Who to Watch: PFL Challenger Series 2
Before we get into it, the card did take a hit and will be proceeding with only four fights. The promotion tried to get Brazilian Lucas Barbosa a fight, but it didn't work out. First, it was his original opponent Troy Green pulling out due to injury. Then his fight with Thomas Oswald was called off as well.
It was announced this week that Chris Mixan vs. Nathan Pierce was added to the card. Mixan has fought in MMA gloves, Boxing gloves, and even no gloves for Gamebred FC. Pierce is moving down from middleweight for this fight. He's the older guy at 29, but they are similar with MMA experience.
Mixan is 2-0 and Pierce is 3-1. Both these guys are fighters that could take the fight anywhere, but most likely will trade on the feet. Really, this is a filler fight on the card considering some of the talent that fight following these two. In terms of who should win, Mixan has more of an upside and is a bit more well-rounded.
The best fight on the card by far is Dilano Taylor going against Mark Martin who both have a 7-1 record. Taylor is the current Titan FC welterweight champion. A title he won last May and defended last December. Taylor is a product out of Sanford MMA, he is someone I have high praise for. His one sole loss as a pro was to Bellator’s Roman Faraldo, a big prospect in his own right, so there’s no shame in that.
Martin is a wrestler who was a Fila Junior National Championship, a two-time Ohio High School State Champion, and a three-time D1 National Qualifier for Ohio State University. Martin trains out of the MMA Lab with a ton of high-level fighters to sharpen up his game. It's a very interesting fight that could go a lot of ways. Taylor is the better striker and Martin is the better wrestler, but with that said Taylor edged Martin in endurance.
Last year LFA went to Brazil for the first time in promotional history. They held a one-night four-man welterweight tournament to crown a new welterweight champion. The one to come out on top was Curitiba, Parana's Carlos Leal. Leal who is 14-3 hasn't lost a fight since 2014 and is on an eight-fight win streak. He's fighting a 36-year-old Socrates Pierre with a mid 12-6 record. Although he doesn't have the best record, he's been a solid test for guys on the regional scene looking to breakthrough. Leal has already beat better guys so he shouldn't have a problem. But his awkward style may have the celebrity panel looking another way...
We got a fight between two "rookies", a fight between two up-and-coming prospects, a Brazilian looking to get his first win on US soil, and of course, we got a squash match. To his credit, Michael Lilly trains out of a good gym in MMA Masters and before his latest defeat, he won four in a row. But in the bold, he's 7-6, already 32-years-old, and fighting someone with a 16-3 record.
That 16-3 record belongs to Jarrah Hussein Al-Silawi the "Jordanian Lion". Al-Silawi is the former or maybe the current Brave CF welterweight champion. Al-Silawi is good everywhere and should be in control of this entire fight. It's a fight set up for him and it will look like it too.
It's hard not to see Al-Silawi not winning the contract. He's the best fighter on the card and has the easiest fight. I believe his only competition of beating him out of the contract is Carlos Leal because he has more of a chance of scoring that big knockout. With that said, Al-Silawi likely gets this fight over quickly and that should be enough.