This New Year’s Eve marks the night of the 2019 Professional Fighters League Championship Finals. The event will feature six title bouts, including the promotion’s inaugural women’s lightweight championship fight. On top of winning a championship belt, each victor will walk away $1 million richer.
In the main event of the company’s final show of the year, two-time Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison (6-0), will attempt to capture the vacant women’s lightweight crown. Her opponent is Larissa Pacheco (13-3), a submission maestro and former UFC competitor riding a two-fight streak. Both women squared off with one-another in May of this year, with Harrison walking away with the unanimous decision victory. Despite both athletes being fairly well-rounded, the Olympian undoubtedly has an advantage in the grappling department, which will be her key to victory on December 31.
In what has the potential to be the most exciting bout of the evening, UFC veteran David Michaud (18-5) battles dangerous Hawaiian striker Ray Cooper III (19-7-1) for the welterweight championship. Cooper will be looking to erase last year’s title defeat with another emphatic knockout victory; however, a tough and extremely durable David Michaud stands in his way.
The 31-year-old has pieced together three wins on the trot, including a TKO finish over Handesson Ferreira. If this fight remains on the feet, expect Ray Cooper III to put on a striking clinic and eventually connect with his opponent’s chin, adding another KO victory to his record. Nonetheless, if Michaud can withstand the storm, he should be able to nullify his adversary’s offense with his slick and effective takedowns.
Another intriguing championship bout that can go either way is Loik Radzhabov (13-1-1) vs. reigning lightweight champion Nathan Schulte (19-3-1). Brazilian Natan Schulte has yet to be defeated in the PFL, having won eight of his last nine fights. In 2019, the 27-year-old has competed four times, picking up three submission victories in the process — he boasts a daunting jiu-jitsu game and possesses outstanding rear-naked chokes.
On the other hand, his opponent Loik Radzhabov has compiled a record of 2-1-1 this year, dominating UFC veteran Chris Wade along the way. Both 155lbers have formidable grappling abilities, however, Schulte may have the advantage if the fight hits the mat. This fight will be won on the feet – these two competitors have great takedown defense, therefore whoever does the most damage with their striking should ultimately win the fight.
Full fight card:
- Kayla Harrison (6-0) vs. Larissa Pacheco (13-3) – women’s lightweight title fight
- Ray Cooper III (19-7-1) vs. David Michaud (18-5) – welterweight title fight
- Ali Isaev (8-0) vs. Jared Rosholt (20-7) – heavyweight title fight
- Loik Radzhabov (13-1-1) vs Nathan Schulte (19-3-1) – lightweight title fight
- Lance Palmer (21-3) vs. Alex Gilpin (14-3) – featherweight title fight
- Emiliano Sordi (21-8) vs. Jordan Johnson (12-1-1) – light heavyweight title fight
- Brendan Loughnane (18-3) vs. David Alex Duarte (11-4) – featherweight bout.
Steven specialises in MMA and Lethwei. He loves a good 1-2 down the middle.