PFL kicks off their light heavyweight and welterweight divisional season openers this week, with another group of competitive and compelling bouts lined up. There were some adjustments made with replacements needed, but the card will otherwise remain a good one on paper.
The main event was scheduled to be former UFC standout and Bellator champ Rory MacDonald (21-6, 1 draw) against David Michaud, but Michaud had to bow out and may have his career cut short due to an unfortunate heart condition. Now MacDonald is up against Curtis Millender (18-6) and his hard-hitting style paired with dynamic athleticism.
Former PFL champ Ray Cooper III (20-7, 1 draw) has pulled off some shockers in his PFL tenure, and now he welcomes France’s Jason Ponet (20-12, 1 draw). Former UFC stalwart Gleison Tibau (34-14) meets “Brazilian Samurai“ João Zeferino (24-9) in a battle of well-rounded tank vs BJJ-based former World Series of Fighting talent, and this is the kind of opponent that could bring out a spirited performance from Tibau.
Vinny Magalhães was not medically cleared to compete, which means his fight against Jordan Young isn’t happening. Instead, Young 11-0 meets Ukranian Askar Mozharov (23-7). Even as a replacement, he managed to get under Jordan’s skin, requiring intervention from Ray Sefo himself.
2019’s light heavyweight king Emiliano Sordi (22-8) bet on himself big and won the million off his massive power and spry movement, which led him to win the big prize undefeated at 5-0 for that year. Now he’s moving up to 205 to square up against noted striker and former UFC talent Chris Camozzi (25-14). Camozzi’s been up and down with kickboxing bouts since leaving the UFC, going 1-1 in MMA since then having his last MMA victory against Tony Lopez in 2019.
Finally, Antonio Carlos Junior (a.k.a. Shoeface, 10-5) welcomes former UFC and Golden Boy MMA fighter “Filthy“ Tom Lawlor (10-7), and RCC, Fight Nights Global, ACB and One Championship vet Nikolay Aleksakhin (26-5) is up against certified finisher Sadibou Sy (8-5, 2 draws).
PFL’s got some preview packages for this one, highlighting what drives Ray Cooper and the anticipation of Rory MacDonald turning another page in his career.
Full card is as follows:
Rory MacDonald (170.6) vs. Curtis Millender (171)
Ray Cooper III (170.8) vs. Jason Ponet (170.2)
Gleison Tibau (170.4) vs. Joao Zeferino (171)
Emiliano Sordi (205.6) vs. Chris Camozzi (202.75)
Tom Lawlor (202.8) vs. Antonio Carlos Junior (205.4)
Askar Mozharov (205) vs. Jordan Young (205.75)
Cezar Ferreira (205.4) vs. Nick Roehrick (205.4)
Sadibou Sy (170.8) vs. Nikolay Aleksakhin (170.8)
Dan Spohn (205.5) vs. Marthin Hamlet Nielsen (205.75)