Get ready for the highly anticipated showdown between PFL and Bellator champions!
The first-ever PFL vs. Bellator event is happening on Feb. 24 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. You can catch all the action on ESPN+ pay-per-view as part of the PFL's super fight series. The announcement came on Tuesday, following an initial report by Ariel Helwani.
The event will feature four champion vs. champion matches, each lasting three rounds of five minutes. Even though the PFL and Bellator titles won't be up for grabs, it's sure to be an exciting event. Here's a twist: elbows, usually not allowed during the PFL season, are permitted for this special occasion.
“The Middle East is the fight capital of the world, and the Professional Fighters League is proud to bring the world’s best combat sports stars to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Riyadh Season to host the first-ever PFL PPV Super Fight mega-global event,” PFL CEO Peter Murray said in a statement. “PFL Champions versus Bellator Champions is game changing for fighters and fans.”
Other crossover PFL vs. Bellator fights will take place, as well. Below is a full list of the fights scheduled to go down at the first PFL vs. Bellator event.
Renan Ferreira vs. Ryan Bader
Ryan Bader (31-7) became the Bellator heavyweight champ by winning the grand prix in 2019 and hasn't lost it since. He grabbed the title by knocking out Fedor Emelianenko, also making him a two-division champion with the Bellator light heavyweight title. Right now, he only holds the heavyweight title. The 40-year-old is on a three-fight winning streak and hasn't been beaten in the heavyweight division.
Renan Ferreira (12-3) claimed the 2023 PFL heavyweight title last November. He's got 11 finishes in his 12 victories. Just like Bader, Ferreira is on a three-fight winning streak. His only loss in the PFL was against Ante Delija in 2022.
Impa Kasanganay vs. Johnny Eblen
Johnny Eblen (14-0) stands out as one of the top Bellator fighters today. Holding the 185-pound title, he's never been defeated in his MMA career. Eblen has conquered the best in his division at Bellator, including a victory over veteran Gegard Mousasi to grab the Bellator middleweight title in 2022. Since then, he's successfully defended it twice.
Impa Kasanganay (15-3), a former UFC fighter, joined the PFL in 2023 and clinched the season that year. With three back-to-back wins and a victory over Josh Silveira in the final last November, he secured both the PFL light heavyweight title and a $1 million prize. Kasanganay is moving down to middleweight to face Eblen.
Jesus Pinedo vs. Patricio Freire
Patricio Freire (35-7) is widely respected on the Bellator roster, possibly the most respected name. Not too long ago, he held both the featherweight and lightweight titles, making him a two-division champion. Presently, he's the champion at 145 pounds. In 2023, Freire faced challenges, going 0-2 and then dealing with an injury. He lost to Sergio Pettis in June in his bid for the Bellator bantamweight title and experienced a surprising knockout by Chihiro Suzuki at a Rizin event in Japan.
Jesus Pinedo (23-6-1), a former UFC fighter, created one of the biggest surprises in PFL history. The Peruvian defeated Brenadan Loughnane, Bubba Jenkins, and Gabriel Braga to secure the 2023 PFL featherweight title. His current record is 7-1 in his past eight fights. Pinedo's only loss during that time was against Braga, but he later avenged it.
Magomed Magomedkerimov vs. Jason Jackson
Jason Jackson (17-4) pulled off a surprising win last November, securing the Bellator welterweight title with a third-round knockout against Yaroslav Amosov. Jackson, who trains at Kill Cliff, is impressively riding a seven-fight winning streak. During this streak, he defeated big names like Amosov, Douglas Lima, Paul Daley, Neiman Gracie, and Benson Henderson.
Magomed Magomedkerimov (35-6) is a force in PFL welterweight. He won two seasons, one in 2018 and another in 2023. In November, he submitted Sadibou Sy to claim the 2023 PFL welterweight title. Currently, he's on a remarkable 19-1 run, with his only loss coming against Ray Cooper III in 2021.
Yoel Romero, A.J. McKee, Aaron Pico, Claressa Shields round out card
Here is the complete lineup for PFL vs. Bellator Champions:
MAIN CARD (ESPN+ pay-per-view, 3 p.m. ET)
- Renan Ferreira vs. Ryan Bader
- Impa Kasanganay vs. Johnny Eblen
- Magomed Magomedkerimov vs. Jason Jackson
- Jesus Pinedo vs. Patricio Pitbull
- Bruno Cappelozza vs. Vadim Nemkov – Heavyweight
- Thiago Santos vs. Yoel Romero – Light heavyweight
- Clay Collard vs. AJ McKee – Lightweight
PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN+, ESPNews, 12:30 p.m. ET)
- Gabriel Braga vs. Aaron Pico – Featherweight
- Biaggio Ali Walsh (pro debut) vs. Chris Morris – Featherweight
- Claressa Shields vs. Kelsey DeSantis
- Abdullah Al-Qahtani vs. Edukondal Rao
- Malik Basahel vs. Vinicius Pereira