Season 3 of PFL has been the best one yet. With multiple upsets, known names, and great matchups making up the bracket; the playoffs are must watch for the first time since their inception.
We’ve been seeing UFC matchmaking getting more questionable by the day lately, leaving a ton of young, unsigned free agents still competing on the regional circuit. Now that Bellator is putting on some of the best MMA cards we’ve seen under the promotion and PFL bringing in some phenomenal talent to build, the landscape of the big leagues is starting to change.
Change is good though, more promotions should embrace it. Including the PFL, who has yet to announce any plans of bringing in new division for the men and women. The bantamweight division is one of the deepest divisions in the sport, so why not bring in some exciting, flashy fighters next season?
PFL has the potential to do something special here and kick off their 135 division better than any other division they have brought in thus far. We decided to look at 10 bantamweight free agents that could fill a future million dollar bracket.
Josh Rettinghouse (31, 16-5 – USA)
Although Josh Rettinghouse is 31 years old, he proved that he can hand with the young guys on this recent season of The Ultimate Fighter. Losing to Brady Hiestand in the quarter final bout, Josh showed great standup and a solid well-rounded skillset. If the UFC doesn’t scoop him up or give him a chance at a contract, the PFL should swoop right in for their inaugural bantamweight bracket.
Jack Cartwright (27, 10-0 – England)
The Cage Warriors bantamweight champion is a fun one to watch. Jack Cartwright could make the bracket very interesting, with 9 finishes on his resume. Perfect at 10-0, the bantamweight should already be in the UFC, or at least Contender Series. If PFL does decide to bring in 135ers, they should capitalize by bringing in one oof England’s best.
Justin Wetzell (29, 7-1 – USA)
Enter the man with a Power Level over 9000. The scouter wearing LFA bantamweight is coming off the biggest win of his career finishing former UFC signee, Askar Askar. If that performance was not impressive enough to get Justin Wetzell a shot in the UFC or Season 5 of Contender Series, then it’s time one of these other big promotions scoop him up. He’s marketable, always has fun matches, and trains as Cory Sandhagen’s training partner at Elevation Fight Team. He is such a no-brainer signing if the promotion decided to bring in a new weight class.
Levi Mowles (26, 15-4 – USA)
Levi Mowles has proven time and time again that he is ready for the big leagues. He’s fought for LFA, Fury FC, Atlas Fights, and CFFC in his last five fights and finished all those fights except one. Not only does he have a deep record for his age, he’s the 1st ranked of 104 active US Southwest Pro Bantamweights, 1st ranked of 59 active Texas Pro Bantamweights, and 2nd ranked of 716 active United States Pro Bantamweights. His only losses are to guys who went on to fight in one of the big leagues. It’s only a matter of time before the regional scene runs out of fights for him.
Eli Tamez (36, 10-0 – USA)
The Fortis MMA bantamweight hasn’t fought since 2017, but he made it very clear that he’d be in for a PFL bantamweight bracket. So why not add him to the list? Eli Tamez is undefeated and the majority of guys he fought while active had winning records. And who knows, maybe the pink hair makes a reappearance too. Likely retired and doing bigger + better things with his life, if one thing would get me out of retirement is the possibility of $1 Million Dollars. Who wouldn’t return for that and a chance to be called a world champion… If they said no, they’d be lying. Going through Tamez’s Instagram, it’s clear that he often contemplates a return. If you were looking for a sign, here it is. After all, 30 is the new 20, right?
Mauro Mastromarini (23, 11-1 – Argentina)
For being only 23-years old, Mauro Mastromarini has an impressive record. The Argentinian would make the perfect fit for a potential bantamweight bracket, and can be someone PFL promotes heavily. Though his last fight came via decision, Mastromarini has 9 finishes to his name. He could be a fun addition to the Pro Fighters League, bracket or not.
Richard Palencia (31, 9-0 – USA)
Though he is one of few fighters over 30 on the list, Richard Palencia is a beast and has a perfect record of 9-0. He can clearly go the distance too, with most fights on his resume coming via decision. Fighting for LFA and Combate in his last few outings, it’s a no-brainerr that Palencia is ready for the big leagues. If PFL decides to bring in 135ers, he’d be a perfect choice to choice this epic list of bantamweights.
Ricky Camp (28, 12-4 – Guam)
Representing Guam, Ricky Camp would be a fun addition to this bracket if it ever came to fruition. Finally getting his shot at a UFC Fight Pass card, “2 Slick” made a successful LFA debut back in July via split decision. If the PFL wants to diversity their talent portfolio, Guam would be a nice addition. He’s the current X-1 World Events bantamweight champion and riding a 7-fight win streak.
Luan Lacerda (28, 11-1 – Brazil)
After getting a well deserved LFA opportunity when the promotion went to Brazil, Luan Lacerda made the most of it locking in a second-round heel hook. His last loss came in 2014, so it’s clear Lacerda has improved vastly being on a 9-fight win streak currently. If the UFC doesn’t scrap him up anytime soon, then PFL should capitalize here. He’s young, talented, and doesn’t back down from a challenge.
Jose Alberto Quiñonez (31, 9-5 – Mexico)
Jose Alberto Quiñonez had a solid run after The Ultimate Fighter Latin American Season 1, going 5-4 under the promotion. Though he didn’t quite have the ending he’d like losing to the next generation of UFC talent (Nathaniel Wood, Sean O’Malley, Sean O’Malley), adding a veteran like Quiñonez would do great things for the 31-year-old. Maybe even give him that extra push for one last world title run. After bouncing back in his first fight post-UFC release against former UFC fighter, Andre Soukhamthath, becoming a free agency could just be the thing he needs to revitalize his career.