PFL 7 Preview: Welterweight and Lightweight playoffs begin tonight

Tonight the PFL is back with their seventh event of 2021 and the playoffs begin tonight. It will be the welterweights and lightweights that will take center stage tonight as four men look to punch their ticket to the finals and one step closer to one million dollars.

In the main event of the evening, former Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald (22-7-1) will be taking on former PFL champion Ray Cooper III (22-7-1). This is the welterweight matchup we were hoping to see out of this PFL season.

That said, nobody thought we’d see it in the semifinals. MacDonald was the victim of a horrific decision against Gleison Tibau back at PFL 5 which robbed him of a higher seed. Had MacDonald won that fight, he could’ve met Cooper III in the finals.

Instead, we see it in the semis. Cooper III has been dominant so far with two wins including a first round submission thus far in the 2021 PFL season. Whoever wins this matchup tonight could be the favorite heading into the finals.

The other semifinal matchup features former PFL champion Magomed Magomedkerimov (28-5) taking on Sadibou Sy (9-5-2, 1 NC). Magomedkerimov has never lost under the PFL banner and he’s the big favorite to get it done tonight against Sadibou Sy. Sy is just 3-3, 1 NC in seven career PFL bouts.

PFL Lightweight Playoffs

Opening up the featured card on ESPN is the two lightweight semifinal matchups. The popular Clay Collard (20-8) takes on Raush Manfio (13-3) in one of the matchups. Both of these men have shared the same two opponents thus far in the 2021 season.

Collard and Manfio have decision wins over Anthony Pettis and Joilton Lutterbach. Both of Manfio’s wins were by split decision while Collard was able to get a unanimous decision over Anthony Pettis.

This is a tremendous matchup and is likely to gain a lot of attention at PFL 7. The other lightweight semifinal actually features a rematch from the first PFL event of 2021.

Alex Martinez (8-1) will be taking on Loik Radzhabov (14-3-1). Martinez picked up the split decision back at PFL 1 and Radzhabov bounced back to defeat Akhmed Aliev by first round knockout at PFL 4.

Alex Martinez lost his first professional fight in his last appearance by dropping a split decision to Natan Schulte. That said, despite both men being 1-1, they’ve both secured a spot in the semifinals tonight.

Playoff Predictions

  • Rory MacDonald vs Ray Cooper III – Cooper III by Unanimous Decision
  • Magomed Magomedkerimov vs Sadibou Sy – Magomedkerimov by Unanimous Decision
  • Clay Collard vs Rausch Manfio – Collard by Unanimous Decision
  • Alex Martinez vs Loik Radzhabov – Martinez by Split Decision

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 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 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.