2024 PFL 4 Main Event Breakdown

Image for 2024 PFL 4 Main Event Breakdown

If it’s the month of June and you want to start talking about the playoffs, there’s only one professional sport to do it in. While the NBA and NHL are currently in the process of crowning a new champion, with the Boston Celtics taking a two games to none lead in the NBA Finals over the Dallas Mavericks heading into a pivotal Game Three on Wednesday in North Texas, Thursday, the playoff push heats up in MMA.

The second half of the 2024 PFL regular season, its first since acquiring Bellator MMA last November, begins Thursday night at one of Bellator’s frequent stops on past schedules. Uncasville, CT’s Mohegan Sun Arena, the home court of the WNBA‘s Connecticut Sun, serves as the host venue for PFL 4.

It’s the second and last chance for heavyweight and women’s flyweight contenders to secure points in the standings as the playoffs loom in the dog days of August. In addition, PFL 4 kicks off a three-week stretch to crystalize this year’s playoff picture in all six of its divisions. Heavyweights and women’s flyweights will begin the postseason during PFL 7 on Friday, Aug. 2 in Nashville.

Moldavsky and Vassell Meet for Third Time in PFL 4 Main Event

Live coverage of PFL 4 kicks off Thursday evening at 5:30 pm ET/ 2:30 pm PT on ESPN+ with the early card. Late card action continues at 9 pm ET/ 6 pm PT on ESPN proper. All told, barring anything unforeseen in the final days leading up to PFL 4, the final version of the card features a full 12-fight card.

Highlighting the night’s activity is a trilogy bout between two men who are at a crossroads as far as the playoff picture is concerned. Valentin Moldavsky (13-3, 1 NC MMA, 1-0 2024 PFL, six points in the standings) fights Linton Vassell (24-9, 1 NC MMA, 0-1 2024 PFL, zero points in the standings.)

As with all PFL regular season and semifinal fights, the PFL 4 main event is an advertised maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.

The Series So Far

Ahead of Thursday night’s bout, the all-time series between Moldavsky and Vassell stands level at 1-1. How will the trilogy fight play out?

2024 PFL 4 Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds

Going into the PFL 4 main event, Linton Vassell stands as the taller contestant at 6-foot-4, compared to Valentin Moldavsky’s 6-foot-1 frame. The latter owns a 5 1/2-inch frame (80 1/2 inches to 75 inches even) over the former.

Currently, the oddsmakers have Valentin Moldavsky installed as a -298 favorite on the money line, with Linton Vassell countering as a +240 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend in MMA or combat sports, please wager responsibly.

Moldavsky Looks to Lock Up Playoff Spot Thursday

Valentin Moldavsky, once upon a time the Bellator MMA Interim Heavyweight Champion, has posted a 2-2 record with one no-contest in his last five fights. Currently, he’s on a two-fight winning streak.

Back on April 4, opening night of the regular season, he scored a first-round knockout (punches and knees) of Ante Delija (24-6 MMA, 0-1 PFL 2024, zero points in the standings) during PFL 1 in San Antonio. After the fight, he talked to the press and mentioned that he had one guy in mind for his second regular season bout.

“I want Vassell, Linton Vassell,” Moldavsky told the media backstage. Vassell awaits him on Thursday night and the stakes are high for both men with postseason action looming in about a month and a half.

As it stands right now, Moldavsky has six points in the PFL heavyweight standings. If the regular season suddenly ended today, this would be good enough to sew up the No. 1 seed in the 265-lb. bracket.  His adversary is on the opposite end of the spectrum, however.

Do-or Die Time for Linton Vassell

In the other corner, Linton Vassell has posted a mark of 4-1 record over his last five fights. During PFL 1 in April, he saw his five-fight winning streak dating back to November of 2019 snapped at the hands of Denis Goltsov (33-8 MMA, 1-0 PFL 2024, four points in the standings) with a third-round knockout.

This creates a precarious position for Vassell as PFL 4 looms later on this week. While Goltsov would be the No. 4 seed in the heavyweight playoffs if the postseason began today, Vassell sits in seventh place with no points in the standings.

According to the official PFL playoff picture, in order for Linton Vassell to qualify for the Aug. 2 semifinals, he has to secure a victory by way of stoppage during the main event. Anything else spells an early end to his season.

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the PFL 4 main event looks to favor Linton Vassell, a wrestler, compared to Valentin Moldavsky’s status as a combat sambo fighter.

Moldavsky Can End the Fight Quickly

Given that the PFL regular season is predicated by stoppages and bonus points in the standings, an abrupt finish to the fight is first on Valentin Moldavsky’s mind. Given that this is a heavyweight fight, a single blow, or a series of blows, can end the contest, like it did for Moldavsky vs. Delija two months ago.

About two minutes into round one, he landed a nasty combo of punches to the head before peppering him with some knee strikes upstairs. Repeated right-handed punches forced referee Jacob Montalvo to stop the contest and netted Moldavsky the six-point maximum.

If Valentine Moldavsky comes out hitting on Thursday night right from the beginning, he’ll lock up the top seed in the bracket without issue.

Vassell Equally Vicious With Strikes

In the other corner, although Linton Vassell is a wrestler by trade, he’s got some crisp punches of his own. One need look no further than his fight vs. Moldavsky from last year.

During the opening round, Vassell dropped Moldavsky with a punch before pouncing on him with a flurry of ground and pound strikes, punctuated by some elbow shots. All Linton Vassell needs to do to advance to the second season is counterstrike. If he catches Moldavsky napping, he’ll score the upset and maybe secure a playoff berth while he’s at it.

Final Thoughts

Even though both men in the PFL 4 main event are on reverse sides of the coin, expect them to push all of their poker chips to the table on Thursday. This should be a fun watch.

Prediction: Valentin Moldavsky by First-Round KO. 

Share this article

Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018, coming to MMASucka after stints at Overtime Heroics and Armchair All-Americans. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew is a charter member of the Youngstown Press Club. Prior to beginning his professional career, Drew was a sportswriter for YSU's student-run newspaper, The Jambar, where he supplied Press Box Perspective columns every week.