The Professional Fighters League (PFL), the fastest growing and most innovative sports league, today announced its main event and full card matchups for PFL 5 on June 17 in primetime across ESPN networks and streaming platforms. After four first-round finishes and one second-round finish in both the welterweight and light heavyweight divisions combined at PFL 2, the path to the playoffs will require early stoppages and a higher point total as these world-class athletes face a win-or-go-home scenario.
Featured on the main card and coming off an impressive win in his highly anticipated PFL debut which ended with a first-round submission, Rory “The Red King” MacDonald looks to continue his dominance against MMA veteran Gleison Tibau. MacDonald will look to bank enough points to earn a spot in the playoffs, while the Brazilian, Tibau, will look to avenge a disappointing loss in his PFL debut on April 29.
Meanwhile, welterweight star Ray Cooper III is tied atop the division standings with six points after an impressive win over Jason Ponet via first-round submission. The 2019 PFL champion will look to carry that momentum into his bout with battle-tested Nikolai Aleksakhin. Aleksakhin who was medically unable to continue in PFL 2 due to an accidental eye poke, will need an early stoppage to accumulate points or his playoff hopes will be dashed. Cezar Ferreira, who secured the second-fastest knockout (0:37) in PFL light heavyweight history and is currently in first place in the standings, squares off with fellow PFL newcomer Chris Camozzi who is coming off a close decision loss to 2019 champion Emiliano Sordi.
Sordi will face fellow slugger Dan Spohn in what looks to be a must finish situation for both fighters. The bout will be the final light heavyweight matchup of the evening and both fighters will know exactly how many points they will need to notch to make the playoffs and have a chance at pocketing the $1 million champion’s purse. Sordi will be looking to keep his hopes of a repeat alive while Spohn will need an early finish if he has any hopes of chasing the 2021 light heavyweight title.
“There were a lot of exciting first-round finishes that took place in the first half of the season for the welterweight and light heavyweight divisions and all of these fighters know it may take another first-round victory to seal their fates in the playoffs,” said PFL President of Fighter Operations, Ray Sefo. “All these fighters can still qualify for the PFL playoffs and know it will be a challenge as they face a win or go home scenario. I can’t wait to see what happens next on June 17.”
PFL 5 is the last chance for the welterweights and light heavyweights to earn a playoff spot during the PFL regular season. With six weight divisions (featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, light heavyweight, women’s lightweight, heavyweight) the top four fighters with the most points in each division will make the playoffs. In the playoffs, fighters compete to punch their ticket to the 2021 PFL world championship, the biggest night in MMA – 6 title fights in one night, the winner of each earns $1 million. 60 fighters started the season – only 24 will qualify for the playoffs.
The 2021 PFL Season continues on June 17 on ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPN+ in primetime. The final Regular Season event will take place on June 25.
Professional Fighters League has quickly established itself as the No. 2 MMA company in the world. With the addition of world-class talent – from elite fighters to established business executives – and partnering with industry-leading brands such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, GEICO, CarParts.com and Socios, the PFL continues to accelerate its global expansion. Sports fans across more than 160 countries around the world will be able to tune in to PFL 5 and witness the action on June 17 in Atlantic City, NJ.
Rory MacDonald vs. Gleison Tibau
Ray Cooper III vs. Nikolai Aleksakhin
Emiliano Sordi vs. Dan Spohn
Cezar Ferreira vs Chris Camozzi
Antonio Carlos Jr vs. Vinny Magalhaes
Marthin Hamlet vs. Cory Hendricks
Joao Zeferino vs. Jason Ponet
Magomed Magomedkerimov vs. Curtis Millender
Tom Lawlor vs. Jordan Young
Sadibou Sy vs Aleksei Kunchenko