PFL will conclude the first phase of their regular season on Friday night with an 11-bout card from the eSports Stadium in Arlington, Texas, USA. In the main event, two-time PFL Lightweight Champion Kayla Harrison will start her third season with the promotion in a fight against Marina Mokhnatkina.
Here’s a preview of the entire card.
Preliminary Card (5:30PM EDT / 4:30PM CDT) (ESPN+ / TSN Direct)
Bout 1: Vanessa Melo (11-8) vs. Martina Jindrova (4-2) (Lightweight)
Former UFC fighter Vanessa Melo will make her PFL debut in the opening bout on Friday, facing Martina Jindrova.
Melo fought on UFC’s bantamweight roster from 2019 to 2021. She left the promotion after scoring one win and three losses. That sole UFC victory was her last fight, which she earned over Sarah Moras.
Jindrova is joining the PFL roster after competing on their “Challenger Series” earlier this year. On that show, she beat Jacqueline Cavalcanti via split decision.
Bout 2: Olena Kolesnyk (5-4) vs. Abby Montes (3-0) (Lightweight)
Competing in her first full PFL season, Abby Montes will face Olena Kolesnyk.
Montes joined the PFL roster last year, competing in a non-tournament fight. In that matchup she handed boxer Claressa Shields her first MMA loss, prevailing in a split decision result.
Montes has earned three victories since turning pro in 2019.
Kolesnyk is returning for her second PFL run. She was unsuccessful in the 2021 season, getting eliminated after suffering two losses in the regular season.
Bout 3: Gleison Tibau (36-15) vs. Jarrah Al-Silawi (17-3) (Welterweight)
PFL newcomer Jarrah Al-Silawi will start his season against Gleison Tibau.
Al-Silawi scored a “Challenger Series” contract in February, earning a first-round finish win against Michael Lilly. This came after an extensive run with Brave CF, which saw him as a champion for numerous appearances.
Tibau fought in the regular season last year, not qualifying for the playoffs after earning just three points. He most notably scored a controversial split decision victory over Rory MacDonald.
Bout 4: Sadibou Sy (9-6-2) vs. Nikolay Aleksakhin (26-6) (Welterweight)
PFL veteran Sadibou Sy will meet Nikolay Aleksakhin in a rematch on Friday night.
Sy and Aleksakhin first met in the 2021 PFL season. Their fight came to an end in the second round due to an unintentional eye poke, forcing the bout to have a no-contest result.
Both fighters had a tough going last year in general. Aleksakhin’s other fight in the regular season saw him lose on scorecards against Ray Cooper III. Sy lost to Magomed Magomedkerimov that year as well.
Bout 5: Genah Fabian (4-2) vs. Julia Budd (16-3) (Lightweight)
Former Bellator Featherweight Champion Julia Budd will start her first-ever PFL run on the prelims against Genah Fabian.
Budd was a Bellator fighter from 2015 to 2021. In this time she became their 145-pound champ, defending her belt three times before dropping the title in 2020 to Cris Cyborg. She won her PFL debut in a non-tournament fight last year, beating Kaitlin Young on scorecards.
Fabian was a semi-finalist in the 2021 season, entering the bracket with a strong eight points from the regular season. She took a quick loss in the playoffs to Kayla Harrison, getting stopped in the first round with strikes.
Bout 6: Joao Zeferino (26-9) vs. Dilano Taylor (8-1) (Welterweight)
The prelims are set to wrap up with a fight between Joao Zeferino and Dilano Taylor.
Taylor took the fight on short notice, stepping in to replace Magomed Magomedkerimov. Taylor is an experienced welterweight with eight wins and one loss. He has mostly fought for Titan FC, but also appeared on the most recent “Challenger Series” show hosted by PFL.
Zeferino had a strong PFL regular season last year, scoring two wins. However, his year stopped there, as he withdrew from his semi-final bout later.
Main Card (9:00PM EDT / 8:00PM CDT) (ESPN2 / TSN 2)
Bout 7: Larissa Pacheco (15-4) vs. Zamzagul Fayzallanova (7-1) (Lightweight)
Larissa Pacheco’s third climb towards a PFL title will kick off the main card, as she will face lightweight Zamzagul Fayzallanova.
Pacheco picked up two first-round finish wins in the regular season last year, giving her a massive 12 points for the playoffs. However, that playoff opportunity never came. Due to missing weight for her semi-final fight against Taylor Guardado, she was eliminated from the bracket in 2021. She’ll have a chance to get to that point again, starting this weekend.
Fayzallanova is entering PFL on a four-fight winning streak from 2017 to 2021, albeit against low-level competition. Some fighters she faced had no wins on their record at the time, and others had zero fights.
Fayzallanova’s most notable win is a 2016 victory over Liana Jojua, who went on to have a short stint in the UFC.
Bout 8: Rory MacDonald (22-8-1) vs. Brett Cooper (28-15) (Welterweight)
Bellator and UFC vet Rory MacDonald will return for his second PFL season on Friday, facing Brett Cooper.
MacDonald secured a playoff spot early in the 2021 season, submitting Curtis Millender in the first round of a bout to earn six points. He later lost in the semi-finals of the tournament, dropping a decision to Ray Cooper III.
Cooper’s sole fight in the PFL last year saw him score a first-round finish victory over Tyler Hill.
Bout 9: Anthony Pettis (24-12) vs. Myles Price (11-7) (Lightweight)
In the sole men’s lightweight fight on Friday night, Anthony Pettis and Myles Price will compete. This fight was first booked for the promotion’s April 20th card but ended up getting moved to this event.
Pettis, a former UFC fighter, struggled in his first PFL season. After losing in the regular season against Clay Collard and Raush Manfio, he didn’t qualify for the playoffs. He’ll attempt to have a better year in 2022, starting on Friday.
Price will be making his PFL debut in the fight. His most recent fight was in early 2019, so he’s breaking quite a long absence with the booking on Friday. His last bout was on a Bellator card, where he beat Peter Queally via split decision.
Bout 10: Ray Cooper III (24-7-1) vs. Carlos Leal (16-3) (Welterweight)
Returning after winning his first PFL title last year, Ray Cooper III will meet Carlos Leal.
Cooper III had a flawless 2021 season, scoring four wins between the regular season and the playoffs. He avenged a 2018 loss in his grand final bout, securing a third-round finish win against Magomed Magomedkerimov.
Cooper III’s chances of having a flawless season have already come to an end this year. While he’s expected to fight Friday, he missed weight for his bout by five-and-a-half pounds on Thursday. Because of this, he was deducted one point in the standings and won’t be able to earn any points during his fight this weekend.
Leal, a former LFA Welterweight Champion, is joining the season after fighting twice on the PFL “Challenger Series” earlier this year.
Bout 11: Kayla Harrison (12-0) vs. Marina Mokhnatkina (6-2) (Lightweight)
Undefeated two-time PFL Lightweight Champion Kayla Harrison will face Marina Mokhnatkina in the main event.
Harrison earned a championship in PFL’s 2019 and 2021 seasons. She notably scored four consecutive finish wins last year, with her longest fight just touching the fifth minute of the second round. After having a short free agency period earlier this year, Harrison is back with the PFL and attempting to keep her perfect record intact.
Mokhnatkina is fighting in her first regular season PFL fight on Friday night. She won her promotional debut last year, defeating Claudia Zamora in a non-tournament bout. Before then, she appeared on a Bellator card and beat Amanda Bell.
The year is new, but the story is the same: Who, if anyone, can beat Harrison?