In yet another year of unexpected surprises, PFL winds down to their final event for the year with their championship fights. Each divisional winner takes home ae a a cool million, along with bragging rights for the year.
What makes this year vastly different is the amount of upsets that have led to the landscape changing drastically during the playoffs. Now the finals have a fair amount of newer faces and some fighters that haven’t been this close to the top.
All of this is a net good, by the way. It’s interesting to see lesser-known participants work through the field to get here. But we’re gonna start by discussing the most well-known fighter under the company’s umbrella, Kayla Harrison.
Harrison remains undefeated at 15-0, and has already fought against Larissa Pacheco (18-4) twice. Given the tournament format, we’re here again, with the devastating striker hoping the third time’s the charm to overcome the overwhelming odds. To her credit, Pacheco’s gotten even better at focusing the power in her shots and doesn’t need to land much to put someone away – or at least in grave danger.
The featherweight title has a pair of new faces facing each other for the first time. Bubba Jenkins (19-5) sealed the deal after two decision wins and notched a lovely submission win to get here. Brendan Loughnane (25-4) had some consistent and sturdy performances to earn three decision wins (one of them a technical decision). Jenkins has utilized his wrestling heavily but his slick boxing has also helped a big deal. Loughnane has used his range and his kicking game with a controlling clinch as his aides.
Light heavyweight has a real treat, as Ante Delija (22-5) finally broke free from the pack to be a major threat. And he meets Brazil’s Matheus Scheffel (17-8) in a bout of heavy-hitters, although Delija has more submission threats and more layers to his striking arsenal. Scheffel makes up for it in power and ferocity, but will want to be careful against the measured veteran.
Stevie Ray (25-10) displayed ground dominance en route to the finals with back to back wins over Anthony Pettis. He meets Olivier Aubin-Mercier, who has had a nice run in hard-fought battles to reach the finish line.
Sadibou Sy (12-6, 2 draws) won three straight by decision after imposing his size and smarts to control and outpace opponents. He’ll fight for the welterweight championship against surprise success Dilano Taylor (10-2), who bounced back from a loss to Magomed Magomedkerimov with a sensational upset against former UFC and Bellator star Rory MacDonald.
Omari Akhmedov (24-7, 1 draw) looks like a totally different fighter from his UFC days. He squares off against fellow UFC vet Rob Wilkinson (16-2), who has also made strides in his evolution having three straight finishes in 2022.
Julia Budd (16-4) welcomes Aspen Ladd (9-3) to the PFL cage at featherweight, while Sheymon Moraes (14-6) and Marlon Moraes (23-10, 1 draw – no relation) have a Brazilian striker battle. Jeremy Stephens (29-20) faces former champ Natan Schulte (22-5, 1 draw) at lightweight, and Gleison Tibau (yes, that Gleison – 36-16) meets Magomed Magomedkerimov (20-6) in what could be an under-the-radar banger.
Finally, alternates for each division also weighed in should they be needed for the event.
You can check out the weigh-ins right here:
Full card is as follows:
Kayla Harrison (154.4) vs. Larissa Pacheco (154.2) – Lightweight final
Brendan Loughnane (144.8) vs. Bubba Jenkins (145) – Featherweight final
Ante Delija (241.8) vs. Matheus Scheffel (256.4) – Heavyweight final
Aspen Ladd (145.4) vs. Julia Budd (146) – Lightweight showcase
Stevie Ray (154.6) vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier (154.6) – Lightweight final
Dilano Taylor (169.4) vs. Sadibou Sy (169.6) – Welterweight final
Omari Akhmedov (202.8) vs. Rob Wilkinson (204.6) – Light heavyweight
Marlon Moraes (146) vs. Sheymon Moraes (145.8) – Featherweight
Jeremy Stephens (155.8) vs. Natan Schulte (155.4) – Lightweight
Magomed Magomedkerimov (175.8) vs. Gleison Tibau (174.6) – Welterweight
Dakota Ditcheva (125.6) vs. Katherine Corogenes (124.3) – Flyweight
Biaggio Ali Walsh (154.8) vs. Tom Graesser (154.8) – Lightweight
Delan Monte (204.8) – Light heavyweight alternate
Martina Jindrova (153.6) – Women’s lightweight alternate
Alexander Martinez (154.6) – Lightweight alternate
Renan Ferreira (259.8) – Heavyweight alternate
The PFL 2022 finals will be airing with the prelims streaming live at 5:00pm EST on ESPN+, and the main card on PPV starting at 8:00pm.
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