This Friday will see the conclusion of the 2023 PFL season, with all finalists in each weight class competing not only for the coveted PFL championship but a life-changing $1,000,000 in prize money. The event takes place in Washington, DC, and will be broadcast all over the globe featuring an array of fan favorites, defending champions, and surprise newcomers. With the PFL's recent purchase of Bellator, many eyes will be drawn to this finale.
Closing the preliminary card will see two PFL newcomers compete for the Featherweight title. This will be a rematch from the first regular season bout, which saw a closely fought battle with Alves Braga taking a split decision victory. Since his PFL debut defeat, Jesus Pinedo finished both of last year's finalists with an impressive first-round TKO against last year's champion, Brendan Loughnane, and a second-round TKO against 2022 runner-up Bubba Jenkins. Relatively unknown to the public prior to his huge upset win against Loughnane, Pinedo wasted no time in winning over fans all over the globe with his back-to-back incredible performances. Pinedo will no doubt be looking to improve on those victories and seek revenge against Alves Braga.
However, Alves Braga is undefeated with a record of 11-0, with five victories coming via knockout. This season Brage has a split decision victory over his upcoming opponent in his PFL debut, followed by a first-round KO against UFC veteran Marlon Moraes in the regular season. Alves Braga then went on to beat PFL vet and former UFC athlete Chris Wade in the semi-finals via split decision. With two newcomers chasing the title and a million-dollar payday, this fight has everything to kick off the PPV in style and set the tone for the rest of the night.
The PFL 2021 welterweight champion Ray Cooper III will kick off the main card and will make his Middleweight debut against UFC veteran and PFL debutant Derek Brunson. Cooper has an impressive record of 25-8-1, with 16 wins coming via KO and seven by submission. Cooper moved up to middleweight as the PFL removed their middleweight division, which explains why he has not fought this year. To welcome newcomer Brunson on the biggest card of the year should give him the opportunity he has been waiting for.
On the other hand, Brunson is coming off back-to-back defeats in the UFC. Having never lost three fights in a row, he will look to make good of this opportunity on his PFL debut. Brunson was on a five-fight win streak in the UFC until he fell into two knockout losses against Jarod Cannonier and Dricus Du Plessis. With a similar record of 23-9, Brunson is still a very dangerous fighter despite now being 39 years old, and a good performance against Cooper will certainly showcase that he has a lot left in the tank.
The next fight on the card will mark the return of Kayla Harrison in a catchweight bout (150lbs) marking almost precisely one year since her last fight. Harrison has dominated the PFL throughout her career, debuting in MMA in the PFL in 2018; Harrison captured two PFL championships in the women's Lightweight division in 2019 and 2021. Her only career loss came to Larissa Pacheco in her last fight. With an outstanding judo resume, including two Olympic gold medals, Harrison transitioned to MMA with nothing but success. With a record of 15-1 and 12 wins via finish, Harrison is one of the most dangerous women in MMA.
Her opponent this weekend will be none other than Aspen Ladd, a fighter who made her PFL debut in last year's championship PPV finale. Ladd is 2-1 in the PFL and 11-4 in her MMA career overall, with 8 of those victories coming via finish. Ladd has yet to compete in the PFL season and will undoubtedly be looking to make a massive statement over a two-time winner in Harrison, who, on the other hand, will be looking to bounce back after her first defeat in her career.
Josh Silveira will be looking to make good on his second season in the PFL as he faces off against Impa Kasanganay. Silveira first competed in the PFL challenger series in 2022 before competing in the playoffs later that year. Unfortunately, Silveira would succumb to his only professional defeat at the hands of Omari Akhmedov. Silveira, however, would undoubtedly make the most of his second opportunity in the PFL, racking up three wins, all coming via finish in the first round. Now, he stands just one win away from winning the Light Heavyweight title.
Kasanganay, another PFL debutant this year and fellow PFL challenger series winner, is looking to spoil the party. After being cut from the UFC with a record of 2-2, where he competed as both a Middleweight and Welterweight, Kasanganay moved to Lightheavyweight and has been a driving force ever since. Four straight victories with three finishes mean Ksasanganay is just one more win away from capturing a PFL title and a one-million-dollar cheque.
