PFL 5: MacDonald vs. Tibau Preview

Welterweight and light heavyweight PFL fighters will get their last chance to score regular season points on Thursday, competing on an event at the Oceans Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Sitting atop the 10-fight card is a fight between former Bellator champ Rory MacDonald and veteran Gleison Tibau.

Here’s a full preview of the show.

Click here to skip to a preview of the main card.

Preliminary Card (5:30PM EDT) (ESPN+ / TSN GO)

Bout 1: Sadibou Sy (8-5-2) vs. Alexey Kunchenko (20-2) (Welterweight)

Former UFC Fighter and M-1 Champion Alexey Kunchenko will make his PFL debut in the opening fight of the card, taking on Sadibou Sy in a welterweight bout.

Kunchenko was first set to appear on a PFL card earlier this year against Gleison Tibau, although he was later pulled from the card. He will be fighting to break a two-fight losing streak that developed at the end of his UFC run.

Sy’s first fight of the season ended in an unsatisfying fashion, as an eye poke called a no contest end to his bout against Nikolay Aleksakhin. The result of the fight earned each fighter one point in the standings.

Bout 2: Tom Lawlor (10-8) vs. Jordan Young (11-1) (Light Heavyweight)

Former Bellator fighter Jordan Young will make his first PFL appearance when facing Tom Lawlor at light heavyweight.

Young had a strong run in Bellator fighting seven times from 2017 to 2019. His run came to end after he took his first pro loss to Julius Anglickas in 2019.

Lawlor had a tough loss in his last appearance, losing to fellow former UFC fighter Antonio Carlos Junior in the first round due to a guillotine choke. The fight moved his losing streak to three consecutive.

Bout 3: Magomed Magomedkerimov (27-5) vs. Curtis Millender (18-7) (Welterweight)

2018 PFL Welterweight Champion Magomed Magomedkerimov will start his 2021 season with a fight against Curtis Millender on Thursday.

Magomedkerimov has been undefeated since joining the PFL. The 31-year-old came close to becoming a two-time champ in 2019, although illness forced him out of a grand final bout against Ray Cooper III that year.

Millender will be looking to snap a two-fight losing streak. The former UFC and Bellator fighter competed in the main event of a card in April, getting finished within a round by Rory MacDonald.

Bout 4: Joao Zeferino (25-9) vs. Jason Ponet (20-13-1) (Welterweight)

PFL vet Joao Zeferino will fight Jason Ponet in the next bout on the prelims.

Zeferino had a solid start to his season in April, defeating veteran Gleison Tibau on scorecards. The fight was his fourth consecutive win in a streak that dates back to 2018.

Ponet suffered a quick loss in his PFL debut earlier this year, getting submitted in the second minute by 2019 champ Ray Cooper III.

Bout 5: Marthin Hamlet (7-1) vs. Cory Hendricks (7-3) (Light Heavyweight)

Another PFL newcomer will appear on the prelims when Cory Hendricks faces Marthin Hamlet.

Hendricks, a finalist in Season 23 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” is entering the PFL with a solid record of seven wins and three losses.

Hamlet scored five points in his first PFL appearance, catching Dan Spohn early in the second round with an arm triangle choke.

Bout 6: Antonio Carlos Junior (11-5) vs. Vinny Magalhaes (19-12) (Light Heavyweight)

Coming off a strong win in his last fight, former UFC competitor Antonio Carlos Junior will face Vinny Magalhaes in the final bout of the prelims.

Carlos Junior snapped a three-fight skid in April with a first-round guillotine choke submission of Tom Lawlor. The fight was his first appearance outside of the UFC since 2014.

Magalhaes will be kicking off his third season in PFL with the fight on Thursday. He has attained a record of five wins and three losses in the promotion before and been a finalist in the 2018 season.

Main Card (9:00PM EDT) (ESPN 2 / TSN 5)

Bout 7: Cezar Ferreria (14-8) vs. Chris Camozzi (25-15) (Light Heavyweight)

After scoring one of the quickest wins of the season earlier this year, Cezar Ferreira will face Chris Camozzi in his second appearance of the year.

Ferreira, a former UFC fighter, needed only 37 seconds to stop Nick Roehrick with strikes in April. The win gave him six wins in the PFL and snapped a two-fight losing streak.

Camozzi didn’t have as fortunate of a first fight of the year, dropping a unanimous decision to Emiliano Sordi after a close three-round fight.

Bout 8: Emiliano Sordi (23-8) vs. Dan Spohn (18-8) (Light Heavyweight)

2019 champ Emiliano Sordi will fight to attain his second win of the year when facing Dan Spohn on the main card. As mentioned in the preview of the fight before, Sordi opened up his season with a decision win against Chris Camozzi. The close victory extended his win streak to six consecutive.

Spohn will be fighting to snap a three-fight losing streak. Along with losses he took in the two previous PFL seasons, Spohn was submitted in April against Marthin Hamlet.

Bout 9: Ray Cooper III (21-7-1) vs. Nikolay Aleksakhin (26-5) (Welterweight)

2019 champ Ray Cooper III will fight to continue his reputation of quick finish wins when facing Nikolay Aleksakhin in the co-main event.

Cooper III had a strong win in his first fight of the season, stopping Jason Ponet in the second round with an arm triangle choke. The win was the 21st finish victory of his career and kept him away from judge’s scorecards – something he has only faced twice in his career.

Aleksakhin was awarded one sole point in April, as an eye poke in the second round forced his bout against Sadibou Sy to end via no contest. Prior to then, Aleksakhin had built up an impressive seven-fight win streak that includes a 2019 appearance in the PFL.

Bout 10: Rory MacDonald (22-6-1) vs. Gleison Tibau (34-15) (Welterweight)

In the main event for the second time since joining the PFL, former Bellator champ Rory MacDonald will fight Gleison Tibau in a welterweight contest.

MacDonald finished a fellow former UFC fighter in his PFL debut earlier this year, submitting Curtis Millender in the fourth minute with a rear naked choke. He now has the chance to defeat another former UFC fighter in Tibau.

Tibau lost his first bout of the year to Joao Zeferino in April. The bout was his first appearance in MMA since 2019, where he defeated Will Brooks.

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