After a successful first outing in the UK this past weekend in Cardiff, Wales, the PFL make their debut in England’s capital, London. Taking place from the Copperbox Arena, we will see the semi-finals in the women’s lightweight division as well as the men’s featherweight division. We take a look at London’s blockbuster card.
PFL 9 – August 20th – London
Women’s Lightweight Playoffs
Headlining PFL London will be arguably the biggest star in the promotion, Kayla Harrison. Harrison is not only undefeated in MMA but is also a two-time PFL tournament champion. Harrison returns to London for the first time since winning her first (of two) Olympic gold medals in Judo in 2012. In 2022 thus far, Harrison is 2-0, going to a decision in May, before finishing a late replacement in Kaitlin Young in the first round in July.
Harrison will take on 6-2, Martina Jindrova. Jindrova is undefeated in the PFL during her career at 3-0. She dominated UFC vet, Vanessa Melo, as well as finishing Zamzagul Fayzallanova just last month in the first round. Despite being a game opponent, she’s coming up against Kayla Harrison, a woman who could very well be the best P4P woman in the sport so it will be a tall order to get her hand raised.
The other lightweight playoff sees two-fight UFC vet and eight-fight PFL vet, Larissa Pacheco clash with Olena Kolesnyk in a rematch of their fight last year. On that occasion, Pacheco finished Kolesnyk in the first round with a brutal knockout after a wild exchange. Since then, Pacheco has finished two straight fights and extended her knockout streak to four. She’ll be looking to make that fie in London this weekend.
Since their first fight, Kolesnyk snapped her four-fight losing run with a split decision victory over Abby Montes. She backed that up with a decision over Vanessa Melo last time out in July. With a 71% finish rate, we could see an upset on the cards if she catches Pacheco.
Women’s Lightweight Tournament Winner Prediction – Kayla Harrison
Men’s Featherweight Playoffs
The co-main event will see the return of Brendan Loughnane to his home country as he takes on Chris Wade. Loughnane is 2-0 in 2022 so far, rebounding after a loss in last year’s semi-final to the eventual winner, Movlid Khaybulaev. Loughnane does hold a win over one of the men in the other semi-final, Ryoji Kudo earlier this year in a technical decision following a clash of heads. Loughnane will certainly be looking for a finish in this one having not secured a finish in his last four fights.
Loughnane takes on last year’s defeated finalist and UFC vet, Chris Wade. Wade holds a promotional record of 10-4 and is 2-0 in 2022. He defeated Lance Palmer before knocking out Kyle Bochniak in June. He also holds a win over one of the men in the other semi-final, Bubba Jenkins in August last year. Wade and Loughnane have bad blood between them and Wade had some choice words about the Brit prior to their bout.
“Brendan is delusional. The point will be driven home to Brendan once the cage door is shut. It’s just to send a message really, that echoes out that I’m the guy. There’s no debate about that.”
The two will put an end to their bad blood when they clash at the Copperbox arena on Saturday night.
The other semi-final sees Ryoji Kudo take on Bubba Jenkins. Both of these men won their last fight as Kudo bounced back from that Loughnane loss to knockout Alejandro Flores in the first round. Kudo holds seven knockouts and zero submissions so we know his style and his opponent, Jenkins is the opposite.
Jenkins is a former NCAA Division 1 wrestling champion, a former 11-fight Bellator vet, the former BRAVE FC featherweight champion and overall, a very experienced fighter. Jenkins is 7-1 in his last eight, with the only loss coming at the hands of Wade last year. This experience is arguably why he’s a sizeable favourite in this semi-final.