The next fight will be for the Welterweight gold, featuring a rematch from the 2021 semi-final. Magomedkerimov, who has an outstanding record of 15-1 in the PFL, will face off against defending champion Sadibou Sy. Both fighters will be looking to add a second title to their trophy cabinet this weekend as they face off for the second time in the PFL. Magomedkerimov has been one of the most successful fighters in the PFL but has only managed to capture the title once, back in 2018. After not competing in the regular season last year, Magomedkerimov still fought at PFL 10 in 2022 against Gleison Tibau in a Catchweight bout. Just over a year later, he will face off against the man who won that year's tournament.
Sy has become a fan favorite with his exciting style and viral knockouts. However, he has one of his biggest tests standing in front of him this weekend, looking for redemption in what was his last defeat. Both men have a similar record in this year season coming into the fight with three wins, including two TKO victories. This fight undoubtedly has all the potential to be one of the most exciting fights on the card.
Challenging for the women’s Featherweight title will be defending champion Larissa Pacheco and Russian sambo star Marina Mokhnatkina. Pacheco will be looking to make it back to back final victories in her third PFL final. Riding a nine-fight win streak with an impressive record of 22-4, Pacheco has proven to be a powerhouse in the Featherweight division on numerous occasions. Pacheco has three wins this season, with her last two ending within the first minute via TKO. Pacheco’s last defeat came back in the PFL 2019 final against Kayla Harrison, who she ultimately got her revenge on last year as she won the upset of the year when she defeated her in the final.
Her opponent's last loss also came at the hands of Harrison in last year’s opening fight. Since then, Mokhnatkina has notched up a five-fight win streak with an eye-opening performance in her last bout where she submitted Amber Leibrock with an armbar in the semi-finals. Mokhnatkina debuted in the PFL in 2021, defeating Claudia Zamora. Since then, she has been 6-1, with her only loss coming to the aforementioned Harrison.
The co-main event of the evening will see the two Heavyweight finalists, Renan Ferreira and Denis Golstov, go toe-to-toe. The 6’8 Heavyweight Ferreira is 2-0 this season after his defeat to Rizvan Kuniev was overturned to a no-contest as Kuniev failed a drugs test. Yet his first-round 50-second knockout against Matheus Scheffel was enough to see him progress into the semi-finals. Ferreira would continue his first-round KO streak against Maurice Greene and book a place in the finals. Ferreira has been fighting in the PFL since 2021 and finds himself in his first final. With 82% of his 11 victories coming by knockout, Ferreira is a dangerous fighter who can turn his opponent's lights out in a split second.
His opponent, Goltsov, also has a knockout record to boast about with 15 knockouts in his 32 career wins. Futhermore, all three of his victories this season came in the first round, two of which were knockouts and one submission. Goltsov is riding a five-fight win streak and will compete in his first PFL final. Both men possess the ability to finish each other at any instant and this will certainly not be a fight you will want to take your eyes off.
The PPV’s main event will see the Lightweight title defended by reigning champion Aubin-Mercier against first-time finalist Collard. Both fighters joined the PFL in 2021 and have continued to shine throughout the past few years. Aubin-Mercier is undefeated in the PFL with a record of 9-0 and holds impressive victories over names such as Stevie Ray, Shane Burgos, and Bruno Miranda. On the other hand, Collard has a PFL record of 6-2, who also has some impressive wins on his resume. These include Shayne Burgos, Stevie Ray, Jeremy Stevens, and Anthony Pettis.
This season, after a dominant performance against Shayne Burgos in the season’s opener, Aubin-Mercier has back-to-back KO victories showcasing a new-found element to his game. Collard progressed to the finals this season with a dominant performance over Yamato Nishikawa and a KO victory over Stevie Ray in the regular season. Then, a surprise entrance in Shayne Burgos in the semi-finals was not enough to stop Collard from progressing to the finals as he took a unanimous decision victory.
This year's main event is one of the more captivating and exciting fights on the card, as two of the PFL’s best Welterweights will finally face off for the first time when the stakes are at their highest.