- What: Professional Fighters League World Championship
- Date: Friday, November, 25 2022
- Location: Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- How to Watch: ESPN+ pay-per-view
The Professional Fighters League (PFL) hosts a title-fight heavy event on Friday, November 25 at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. The event features a total of six title fights. The headlining contest sees PFL women’s lightweight champion Kayla Harrison vs. Larissa Pacheco in their third meeting. Harrison is 2-0 in those bouts, but Pacheco is one of two fighters to take Harrison the distance.
The other five title fights – which also award each winner $1 million – on the card are:
Featherweight World Title: Brendan Loughnane vs Bubba Jenkins
Heavyweight World Title: Ante Delija vs Matheus Scheffel
Lightweight World Title: Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs Stevie Ray
Welterweight World Title: Sadibou Sy vs Dilano Taylor
Light Heavyweight World Title: Robert Wilkinson vs Omari Akhmedov
Kayla Harrison vs. Larissa Pacheco picks
Kayla Harrison and Larissa Pacheco fought twice in 2019. Harrison won both contests without giving up a round on the scorecards. Neither fighter has lost since then. Pacheco is 5-0 since the Harrison rematch with five first-round knockout wins. Harrison is 8-0 since defeating Pacheco for the second time. She has four knockouts, three submissions and one decision win during that time.
Harrison was only one year into her MMA journey when she first met Pacheco. Since then, the former Olympic gold medalist in judo has improved in every facet of her MMA game. There’s no reason to believe she won’t beat Pacheco a third time. The question here is how Harrison will win. The best bet in this matchup is for Kayla Harrison to win via submission.
Pick: Kayla Harrison to beat Larissa Pacheco.
Brendan Loughnane vs Bubba Jenkins picks
Brendan Loughnane has done well for himself since the UFC opted not to sign him after a win on a 2019 Dana White Contender Series card. With a record of 7-1 since then, the 32-year-old finds himself one win away from the PFL featherweight title and a $1 million check. Loughnane faces 34-year-old Bubba Jenkins, a former NCAA wrestling champion.
Loughnane has the striking advantage in this contest, but Jenkins is the superior wrestler. Loughnane has had a few months to prepare and drill for what Jenkins will bring to the cage With that in mind, I think this fight goes the distance and that Loughnane’s striking carries the day.
Pick: Brendan Loughnane to beat Bubba Jenkins.
Ante Delija vs Matheus Scheffel picks
The heavyweight title fight between Ante Delija and Matheus Scheffel is a rematch from the opening round of the 2022 PFL season. That fight ended with Delija scoring a second-round knockout win. This should be an action-packed fight, but the previous meeting and the fact that Scheffel is a knockout or be knocked out kind of fighter, leads me to believe the result of this fight will be the same. Which is to say, the best bet for the PFL heavyweight title fight is for Delija to win via knockout.
Pick: Ante Delija to beat Matheus Scheffel.
Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs Stevie Ray picks
The fight for the PFL lightweight championship is in the middle of the main card, but it’s likely the contest that hardcore fight fans are looking forward to the most. Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Stevie Ray are two former UFC fighters with plenty of talent. Aubin-Mercier is 5-0 with the PFL since leaving the UFC in 2019. Ray, who left the UFC the same year, is 2-1 with the promotion. His two victories are notable because they both came against former UFC champion Anthony Pettis.
This should be a fairly even contest that takes mostly on the feet. However, Aubin-Mercier is the more talented combatant. Therefore, the best bet is Aubin-Mercier to win via decision.
Pick: Olivier Aubin-Mercier to beat Stevie Ray.
Sadibou Sy vs Dilano Taylor picks
As far as name recognition goes, Dilano Taylor and Sadibou Sy both notched wins over a notable competitor early in the 2022 PFL season. Taylor knocked out former UFC fighter Rory MacDonald in August and Sy took a decision from MacDonald in July. The big difference in this fight is experience. Sy has the edge in that category and that gives him the edge. The best bet in the PFL welterweight title fight is Sy via decision.
Pick: Sadibou Sy to beat Dilano Taylor.
Robert Wilkinson vs Omari Akhmedov picks
The first title fight on Friday’s PFL card is the light heavyweight scrap between Robert Wilkinson and Omari Akhmedov. Wilkinson has two losses on his record. Both came during his short time with the UFC in 2017-18. His first setback came to Siyar Bahadurzada, while his second defeat was to the recently dethroned UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. Akhmedov is also a former UFC fighter. He was with the promotion from 2014 through 2021.
Combined, these two have finishes in five of their six most recent outings. Akhmedov is the better grappler of the two, but the takedown defense and boxing skills of Wilkinson should allow him to keep the fight on the feet and get the win. The best bet in this contest is Wilkinson to win via knockout and I believe it will be before the third round.
Pick: Robert Wilkinson to defeat Omari Akhmedov.
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