The final show of the inaugural PFL season kicks off tonight, this time featuring a little different of an approach. Instead of only featuring two weight classes, as previous cards have, this appears to be a more typical mishmash of divisions – and with only very limited impact on final tournament standings. That’s not a slight against the talent on the card, but it’s mostly a collection of newcomers, and fighters that were unable to compete earlier due to scheduling issues and will attempt to squeeze into a final few playoff spots.
The most notable of the newcomers is Omar Nurmagomedov, cousin of UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. He’ll be making his stateside debut with his undefeated (7-0) record against Brooklyn’s own standout wrestler Saidyokub Kakhramonov (5-0).
Main bout honors go to former World Series of Fighting champion Smealinho Rama (10-4). He faces Australian powerhouse Jamie Abdallah (7-3). Rama rebounded nicely from his title loss to Blagoy Ivanov back in 2015 with a win over Jake Heun, but has dropped two straight since then (it should be noted that his last loss was a doctor’s stoppage due to a cut). Abdallah won all of his first 7 fights via finishes due to strikes, but has since suffered losses at the hands of Rob Wilkinson, Sokodjou, and a submission loss in his PFL debut against Vinny Magalhães. While there’s no shame in a submission loss against one of the best grapplers in the sport, Abdallah hasn’t shown that tenacity and killer instinct lately that got him his early success. Still, he’s got time to turn it all around and could make a statement with a win here.
Former UFC fighter Sean O’Connell (18-9) faces Bazigit Atayev (18-2) in a battle of wild light heavyweights for the co-main event. While Alexandre “Popo“ Bezerra (21-5) comes hot off his win in his lone LFA bout against Sam Toomer to face vicious Russian Magomed Idrisov (8-2). Idrisov has career wins over Ivan Buchinger, Max Coga, and Herbert Burns to his credit, and is hoping to bounce back from his most recent fight – a triangle choke loss to Steven Siler.
Former UFC and Bellator fighter Paul Bradley (23-9) welcomes Handesson Ferreira (11-1, 1 draw) to PFL. The Brazilian has had only one fight outside of his home country, a decision win over Ray Cooper III. Caio Alencar faces Mike Kyle in a duel between seasoned veterans who are willing to throw caution to the wind.
Finally, former Dana White Contender Series contestant Emiliano Sordi (16-7) faces the very experienced (and wily) Bellator veteran Jason Butcher (11-3).
Weigh-ins for the event can be viewed here.
Full fight card is as follows:
Smealinho Rama vs Jamie Abdallah – Light heavyweight
Bazigit Atayev vs Sean O’Connell – Light heavyweight
Alexandre Bezerra vs Magomed Idrisov – Featherweight
Paul Bradley vs Handesson Ferreira – Welterweight
Caio Alencar vs Mike Kyle – Heavyweight
Caio Magalhães vs Sadibou Sy – Middleweight
Jason Butcher vs Emiliano Sordi – Light heavyweight
Saidyokub Kakharamonov vs Omar Nurmagomedov – 140lb Catchweight bout
Robert Hale vs Ramazan Kuramagomedov – Welterweight
Mo De’Reese vs Leroy Johnson – Heavyweight
Note: A fight between Jason High and Johnny Case has been cancelled after High was unable to make weight. Case will move on to a playoff spot by default
Also, be sure to check out our Vivisection of the event with Zane Simon and Eddie Mercado.
PFL’s final regular season show takes place Thursday night with the prelims on Facebook, and with the main card on NBC Sports. The televised portion of the event takes place at 9:00pm EST.