After taking off a year, the Professional Fighters League is set to make its return to action. With a roster filled with fighters and major TV deals taken care of, the PFL has what it takes to entertain coming into 2021.
There were some major narratives heading into the latest season. Several stars are looking to continue their momentum while others will look to make an immediate impact. Here are some of the top topics to think about when discussing the future of the PFL.
Can anyone take down Kayla Harrison?
Since making her MMA debut in 2018, Kayla Harrison has been a dominant force in the PFL. 3-0 in 2018, Harrison came in as the true favorite when the lightweight division opened up and didn’t disappoint. Although we never got to see her vs. Sarah Kauffman, and we might not again for a while, Harrison is building her profile against established fighters. Can she continue that run in 2021?
A notable face looking to finally take Harrison down is Larissa Pacheco. Pacheco lost to Harrison in the regular season via unanimous decision but took Harrison to the limit. Pacheco would later beat Kaufman and make her way to the finals. Now back and rejuvenated, will Pacheco have a chance to get some revenge?
The PFL ended up adding a few more female fighters that could be a problem for Harrison. One of the top names is Cindy Dandois. The 36-year-old freestyle wrestler has competed for Invicta, RIZIN, Bellator, and the UFC. Having faced tough competition in Megan Anderson, Alexis Davis, and Reina Miura, Dandois is on a four-fight win streak. Kickboxer Genah Fabian is also back, as well as the young Laura Sanchez.
Clay Collard: Two-sport superstar?
In March, Clay Collard signed with the PFL to compete in the lightweight division. Due to COVID canceling the season in 2020, Collard decided to take his skills back to the boxing ring. Making his boxing debut in 2017, Collard fought twice in 2020 before the pandemic. He then fought four times from June to December, going 3-1 with two knockouts. Collard is still hoping to box to go along with the PFL.
On a two-fight win streak in MMA and 4-1 in his last five fights, Collard may be the freshest out of all fighters competing. A former UFC star, Collard will try and bring his momentum from the ring to the cage.
New blood v. old blood
A lot of familiar faces will be making their return to the PFL. All major champions from Lance Palmer to Ray Cooper III will be ready to defend their titles as of now. You also have David Michaud, Magomed Magomedkerimov, and Jordan Johnson making their returns. The old guard will look to secure their spot and make sure the shiny new toys don’t take over.
Several fighters competing for the first time in the PFL are a who’s who of athletes. You have former UFC Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum, RIZIN and UFC star Johnny Case, former UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis, MMA and pro wrestling star Tom Lawlor, and Rory MacDonald. The big names have helped put a bigger spotlight on the PFL. Will they end up impressing fans right away?
With an exciting new lineup of fighters, it will be interesting to see how both sides can transition to change. Fans will also be hoping for some dream fights, like Cooper vs. MacDonald.
The PFL is set to return on April 23 on ESPN+ and ESPN.