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It's PFL vs. Bellator on Friday night. Here's what to look out for
No UFC this weekend, but we’ve got a rare PFL vs. Bellator head-to-head matchup this evening, which is very fun. And, if you combine both cards together, there’s a nice mix of fights.
Here are the fights you need to look out for:
PFL: Rory MacDonald vs. Ray Cooper III — This is the most intriguing fight of the night. No doubt. Cooper is always fun, hits supremely hard, has won three in a row, and is the defending PFL welterweight king. MacDonald is 1-1 in PFL and coming off a total robbery loss to Gleison Tibau. Curious to see how he bounces back. Winner advances in the PFL playoffs, so the stakes are big.
Bellator: Gegard Mousasi (c) vs. John Salter — Always a treat watching Mousasi, a combat legend, fight, and while Salter isn’t exactly his sexiest opponent of late, he has won eight of nine and three in a row. This one is for the Bellator middleweight title.
PFL: Clay Collard vs. Raush Manfio — I don’t live by a lot of rules in life but one I definitely do follow is, if Clay Collard is fighting — in boxing or MMA — I’m watching. I just really love his workman-like blue-collar style. I also think he’s one of the best boxers in the sport. His win over Anthony Pettis earlier this year is one of my favorite fights of 2021, so far. Manfio is also coming off a win over Pettis. This is a lightweight semi-final, by the way.
Speaking of Collard, this is a great piece on him:
Bellator: Magomed Magomedov vs. Raufeon Stots — These two may not be household names, but they are very much worth your time. Magomedov is 18-1 (2-0 in Bellator) and Stots is 15-1 (4-0 in Bellator). The winner could easily be next for new bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis.
PFL: Magomed Magomedkerimov vs. Sadibou Sy — Sy is one of the best strikers on the PFL roster, but has been up and down so far. Magomedkerimov is a force who hasn’t lost in six years and has won 12 in a row. Tough matchup for Sy, but one I’ll be watching for sure. I also hope they don’t call him Mago-Millions on the broadcast because I’m tired of that name. (I do really enjoy the PFL broadcast team, though. All love!)
Hono(u)rable mention: Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Darrell Horcher. Two former UFC fighters going at it in PFL, and we all know I gotta shoutout “THE Canadian Gangster.”
Side note: After going dark in 2020 due to the pandemic, PFL has had a really strong 2021. Their production is fresh, their aforementioned broadcast team is top notch (Sean O’Connell doesn’t get enough credit for his transition from fighter to play-by-play guy, which is very rare in fighting, let alone in sports, period) and the matchups have been solid. I’m still not sold on the sustainability of the playoff format, but for now, with so much MMA out there, they are a nice counter-balance to the usual stuff we get each and every week.
Enjoy the fights.
You watching tonight? Any fights/fighters I missed? Drop your picks below, and please free to use the comment section as a spot to chat tonight while the action is going on. It’s safe and positive and friendly here. Promise!