The PFL playoffs continue this weekend, and most fans have circled the bout between Renan Ferreira and Maurice Greene as one that is sure to deliver. The headlining bout takes place in The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and the two heavyweights will battle for a spot in the PFL finals and a chance at $1 million.
Renan Ferreira hails from Brazil and fights out of Rio de Janeiro. He's coming from the famous team Nogueira which has produced a litany of talented heavyweight products. Despite the seasoned age of 33, Ferreira only started fighting frequently around four years ago. After starting 4-1, he made it to the LFA, one of the biggest regional promotions in MMA.
As he was immediately placed in the main event, Ferreira's talent as a knockout artist was evident immediately. Ferreira was winning his first fight in the promotion against promising prospect Brett Martin but was disqualified at the end of the first round for illegal strikes to the back of the head. He immediately corrected this mistake his next time out, when he submitted former UFC fighter Jared Vanderaa in the second round in his second consecutive main event. Not only did this performance show his well-rounded skillset as a mixed martial artist, but it also showed that he could finish high-level competition.
Ferreira was picked up by the PFL in 2021 following this impressive showing. The nature of PFL's structure has allowed Ferreira to make up for lost time, as he was able to fight three times in 2021. While he would not enter regular-season competition until 2022, Ferreira was immediately given the biggest challenge of his career when he got to fight former UFC Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum in his first fight with the promotion. While he won via first-round TKO, the fight was later ruled a No Contest due to a retroactive realization that the stoppage may have resulted from Werdum loosening his grip on submission because he thought Ferreira tapped. Regardless of the result, it was clear that the PFL had a potential contender in Renan Ferreira. He would win his other two fights that year, giving him plenty of momentum as he began competing in the PFL regular season in 2022.
Ferreira continued his 2021 form in the PFL 2022 Regular season, coming out of the gates with a knockout in less than 30 seconds in his first bout of the year. He faced former UFC veteran Klidson Abreu next, and while he lost the fight via decision, it was later turned into a No Contest after Abreu failed a drug test. This permitted Ferreira entry into the 2022 playoffs, where he drew eventual champion Ante Delija in the first round. Ferreira lost the fight in the first round, but after seeing Delija win the $1 million that year, he was even more motivated to right his wrongs in 2023.
This year's PFL regular season was initially marred with failed drug tests from some of its participants. In his first fight of 2023, Ferreira lost a decision to Eagle FC Heavyweight champion Rizvan Kuniev, but the fight was again overturned to a No Contest due to a failed drug test from Kuniev. It is undoubtedly disappointing for clean fighters to come into winnable bouts at an automatic disadvantage, and Ferreira was immediately put on the back foot in the 2023 regular season due to the outcome of these events. He bounced back in the cage to make it all work out. Two months later, Renan Ferreira knocked out Matheus Scheffel in the first round to solidify his spot in the 2023 playoffs.
With the 2023 regular season in the books, Renan Ferreira looks forward to advancing as far as possible in the 2023 PFL playoffs with an exciting fight against another former UFC veteran in the wings. Ferreira was initially set to face fellow Brazilian Marcelo Nunes, but after Nunes was forced to withdraw, he was matched up against an even more formidable opponent in Maurice Greene. With knockout power and a solid submission game, Ferreira has a well-rounded skillset that comforts him wherever the fight goes. Greene also has heavy hands, but with a clear grappling advantage, Ferreira would be wise to take the fight to the mat and lay down some ground-and-pound. Tune in this weekend to see what happens!