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PFL Challenger Series 7 Main Event: Kasanganay vs. Elsaidy

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The first two fights of Bellator MMA‘s Lightweight World Grand Prix Quarterfinals are by no means the only MMA fights going on this Friday. There are more fights to be held on the East Coast.

While the field of eight at 155 lbs. in Bellator gets reduced to six in Bellator 292 out west in San Jose, the backlot of Universal Orlando serves as host for the PFL Challenger Series’ penultimate event of its season. PFL Challenger Series 7 (main card Friday, 9 pm ET/ 6 pm PT, Fubo Sports Network) sees light heavyweight competitors get their night in the limelight as they try to lock up a contract for the regular season.

After Friday’s show, a second-chance night will be held in Orlando to close out the Challenger Series for 2023 on St. Patrick’s Day. There’s no word as of yet on which fighters are to return for the March 17 card.

A week ago, Brahyan Zurcher (5-0 MMA) locked in a second-round submission to defeat David Evans (5-2 MMA.) The third time was the charm for Zurcher, who secured the guaranteed contract at featherweight.

UFC Alum Kasanganay Fights Elsaidy in PFL Challenger Series 7 Main Event

As usual, PFL Challenger Series 7 features four MMA bouts, highlighted by a familiar name entering the cage in the PFL Challenger Series 7 main event of the evening. UFC alumnus Impa Kasanganay (10-3 MMA), who was cut by Dana White‘s promotion in December of 2021, will try to win his way back to major MMA when he battles Osama Elsaidy (8-2 MMA.)

All PFL Challenger Series bouts are treated the same as regular season contests and playoff semifinals. Your PFL Challenger Series 7 main event will be an advertised maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.

Not only will these fighters be in search of a contract, but they’ll also try and impress a panel of celebrity judges. Randy Couture and Tyron Woodley will be live from Orlando, with the two men joined via videoconferencing by Tim Kennedy.

PFL Challenger Series 7 Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds

Heading into the main attraction on Friday night, Impa Kasanganay stands at 5-foot-11 and has a 75-inch reach. No height or reach information was accessible for Osama Elsaidy at press time.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the oddsmakers currently have Impa Kasanganay installed as a -400 favorite, with Osama Elsaidy countering as a +310 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.

Impa Kasanganay Hopes to Use PFL Challenger Series 7 Main Event as a Road Back to MMA’s Big Leagues

Impa Kasanganay comes into the PFL Challenger Series 7 main event on Friday night having posted a record of 2-3 over his last five fights. On July 23, he returned to the win column with a first-round knockout (punches) of fellow UFC alum Jared Gooden (22-8 MMA) during XMMA 5: 5outhern Heat.

The victory marked Kasanganay’s first since leaving MMA’s top promotion in the fall of 2021. Kasanganay normally competes as a welterweight and middleweight, but he has spent time at 205 lbs., even though it’s been a while.

Friday’s headlining bout will mark the first bout for Impa Kasanganay at light heavyweight since 2018 before he turned professional. That night, he competed against Bryan Battle for the Fight Lab Amateur Light Heavyweight Championship in Fight Lab 59, but Battle secured the belt (unanimous decision.)

Kasanganay has said in an interview with Cageside Press that he doesn’t anticipate the weight cut for the main event to be problematic.

“I’m actually around the size of a light heavyweight,” Kasanganay said. “I can be like 220 lbs., 225 lbs.”

Will he be able to get the win and/or the contract in his first light heavyweight appearance in almost five years? Tune into the PFL Challenger Series 7 main event and find out.

Osama Elsaidy Hoping to Start More Consistent Schedule With PFL Challenger Series 7 Main Event

In the other corner, Osama Elsaidy has gone 3-2 in his last five contests. Most recently, he scored a first-round knockout (front kick) of Mohamed Ali Sellam (2-1 MMA) back in December in Brave CF 67.

This bout was the first for Osama Elsaidy in over four years. Before the Sellam fight, Elsaidy had not appeared in an MMA bout since May of 2018 versus Sami Antar (4-2 MMA.)

Like we saw last Saturday with Jon Jones in UFC 285, it’s possible to shake off the ring rust and come out victorious after a long hiatus. Elsaidy did the same thing in December that Jones did this past weekend, Friday’s main event could be the beginning of a regular itinerary for the Elsaidy camp, but only time will tell.

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the PFL Challenger Series 7 main event looks to be another one of those fights that’s a toss-up. Both of these men have been known to get the finish in the past, though Elsaidy is a wrestler by trade.

Impa Kasanganay Can Produce Viral Knockouts

One aspect of Impa Kasanganay’s fight game that’s shown itself on video is his ability to land the brutal knockout. Jared Gooden found this out the hard way in July.

During the first round of a scheduled three, Kasanganay and Gooden each came out hitting, but the former was the better aggressor, connecting with a left hook 20 seconds in. For every punch that Gooden landed, Kasanganay was quick to respond with a shot of his own.

Gooden was gassed thanks to a barrage of punches from Kasanganay, though he did return to the feet and tried to take him down. Early on, Kasanganay smelled blood in the water.

Throughout the fight, Kasanganay bided his time as he hunted for the finish. A three-punch combination of right hands put Gooden down and out. If Impa Kasanganay can turn the PFL Challenger 7 main event into a boxing match, he can control the pace of the fight and score another viral knockout.

Osama Elsaidy is Just As Nasty With Knockouts

In the other corner, Osama Elsaidy’s knockout prowess can’t be taken lightly here. Just ask Mostafa Rashed, who was knocked out by Elsaidy in 2016.

Round two began with Elsaidy landing a few punches on Rashed and forcing him to retreat to the clinch. Elsaidy punched his way out and then began to go to work. About two minutes into the round, with Elsaidy and Rashed against the cage fence, the former unloaded on the latter with punches to the head, causing Rashed to get knocked down.

Ground and pound shots from the back mount spelled an end to the fight. If Elsaidy can effectively counterpunch, the PFL Challenger Series 7 main event will be his.

Final Thoughts

As we’ve just chronicled during our film study, as little as one punch can end this main event on Friday. Keep your eyes on the screen at all times. You can’t afford to look away for one frame.

Prediction: Impa Kasanganay by Unanimous Decision.

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about MMA since the spring of 2018. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew enjoys a good game and an even better fight. When he's not writing, you can find him playing video games and listening to music.

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