The 2019 PFL Championships are finally here and the card is stacked with six title fights.
PFL makes its way to New York to crown six champions on New Years Eve. The card will be headlined by crowning the first-ever women’s lightweight champion and will also feature Brendan Loughnane in a featured bout.
Below are the staff predictions for the final PFL card of the season.
????: Ryan Loco
Ali Isaev (#5) vs. Jared Rosholt (#7) – Heavyweight Championship
Isaev is undefeated as a professional, and made his PFL debut in 2019. His regular season saw two decision wins that earned him a spot in the playoffs. In the playoffs he made a name for himself when he defeated the #1 seeded Denis Goltsov by TKO just before time expired in the fight.
Goltsov started his 2019 by defeating Rosholt. I believe that the win over the common opponent gives Isaev the advantage in this fight.
Unanimous Pick: Ali Isaev
Lancer Palmer (#1) vs. Alex Gilpin (#4) – Featherweight Championship
Palmer has had a firm grip on this division since the PFL began. He may not have lost a round in the PFL as he has elite wrestling that separates him from the field. Fans have seen his striking improve and he has not leaned on his wrestling as much this season.
The worry here is that he could get too comfortable with his striking. There was much chaos in this division with fight changes due to injury and disciplinary action. Palmer will face Gilpin again, who he has had success against in past fights. Gilpin has 3 career losses, 2 of which have come to Palmer.
“The Party” should continue his roll and cash in on another big pay day.
Unanimous Pick: Lance Palmer
Natan Schutle (#1) vs. Loik Radzhabov (#7) – Lightweight Championship
Shulte has had a similar reign to that of Palmer. He has yet to lose, and will be looking to repeat as champion this year. His ground game is advanced, and he has the ability to submit everyone on the roster. He loves the rear backed choke, and there is no reason to expect a different result here with this fight.
Unanimous Pick: Natan Schutle
David Michaud (#4) vs. Ray Cooper III (#6) – Welterweight Championship
Joel: This is a tough one, as I’m sure not many expected these two to be here. Especially Cooper, with how he lost to John Howard. But that’s the PFL for you, you can lose and still find yourself fighting for $1million. I have a feeling Cooper will come out more relaxed, not letting this second opportunity go to waste. I think he utilizes some wrestling and gets the TKO win here to finally claim the welterweight title.
Pick: Ray Cooper III
Rags: I’m stuck in a love/hate with Cooper. I have predicted every one of his fights incorrectly. Beginning with his fight in the championship last season. He has a shot at redemption this year, but Michaud is a serious threat. Since his loss to Sadibou Sy at the start of this season, Michaud has been on a roll. He is the embodiment of fighter, and will not give up. If he tries to stand up with Cooper, he could be in for trouble. Michaud loves to stand and fight, so this may be the fight to watch on NYE. Two brawlers standing until there is only one left, and I think it will be Michaud.
Pick: David Michaud
Kayla Harrison (#2) vs. Larisa Pacheco – Women’s Lightweight Championship
Harrison is supposed to be the face of the lightweight division for the PFL. She has been impressive thus far, but this is no easy test. The pressure is definitely on when you’re fighting for $1 million. Pacheco gave Harrison her hardest test as a pro in MMA so far. The two faced off at the beginning of the season, with the result being a decision win for Harrison.
We expect a similar result here, but don’t think for a second that Pacheco will just roll over.
Unanimous Pick: Kayla Harrison
Emiliano Sordi (#1) vs. Jordan Johnson (#7) – Light Heavyweight Championship
Sordi and Johnson have had 2 different seasons. Sordi has finished every fighter he has stepped inside the PFL cage with. He mixed in both submissions and KOs on his 2019 resume, and no one could handle what he brought to the fight. Each of Johnson’s wins came in a decision in 2019. Johnson lost to start the 2019 season but came back with a win in his next match, and found himself in the playoffs.
Sordi is on fire, and he will continue his hot streak to finish out the year with a big cash out.
Unanimous Pick: Emiliano Sordi