NEW YORK: On New Year’s Eve, Professional Fighters League (PFL), the first organization ever to present MMA through a Regular Season, Playoffs and Championship format, returns to New York City for the 2019 PFL World Championship. All competitors successfully made weight, setting the stage for six world title fights live from Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes at 7:00pm ET.
“We started with 68 fighters, and here we are, down to 12 fighters who will each fight for a title and million-dollar prize,” said Ray Sefo, PFL President of Fighter Operations. “Their presence on this stage is a testament to their work ethic, determination, strength and desire to be the best. It will be an explosive and memorable night.”
Women’s Lightweight Championship
Kayla Harrison vs. Larissa Pacheco
Concluding the 2019 PFL World Championship is a battle for the first-ever women’s lightweight title. Two-time Olympic judo gold medalist and MMA star Kayla Harrison looks to earn her first belt and remain undefeated in her MMA career (6-0). To do so, she’ll have to beat the only woman to have taken her a full three rounds inside the cage, Brazil’s Larissa Pacheco.
Ray Cooper III vs. David Michaud
Hands will fly in a welterweight clash between Ray Cooper III and David Michaud. Last season Cooper was defeated by 2nd round submission in the Championship bout by Magomed Magomedkerimov. The heavy-hitting Hawaiian punched his way to New Year’s Eve with an epic knockout of Chris Curtis in the semifinals. Michaud earned two bloody hard-fought wins in the playoffs to advance.
Ali Isaev vs. Jared Rosholt
Two elite wrestlers face off for the heavyweight title. Veteran Jared Rosholt remains the winningest heavyweight in Oklahoma State University’s storied wrestling history. Ali Isaev was a 2008 Olympian in freestyle wrestling representing Azerbaijan (he now fights for his home nation of Russia). Isaev upset the #1 seed Denis Goltsov with 1 second left in the semifinals by TKO. Rosholt scored two upsets in the playoffs to make the final.
Natan Schulte vs. Loik Radzhabov
Natan Schulte looks to repeat as PFL’s lightweight champion. Schulte enters the championship as the #1 seed, coming off two impressive early finish victories in the playoffs. He’ll face underdog Loik Radzhabov, who shocked the bottom half of the playoff bracket as the #7 seed with impressive, emphatic victories.
Lance Palmer vs. Alex Gilpin
Lance “The Party” Palmer fights for a second straight featherweight title in a trilogy fight with submission specialist Alex Gilpin. Palmer has won 10 straight fights overall and is 9-0 in the PFL, with a second straight perfect season now within reach. Gilpin, a former University of
Wisconsin wrestler, had two impressive submission wins this season, including a second-round ninja choke against Andre Harrison, making him the first fighter ever to finish “The Bull”.
Light Heavyweight Championship
Emiliano Sordi vs. Jordan Johnson
The opening championship match will see a new light heavyweight champion crowned. World- class striker Emiliano Sordi will face former University of Iowa wrestler Jordan Johnson. Argentina’s “He Man” Sordi has won all four fights this season by stoppage (3 knockouts, 1 submission). His last three wins all came in the first round. Johnson entered the PFL at 10-0, including a 4-0 run with the UFC, but suffered his first career loss in his PFL debut against Maxim Grishin. He avenged that loss in the playoffs and is now one win away from one million dollars and PFL gold.
Kayla Harrison (154.8) vs Larissa Pacheco (153.6)
David Michaud (169.6) vs Ray Cooper III (168.6)
Ali Isaev (258.8) vs Jared Rosholt (250.6)
Natan Schulte (153.6) vs Loik Radzhabov (154.8)
Lance Palmer (144.6) vs Alex Gilpin (144.4)
Emiliano Sordi (204.4) vs Jordan Johnson (202.2) Brendan Loughnane (146.0) vs David Alex Valente (145.8)