The welterweight bout between MacDonald and Michaud is set to headline the second event held by the PFL in their 2021 season, which is scheduled for April 29th. The event will feature 10 fights on the card.
A heavyweight bout between Werdum and Renan Ferreira has been announced as PFL’s third event which is scheduled for May 6th. The event will also feature 10 fights on the card.
The Professional Fighters League
Before we get onto the fighters, here’s a bit more on the Professional Fighters League.
The PFL is an American MMA league founded in 2018, following the acquisition of the former World Series of Fighting (WSOF) promotion in 2017. It is the first major MMA organization in which individual athletes compete in a regular season, post-season, and championship, rather than the other promotions, who fight on a year-round basis.
Now, the point system can be quite confusing so make sure to read it once or twice if you don’t understand: The PFL points system is based on the results of the match. The winner of a fight receives 3 points. If the fight ends in a draw, both fighters will receive 1 point. The bonus for winning a fight in the first, second, or third round is 3 points, 2 points, and 1 point respectively.
The bonus for winning in the third round requires a fight to be stopped before 4:59 of the third round. No bonus point will be awarded if a fighter wins via decision. A decision win will result in three total points. If a fighter misses weight, the opponent (should they comply with weight limits) will receive 3 points due to a walkover victory, regardless of winning or losing the bout; if the non-offending fighter subsequently wins with a stoppage, all bonus points will be awarded. The top eight in each division of 10 moves onto the playoffs.
The 2018 tournament held six divisions from featherweight to heavyweight. At the end of the season, of course, it ends with six champions, who were:
- Heavyweight: Philipe Lins
- Light Heavyweight: Sean O’Connell
- Middleweight: Louis Taylor
- Welterweight: Magomed Magomedkerimov
- Lightweight: Natan Schulte
- Featherweight: Lance Palmer
In the 2019 season, the PFL announced a women’s lightweight division, and they binned off the middleweight division. Lance Palmer and Natan Schulte retained their titles, whilst Kayla Harrison became the first Women’s Lightweight PFL Champion.
Ray Cooper III knocked out Michaud to become the Welterweight Champion. Argentinian Emiliano Sordi finished Jordan Johnson in the second round to become the Light Heavyweight Champion. Ali Isayev became the new Heavyweight Champion by knocking out Jared Rosholt.
Unfortunately, the 2020 season was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After signing MacDonald to the promotion, his debut would be delayed. For the 2021 season, they’ve added new stars to the roster, which has included the likes of former UFC stars Anthony Pettis and Werdum.
The 2021 season will hold six weight classes, including 10 fighters per weight class, equalling 60 fighters on the PFL roster.
PFL will hold their first event on April 23rd, with Pettis headlining the event in a lightweight bout against Clay Collard. You can see the full lineup for PFL 1 here. The promotion has announced six events in total, with only the lineups for the first three announced.
MacDonald and Michaud Headlines PFL 2
Rory “Red King” MacDonald (21-6, 0-0 PFL) will be making his promotional debut, as the “Red King” returns for his fight in 18 months when he makes the walk in April.
The Canadian made his professional debut at the age of 16. He won by submission in the first round against Terry Thiara. Macdonald was 9-0 when he was signed by the UFC from the promotion, King of the Cage. He debuted in 2010, beating Mike Guymon by submission in the first round.
MacDonald’s first loss came in his next bout against UFC veteran Carlos Condit, he was knocked out in the third round, but they were both awarded with a Fight of the Night bonus. Since then, MacDonald spent six more years in the UFC, competing against some of the best in the game. He beat the likes of Nate Diaz, B.J. Penn, Demian Maia, and Tyron Woodley.
He was ever so close to a Welterweight Championship after losing to Robbie Lawler the first time around, they then rematched for the belt. Another Fight of the Night for MacDonald, but no belt as he was knocked out in the final round in the messy brawl against Lawler at UFC 189.
In 2017, MacDonald made the move to Bellator, beating Paul Daley by rear-naked choke in his debut for the promotion. They offered him the title fight next against Douglas Lima, winning on unanimous decision to win the Bellator Welterweight World Championship.
It’s been quite a journey for MacDonald, as he stepped down a division next to fight Gegard Mousasi for the Bellator Middleweight World championship. He lost in the second round by TKO.
Stepping back up to Welterweight, he fought in Bellator’s Welterweight World Grand Prix making it to the final in a rematch against Lima. This time around, he was on the end of a defeat, losing on a unanimous decision and losing his welterweight belt.
MacDonald was then signed by the PFL for the 2020 season, but as stated before this was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
David “Bulldawg” Michaud (18-6, 3-2 PFL) is another fighter who’s been around the block in his MMA career.
