season is set to kick off on April 29th and PFL was putting forth a phenomenal main event to kick things off. One of the big storylines in 2020 was the PFL signing of former UFC and Bellator fighter, Rory MacDonald (21-6-1).

MacDonald didn’t get to compete last year, but many have been anxious to see him back. PFL was throwing a great fight at him right away by having him take on the 2019 runner-up in David Michaud (18-6).

However, we now know that the fight is not taking place. It’s not just that the fight isn’t taking place, but David Michaud might never compete in PFL and mixed martial arts ever again.

Today, Michaud took to Twitter to announce that he wouldn’t be competing at PFL‘s event on April 29th due to a heart condition. The heart condition is severe enough where Michaud may never compete again.

PFL’s Next Steps

David Michaud had a three-fight run in the UFC back in 2014/2015. However, it was his run in PFL that saw him really find himself in the sport of mixed martial arts.

When Michaud made his debut in the 2019 season, he was finished in the first 20 seconds. While it was certainly not the way he wanted to start his PFL journey, Michaud didn’t give up.

He went on to win three consecutive fights. That landed him with a shot at Ray Cooper III and one million dollars in the PFL finals. Ultimately, Michaud came up short and Cooper got the second round TKO win.

However, Michaud had been working extremely hard and wanted to show off his skills this season. PFL gave him the biggest fight possible, but due to this condition, we may never see him compete again.

Your heart has to feel for Michaud. At this time, there is no word from PFL on what they are planning on doing. They will likely add another welterweight to their season, but we could see a shifting in the opening matchups to keep MacDonald in the main event slot on April 29th.