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.

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.

PFL announces welterweight matchups including Rory MacDonald – David Michaud

The 2021 PFL season is getting ready to kick off next month. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve seen the promotion announce the opening matchups for many of their weight classes including the men’s lightweight division.

The first round of lightweight matchups is headlined by the anticipated matchup between Anthony Pettis and Clay Collard. Today, PFL announced the welterweight matchups that will kick off on April 29th.

The headliner of the 4/29 card is the welterweight matchup between Rory MacDonald (21-6-1) and David Michaud (18-6). Michaud is no stranger to the PFL ring. He competed in the 2019 PFL season.

Michaud was stopped in his first fight against Sadibou Sy in just 17 seconds. However, after that fight, Michaud would rattle off three consecutive wins that put him in the PFL season finale against Ray Cooper III.

Ultimately, Michaud was stopped in the second round and came up short in his opportunity to capture PFL gold. Well, the 2019 runner-up gets the biggest matchup in the opening round of the 2021 season.

MacDonald’s PFL Debut

On April 29th, Rory MacDonald will be making his highly anticipated PFL debut. MacDonald is already a veteran of the UFC and Bellator and now he will be trying out the Pro Fight League for the 2021 season.

We haven’t seen MacDonald since he lost to Douglas Lima back at Bellator 232 in October of 2019. That was the final fight on MacDonald’s Bellator contract and the talented welterweight started exploring his options.

In the end, MacDonald decided to sign with PFL for their 2020 season. Of course, the season never happened after COVID shut everything down. Now, more than a year later, MacDonald finally has his PFL debut set.

Rory MacDonald looked like he was going to be the next great superstar in MMA. MacDonald grew up in the sport competing in all areas of martial arts. He was considered to be a new-breed MMA fighter and his mentor was Georges St. Pierre.

However, MacDonald never fully lived up to expectations. MacDonald came within a round of becoming UFC champion, but Robbie Lawler pulled off a rally TKO. MacDonald did become a champion in Bellator, but he couldn’t put together a long reign.

Now, the 31 year old starts off on his new journey with PFL. Considering the length of his career, it’s shocking to think MacDonald is only 31. I’m very excited to watch him compete in this upcoming PFL season. A refreshed Rory MacDonald could mean trouble for the Pro Fight League welterweights.

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

PFL’s Peter Murray continues to land, promote big-time stars

The Professional Fighters League remains steadfast in building the best and most complete roster in all of mixed martial arts.

And one of the key figures in putting all of that together is Peter Murray.

Murray has already helped the PFL bring in the likes of Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison, Rory MacDonald and Ray Cooper III while continuing to scour countries all around the world for the next big thing.

Throughout his career, Murray has done just that. His list of “who’s who” includes boxing heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua, MMA legend Georges St-Pierre, swimming icon Michael Phelps, current baseball stars Bryce Harper and Clayton Kershaw, and so many more.

“Our role in MMA is to reimagine and reinvent the sport — smart data, storytelling. Now, number two in the world,” Murray said in an interview with Combat Press. “The UFC is the leader in the sport. They’ve done the heavy lift. They’ve been doing it for 25 years.

“The similarities are: we have a global reach, and in production value, the PFL is the best. We are second to none.”

While preparing for the start of the 2021 season, the PFL has continued to expand this year. They released an OTT platform that showcases a large fight library along with releasing a number of new series spotlighting the likes of MacDonald, Chuck Liddell and others.

The PFL also plans to expand upon the use of SmartCage technology, which allows viewers to see real-time fighter performance data and analytics. They have also reached new deals in countries such as Russia and India.

“We’re locked and loaded on distribution and expansion outside of the (United States),” Murray said. “We’re creating stars.”

The 2021 PFL season is scheduled to begin in April to its conclusion with six fighters secure million-dollar checks at the end. The promotion is the only one in MMA that plays out through a regular season, playoff and championship format.