The newest MMA Cinderella story rolls on this week, as Brendan Loughnane (21-3) returns to the PFL cage. After his egregious snub despite a win on Contender Series, Loughnane kept himself busy and secured a deal with PFL that has yielded major benefits. Starting his year off with a bang against Sheymon Moraes, he went on to notch a decision win against Tyler Diamond.
This has led to now, where he meets the very game Movlid Khaybulaev (17-0, 1 draw, 1 no-contest). Khaybulaev has also had a perfect 2021 with wins against Lazar Stojadinovic and former champ Lance Palmer. A wild battle between two wizened strikers that have faced strong opposition and looked great doing it is a perfect fit for the main event here. In fact, this could easily have been the tournament final. Good thing we’re getting it here instead.
Former Bellator talent Bubba Jenkins (16-4) has had a breakout year in 2021, earning a decision win in a shocking upset against Lance Palmer. He followed that up with a win over tough grappler Bobby Moffett. This week, he’s up against Long Island’s own Chris Wade (19-6). Wade’s been here before, making his way close to the end only to falter in the end. A win here puts him in the hunt against the winner of Loughnane/Khaybulaev for a shot at redemption and a cool million.
But that won’t be easy. Jenkins has shored up his striking defense, improved his striking and gotten sharper with his control after he gets his wrestling going. Wade has an aggressive submission game and dynamite power in his hands to go with his strong wrestling base, making this another excellent matchup.
Emiliano Sordi (23-8) was another fighter that went on Contender Series and didn’t quite have things work out. He managed to pick himself up, dust himself off and plow through the field in 2019 to win the light heavyweight tournament. After a decision win over Chris Camozzi and a draw against Dan Spohn, he’s back in the playoffs with his trademark power and explosiveness. This has led to a matchup with former UFC talent Antonio Carlos Junior (11-5). Shoeface earned a submission win over Tom Lawlor back in April and had a no-contest against Vinny Magalhães. It’s another very good matchup, seeing as Shoeface is good at keeping distance for most of the fight and has excellent BJJ skills, although both have cardio that is hit or miss.
Another Ultimate Fighter Brazil alum joins the fray, as Cezar Ferreira (14-9) meets Danish finisher Marthin Nielsen (7-2). Ferreira made his PFL with a major statement after blowing the doors off Nick Roehrick in April. Nielsen got here with a submission win over Dan Spohn, and can still turn things around after a submission loss to Cory Hendricks.
Sheymon Moraes (12-5) still has his lovely striking, and he’ll be putting it to good use against Lazar Stojadinovic (14-8). Cory Hendricks (8-3) gets a crack at Chris Camozzi (26-15), and Alejandro Flores (19-3) is up against American Top Team rep Carl Deaton (15-4).
You can check out the weigh-ins here:
Full card is as follows:
Brendan Loughnane (145.75) vs. Movlid Khaybulaev (145.75) – Featherweight
Chris Wade (145.5) vs. Bubba Jenkins (146) – Featherweight
Antonio Carlos Junior (206) vs. Emiliano Sordi (205.5) – Light heavyweight
Cezar Ferreira (205.25) vs. Marthin Hamlet (205.75) – Light heavyweight
Sheymon Moraes (146)vs. Lazar Stojadinovic (145.5) – Featherweight
Chris Camozzi (203.5) vs. Cory Hendricks (205.5) – Light heavyweight
Anthony Dizy (145.5) vs. Jesse Stirn (144.5) – Featherweight
Jason Knight (145.75) vs. Bobby Moffett (148.25) – Featherweight
Alejandro Flores (145.5) vs. Carl Deaton III (146) – Featherweight
Brandon Jenkins (156) vs. Jacob Kilburn (154.5) – Lightweight
PFL Playoffs continue this Friday night starting with the prelims at 6:30pm EST on ESPN+. That’s followed by the main card starting at 10:00pm with a simulcast on ESPN+ and ESPN2.
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