SIX WORLD TITLE FIGHTS OFFICIAL FOR 2018 PFL CHAMPIONSHIP AS ALL 12 FINALISTS MAKE WEIGHT FOR $10M SEASON FINALE
TWO-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST KAYLA HARRISON AND MORIEL CHARNESKI ALSO ON WEIGHT FOR THEIR LIGHTWEIGHT SPECIAL FEATURE FIGHT
The Professional Fighters League will ring in the New Year with a seven-bout card that will crown six new world champions and close out the historic first season. All 14 fighters hit their mark on the scale and the event was giving the green light by the New York State Athletic Commission. The six winners in the title fights will take home the PFL title and a $1 million championship check.
Top-seeded juggernaut Ray Cooper III will look to continue his dominance when he faces off with Magomed Magomedkerimov for the welterweight title. Both fighters went 4-0 over the regular season and playoffs with the Hawaiian slugger needing just over eight minutes to finish all four of his opponents. His Russian counterpart took two bouts by stoppage and two by decision.
Philipe Lins and Josh Copeland will duel for the heavyweight title after taking dissimilar paths to the finals. Lins went undefeated to earn his place while Copland, the number eight-seed, was on the bubble and just snuck into the playoffs. He then fought twice in the playoffs to secure his spot opposite Lins.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert Vinny Magalhaes and PFL broadcaster/fighter Sean O’Connell will duke it out for the light heavyweight belt in an old-fashioned style vs. style matchup. Magalhaes has a clear advantage if the fight hits the mat while O’Connell’s striking power tips the scales in his favor while standing.
In a special feature fight Kayla Harrison will meet Moriel Charneski in a 155-pound matchup. The bout will be a prelude to the introduction of the women’s lightweight division for the 2019 PFL Season. Harrison is looking to keep her record perfect and continue to build her MMA career after transitioning from Judo.
Brazilian Natan Schulte and his opponent Rashid Magomedov from Dagestan, Russia have been training partners in the past at American Top Team in Florida. They will now square off with a world title and $1 million at stake in the PFL lightweight division.
The featherweight title bout will be a rematch from November 2017 when Lance Palmer took a decision over Steven Siler at PFL: Fight Night. Siler is looking for revenge and the first major title of his career while Palmer is looking to cement himself as one of the best featherweights in the world.
Middleweights Abus Magomedov and Louis Taylor will kick off the event in what will be a battle of top seeds. The middleweight winner will be the first PFL Champion minted.
“These fighters showed the professionalism we value so greatly by making championship weight for our stacked New Year’s Eve event,” said PFL President Ray Sefo. “These 12 fighters have proved they belong here by making their way through the regular season, winning two fights in one night during the playoffs and now have a chance to take home the PFL belt and $1 million and we can’t wait to crown our new champs.”
The 2018 PFL Championship will be held at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City and will be broadcast on NBCSN beginning at 7 p.m. local time. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at TicketMaster.com or the Madison Square Garden box office.
Welterweight World Title:
Ray Cooper III – 169.6
Magomed Magomedkerimov – 169.8
Heavyweight World Title:
Philipe Lins – 234.8
Josh Copeland – 257
Light Heavyweight World Title:
Vinny Magalhaes – 204.2
Sean O’Connell – 204.2
Lightweight Special Feature Fight:
Kayla Harrison – 155.2
Moriel Charneski – 155
Lightweight World Title Fight:
Natan Schulte – 154
Rashid Magomedov – 154
Featherweight World Title Fight:
Steve Siler – 144.8
Lance Palmer – 144.4
Middleweight World Title Fight:
Abus Magomedov – 184.00
Louis Taylor – 183.6