MMASucka’s PFL 5 2021 Staff Picks

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A double-header fight weekend is in store for MMASucka staff picks. Our first of the two cards this weekend will be PFL 5 2021 taking place tonight, June 17 from the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The preliminary card starts at 5:30pm ET (2:30pm PT) on ESPN+ with the main card beginning at 9:00pm ET (6:00pm PT) on ESPN 2.

Stay tuned to MMASucka on Saturday afternoon for our UFC Vegas 29 picks.

The Fights

PFL’s Regular Season continues with the return of fighters competing in the welterweight (170 lbs.) and light heavyweight (205 lbs.) divisions.

Welterweights veterans Rory MacDonald and Gleison Tibau will meet for the first time in the main event. Former UFC title challenger and Bellator welterweight champion MacDonald is set for his second appearance with the promotion. A quick first-round finish over Curtis Millender secured the championship front-runner six points in his division, currently leading the fielded rankings. MacDonald’s opponent, Tibau, is set for his 51st professional appearance as he reaches nearly 20 years in his mixed martial arts journey. The Brazilian is in need of a win to secure a spot in the playoffs after falling short to Joao Zeferino in his first Regular Season fight.

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Do not blink in the co-main event, as sparks will fly between Ray Cooper III and Nikolay Aleksakhin. PFL 2019 welterweight winner Cooper III will be ineligible for points tonight as he missed weight, though currently sitting second on the board with five points. Russia’s Aleksakhin will look for an eighth straight victory, now securing four points win-or-lose due to Cooper III’s miss.

Also counted towards our MMASucka staff picks this weekend includes PFL 2019 heavyweight tournament winner Emiliano Sordi, two additional light heavyweight pairings, and another welterweight matchup. See those PFL 5 2021 fights further below.

Staff Picks

Throughout the calendar year, staff picks will be composed of main card fights from UFC and Bellator events and a variety of fights from PFL MMA. Dana White’s Contender Series will make its debut in the summer months.

The WINNER of staff picks in 2021 will have a choice between receiving a custom-made championship belt from ProAmBelts or chain from Championship Chains. For the third straight year, Michael DeSantis captured the 2020 victory compiling a record of 201-88.

See our staff picks for PFL 5 2021: MacDonald vs. Tibau below.

Staff Records after UFC 263:

Wesley Riddle: 86-55
Nate Freeman: 86-55
Michael DeSantis: 84-57
Frazer Krohn: 82-59
Jeremy Brand: 77-65
Joshua Yule: 77-55
Ash Camyab: 76-56
Mike Lynch: 73-63
Mitchell Banuelos: 69-68
Kenny Lee: 63-55
Andrew Benjamin: 62-65
Tim Wheaton: 61-46
Matt Bricker: 49-55
Brandon Joint: 13-5

*Note – not all staff pick for every event*

Joao Zeferino (25-9) vs. Jason Ponet (20-13-1, 1 NC)

Jeremy Brand: Zeferino via UD
Wesley Riddle: Zeferino via Round 1 SUB
Michael DeSantis: Zeferino via UD
Ash Camyab: Ponet via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Zeferino via UD
Frazer Krohn: Ponet via UD
Mike Lynch: Ponet via UD
Nate Freeman: Zeferino via UD
Kenny Lee: Zeferino via UD
Brandon Joint: Zeferino via Round 2 SUB

Staff picking Zeferino: 7
Staff picking Ponet: 3

Antonio Carlos Junior (11-5, 1 NC) vs. Vinny Magalhaes (19-12, 1 NC)

Jeremy Brand: Magalhaes via UD
Wesley Riddle: Carlos Junior via Round 2 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Carlos Junior via UD
Ash Camyab: Carlos Junior via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Magalhaes via Round 1 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Carlos Junior via Round 2 SUB
Mike Lynch: Magalhaes via Round 1 TKO
Nate Freeman: Carlos Junior via UD
Kenny Lee: Carlos Junior via UD
Brandon Joint: Carlos Junior via UD

Staff picking Carlos Junior: 7
Staff picking Magalhaes: 3

Cezar Ferreira (14-8) vs. Chris Camozzi (25-15)

Jeremy Brand: Ferreira via UD
Wesley Riddle: Ferreira via UD
Michael DeSantis: Ferreira via Round 2 TKO
Ash Camyab: Ferreira via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Ferreira via SD
Frazer Krohn: Ferreira via SD
Mike Lynch: Camozzi via UD
Nate Freeman: Ferreira via Round 2 SUB
Kenny Lee: Ferreira via UD
Brandon Joint: Ferreira via UD

Staff picking Ferreira: 9
Staff picking Camozzi: 1

Emiliano Sordi (23-8) vs. Dan Spohn (18-8)

Jeremy Brand: Spohn via UD
Wesley Riddle: Sordi via Round 1 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Sordi via Round 1 TKO
Ash Camyab: Sordi via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Sordi via Round 1 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Sordi via Round 1 TKO
Mike Lynch: Sordi via Round 3 TKO
Nate Freeman: Sordi via Round 1 TKO
Kenny Lee: Sordi via Round 2 TKO
Brandon Joint: Sordi via Round 1 TKO

Staff picking Sordi: 9
Staff picking Spohn: 1

Ray Cooper III (21-7-1) vs. Nikolai Aleksakhin (24-5, 1 NC)

Jeremy Brand: Aleksakhin via UD
Wesley Riddle: Aleksakhin via UD
Michael DeSantis: Aleksakhin via UD
Ash Camyab: Cooper III via Round 3 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Aleksakhin via UD
Frazer Krohn: Cooper III via UD
Mike Lynch: Cooper III via Round 2 TKO
Nate Freeman: Aleksakhin via SD
Kenny Lee: Cooper III via UD
Brandon Joint: Cooper III via UD

Staff picking Cooper III: 5
Staff picking Aleksakhin: 5

Rory MacDonald (22-6-1) vs. Gleison Tibau (35-15)

Jeremy Brand: MacDonald via Round 2 TKO
Wesley Riddle: MacDonald via Round 2 TKO
Michael DeSantis: MacDonald via UD
Ash Camyab: MacDonald via Round 3 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: MacDonald via Round 2 SUB
Frazer Krohn: MacDonald via Round 2 SUB
Mike Lynch: MacDonald via UD
Nate Freeman: MacDonald via UD
Kenny Lee: MacDonald via Round 1 TKO
Brandon Joint: MacDonald via Round 2 TKO

Staff picking MacDonald: 10
Staff picking Tibau: 0


PFL 5 2021

Light heavyweights Antonio Carlos Junior (left) and Vinny Magalhaes with PFL MMA president Ray Sefo (right) at weigh-ins ahead of PFL 5 2021 taking place Thursday, June 17th from the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey (photo credits to PFL MMA).

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Wesley Riddle is a 29-year-old writer residing in Raleigh, North Carolina from Harrisonburg, Virginia. He has been part of the MMASucka team since the fourth quarter of 2016. Additionally, he serves as a writer with partner site Last Word on Motorsports.

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