The Professional Fighters League is the hot new thing in the world of MMA. This is the first promotion to feature a regular season and a playoff to determine the champion of each division. The PFL is featuring six championship fights on New Years Eve at Madison Square Garden at the Hulu Theater at 7 pm ET on the NBC Sports Network. The PFL is already setting up for next year and adding more fighters into the mix for their second season, which is supposed to kick off in May 2019.
This design is different from the typical MMA format with winners scoring 3 points, and bonus points added for finishing fights. First round finishes earn fighters an extra 3 points, second round finishes earn an extra 2 points, and third round finishes earn 1 extra point. This sets up clear power rankings based on scores, and not head-to-head fighter matchups that determine rankings in other promotions. If you win your fights, and if you win fast, you move up in the rankings with no politics involved behind the scenes trying to weigh fights to determine who ranks where.
With an exciting night to take place, here are a couple fights to keep your eye on.
The fights to watch at the PFL Championships
Kayla Harrison vs Moriel Charneski
Vinny Magalhaes vs Sean O’Connell
O’Connell was recently in a battle where he was badly hurt, but decided to show off his heart and go down swinging. Having that kind of power, and the go down swinging mentality, is when you swing you may connect. O’Connell was fading and was maybe on shot away from his night being ended, when he connected with a hook and dropped his opponent, pouncing on top to ensure the finish while he may not have even been fully recovered himself. He was also commentating in the same night that he was scheduled to fight, this is a madman. What Vinny Magalhaes does, is use his world class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has shown the ability to hurt people on the feet, but he is in an elite class when it comes to his ground game, and it is not somewhere fighters should look to end up. O’Connell has shown it only takes one punch for him to put you on the canvas, so Magalhaes should probably look to take this one to the canvas before he gets put there.
Abus Magomedov vs Louis Taylor
Ray Cooper III vs Magomed Magomedkerimov
Steven Siler vs Lance Palmer. These two actually have history as Palmer beat Siler back in 2017 via unanimous decision. Siler was put into deep waters in his first fight in the PFL by taking a shot right on the chin, that put him right on his back. It looked like he was off to a tough start in the PFL, but he was able to recover quickly, and trap his opponent in a triangle choke to steal the win. Palmer has gone through the PFL in a breeze and looks to continue on his way to the grand prize. He has excellent wrestling and looks to make an interesting matchup on the ground for these two in a rematch.