The 32-year-old was unbeaten in his first seven professional fights, split across five different organizations. After his fourth fight, he made it onto the Ultimate Fighter 16, in 2012. Michaud appeared in the first episode and lost via submission against Eddy Ellis during the entry round.
He racked up three more wins, before being snapped up by the UFC in 2014, where they set him up to fight Li Jingliang at UFC 173. Michaud opened the event, where he lost his promotional debut by a split decision.
Michaud faced Garett Whiteley in his return, moving down to the lightweight division. He got his first win in the promotion by winning via unanimous decision.
A loss to Olivier Aubin-Mercier led to Michaud being released by the organization. Michaud moved around again, competing in the likes of Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA), before being signed up by Bellator, to only fight once in the promotion, knocking out Corey Davis inside the first round.
The PFL signed Michaud up for their 2019 season. In his first fight, he was knocked out to Sadibou Sy inside the first round. With the point system, Michaud needed a big victory in his next fight. And he did exactly that, knocking out Handesson Ferreira in the first round to get some extra points on the board and qualify for the PFL playoffs.
Two decision wins over John Howard and Glaico Franca, sent Michaud to the PFL Welterweight Final. A shot for Michaud to finally become a champion was left in ruins. He was knocked out inside the second round to Ray Cooper III.
The fight between MacDonald and Michaud has been named the main event, and the 2019 PFL Welterweight Champion Ray Cooper III faces Jason Ponet in the co-main event. You can the full PFL 2 lineup on their website.
Werdum and Ferreira Headlines PFL 3
Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum (24-9-1, 0-0 PFL) will be heading into the octagon at 43 years of age when he competes against Ferreira in May.
The Brazilian has had a wonderful career in the sport and has been competing professionally since the 16th of June 2002. Werdum competed in Pride and Submitted Alistair Overeem in his 10th fight.
In 2007, Werdum was signed by the UFC and faced veteran Andrei Arlovski in his first bout. He lost via unanimous decision. In his next two fights, he impressed with two knockouts over Gabriel Gonzaga and Brandon Vera.
A fourth loss came for Werdum when he faced another legend in the sport, Junior Dos Santos. A right uppercut just 1:20 into the first round was enough for JDS to knock Werdum to the ground, and finish him with the ground and pound.
Werdum moved to the promotion Strikeforce and after two victories he competed against one of the greatest mixed martial arts has ever seen. Werdum was the first person ever to submit the great Fedor Emelianenko, just over a minute into the first round!
A rematch came in his final bout in Strikeforce against Overeem. This time Werdum was dominated on the ground as Overeem was victorious winning by unanimous decision. Werdum then returned to the UFC in 2012.
He put in a Fight of the Night performance in his return against Roy Nelson, winning by unanmious decision. After a four-fight win-streak and beating Travis Browne in a heavyweight title eliminator, he faced Mark Hunt for the interim heavyweight title.
The Brazilian knocked out Hunt with a stunning flying knee to win the interim title. His next bout was for the real title. A matchup against another legend and one of the greatest ever heavyweights in Cain Velasquez. Werdum came and broke another record, by being the first person ever to submit Velasquez and hand him the second loss of his career. Werdum was the UFC Heavyweight Champion of the World.
It’s said defending your title is harder than winning it. In the next heavyweight title clash, Werdum faced Stipe Miocic. The fight didn’t even last a round, Miocic was victorious knocking out Werdum to win his first-ever UFC belt.
His career has been up and down since then winning four fights, but losing three also. In 2018, He was suspended from the UFC for two years for failing a USADA drug test. He returned in May 2020, to fight Aleksei Oleinik, losing by split decision.
Two months later, he fought his last fight in the promotion against Alexander Gustafsson. Werdum submitted the Swede in the first round and ended his fantastic career in the UFC on a high. On November 16, 2020, Werdum joined the PFL on a multi-fight deal.
Renan “Problema” Ferreira (6-2, 0-0 PFL) doesn’t exactly have the career that his opponent has, this is without a doubt the biggest fight of the 31-year-old’s career.
It’s Brazilian vs Brazilian in this one, and knowing that Ferreira is around 6ft 9/10in he could be an extremely difficult opponent for Werdum, who is only 6ft 4in.
Ferreira got submitted in his third fight by Vinicius Moreira after winning his first two. After three more wins, he lost his first fight in LFA after illegal punches to the back of the head.
He fought UFC newcomer Jared Vanderaa in his last fight in August 2019. He submitted Vanderaa by triangle choke in the second round. This means when Ferreira steps into the octagon in May, it will have been 21 months since the Brazilian had last fought.
The co-main event for PFL 3 will see 2019 Women’s Lightweight Champion Kayla Harrison face Mariana Morais. 2019 Heavyweight Champion Ali Isayev will look to keep his unbeaten record against Hatef Moeil. Check out the rest of the PFL 3 lineup here.
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images