Photo: PFL MMA
With the Professional Fighters League set to get back into the action in just a couple of weeks, two fan-favorite weight classes will kick off the 2021 season.
Although the higher weights are full of big knockouts and incredible fights, featherweight and lightweight are two divisions that tend to capture the hearts of fight fans. At 145 and 155 respectively, the cardio is high, the output is insane, and the matchups have some serious potential to make something special.
What better way is there to kick off the 2021 PFL season? Although no one can foresee what the best matchups will be yet, there's a lot of promising potential for PFL's big re-opening.
After taking 2020 off due to COVID-19, there is a lot of buzz around the promotion’s return.
“PFL is excited to be back on ESPN to showcase our MMA 2.0 product featuring returning champions, new star signings, and next-generation SmartCage technology Innovation,” PFL CEO Peter Murray said in a press release. “Our six regular-season events will be staged at the world-class Ocean Casino Resort where we’ve held successful events in the past. The property has all of the necessary amenities to support our athletes in a bubble environment to ensure their safety as it relates to COVID-19.”
The bubble over in Atlantic City will house some of the best fighters in the world, starting with the lightweights and featherweights.
On April 23, both sets of weight class fighters will face off in their first of two regular-season bouts.
Headlining the event is one of the most well-known and prestigious fighters in the promotion’s history. Former UFC Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis signed with PFL following his departure from the UFC. This was a highly publicized signing that helped move PFL into the mainstream.
“Not only is Anthony a transcendent athlete within the sport of MMA, but he is also an innovator in the cage who is known for his charismatic fighting style and determination to win,” Murray said in a press release. “I am confident that Anthony will bring that ‘wow’ factor into every matchup he participates in over the course of our season format, and we’re excited for him to join the PFL family.”
His promotional debut will be the main event of this card against former UFC fighter turned boxer Clay Collard. Collard has not been in an MMA event since 2019 but has been a very active boxer since then.
Some other notable fighters on the card include 2019 PFL Featherweight champion Lance Palmer, 20-3-1 Lightweight Natan Schulte, and many more fierce competitors.
PFL 1 will feature two of the six total weight classes highlighted this season. Before the heavier weight classes go at it, we will see the men’s lightweights and featherweights look to kick off the season on a good note.
The action can be seen on ESPN on April 23 at 5:30 EST.