After the setup for what could have been a very compelling matchup, Julia Budd withdrew from this week’s main event due to injury. That means that Kayla Harrison (13-0) will meet pioneer Kaitlin Young (12-12, 1 draw) instead.
Young is 2-2 in her last four, having suffered losses at the hands of Mariana Moraes and Julia Budd last year. This will be her first fight this year, and a first round finish would automatically catapult her into the playoffs. That’s going to be a massively difficult task considering the level of athlete and grappler she’s up against. Regardless, she’s going to give it a shot, and Harrison is going to remain a menace with her control and punishing offense on the ground.
The co-main event is a very interesting welterweight tilt between former UFC contender and Bellator champ Rory MacDonald (23-8, 1 draw) vs Sadibou Sy (10-6, 2 draws). MacDonald is comfortably at the top of the leaderboard with six points after his submission win over Brett Cooper earlier this year. Sy is just outside the qualifying four with a split decision win over Nikolay Aleksakhin. His last stoppage win was when he slammed the brakes on David Michaud in 2019, but he may be able to use his range and leg kicks to set the pace against MacDonald. It’s still a tall order, but upsets are always possible in this stretch of the PFL season.
Former champ Ray Cooper III (24-8, 1 draw) had a harsh upset loss earlier in the year against Carlos Leal, and currently has no points in the standings. But he’s gonna give it a go against former Bellator staple Brett Cooper, who had a handful of vicious performances in ACB/ACA before coming to PFL.
Magomed Magomedkerimov (29-6) has yet to fight in PFL this year, and therefore has zero points in the standings. After Zeferino withdrew for a second time this year, Zeferino has been replaced by Dilano Taylor (9-1). Taylor is currently 2-0 this year after a win on the challenger’s series and a split decision over Zeferino himself. Magomedkerimov remainds dangerous everywhere, and his only loss since 2015 is against Ray Cooper.
Larissa Pacheco (16-4) is once again nearing the home stretch, using her dynamite power to climb the leaderboard and reach the top with six points. Now she faces a different kind of challenge against tall and rangy boxer Genah Fabian (5-2). Fabian won against Julia Budd this year, the biggest feather in her cap so far. Unfortunately, she missed weight for that one. That led her to netting a -1 score somehow in the standings. She’s going to have to finish the hardest hitter and sharpest striker in the division in the very first round to have any real playoff hopes now.
Marina Mokhnatkina (6-3) lost earlier in the year against Kayla Harrison by decision, but might be able to make her way into the playoff picture. To do so, she’s got to beat Mexico’s Abby Montes (3-1), who earned some notoriety for defeating Claressa Shields last year. Montes suffered a loss to Olena Kolesnyk earlier this year, so expect both to go for broke and try to scramble for points.
Speaking of Kolesnyk (6-4), she’s up against former UFC fighter Vanessa Melo (11-9). Melo is also winless in 2022, having lost to Martina Jindrová. Kolesnyk should easily be favored in here, but the entire current lightweight landscape for the ladies can change pretty drastically depending on what happens this week.
You can check out the weigh-in recap here:
Kayla Harrison (155.6) vs. Kaitlin Young (155)
Rory MacDonald (170.8) vs. Sadibou Sy (170.2)
Ray Cooper III (170.4) vs. Brett Cooper (170.4)
Magomed Magomedkerimov (170.8) vs. Dilano Taylor (170.8)*
Larissa Pacheco (154.6) vs. Genah Fabian (156)
Jarrah Al-Silawi (170.4) vs. Magomed Umalatov (170.4)
Nikolay Aleksakhin (170.2) vs. Carlos Leal Miranda (170)
Marina Mokhnatkina (154) vs. Abigail Montes (154.8)
Martina Jindrova (154.8) vs. Zamzagul Fayzallanova (155)
Helena Kolesnyk (155.6) vs. Vanessa Melo (154.4)
PFL# 6 takes place this Friday night with pre-show and prelims starting at 5:30 EST streaming exclusively on ESPN+. The main card will be simulcast on ESPN and ESPN+ starting at 8:00pm.
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