PFL Featherweights Hit Big Stage This Week With Semifinals
The semifinals of the 2021 PFL featherweight event take to the big stage this week live on ESPN Networks with two bouts.
For the past two Professional Fighters League seasons, only one man has been able to lay claim to the league’s 145-pound championship. This year however, a new champion will be crowned.
Following a tough regular season that saw him go 0-2, two-time champion Lance Palmer will be missing out on the playoffs for the first time in his PFL career. This opens the door for four new 145-pound contenders to duke it out for a chance to hoist the PFL Featherweight Championship – as well as the million-dollar grand prize – for the first time.
Finishing at the top of the 145-pound heap is England’s Brendan Loughnane (21-3), who won both of his regular season contests to earn nine total points. Loughnane knocked out Sheymon Moraes in just over two minutes in his 2021 PFL Regular Season debut at PFL 1, and then followed that up with a Majority Decision win over Tyler Diamond at PFL 4 to clinch his spot in the postseason. Loughnane is no stranger to PFL competition, having gone 2-0 back in the 2019 season. This will be his first foray into the playoffs, however.
In the featherweight division’s second seed is another PFL veteran in Chris Wade (19-6). A former two-time lightweight semifinalist, the New York made the drop down to featherweight and it yielded favorable results. Wade earned a Unanimous Decision win over Anthony Dizy at PFL 1, and then went on to stamp his spot in the playoffs with a second-round KO of Arman Ospanov. Now, ‘The Long Island Killer’ looks to make another deep postseason run, or even finally capture PFL world championship gold.
Highly-touted featherweight newcomer Bubba Jenkins (16-4) was nothing short of impressive in his maiden PFL season, and did enough to secure the third seed and book a spot in the playoffs. Jenkins made an immediate impact in his PFL debut, handing two-time champion Lance Palmer his first loss inside the PFL cage at PFL 1. At PFL 4, Jenkins picked up another Unanimous Decision win, this time over Bobby Moffett. The American former BRAVE CF champion will now look to capture a PFL World Championship as well.
Rounding out the featherweight bracket is undefeated Russian Movlid Khaybulaev (17-0-1), who hopes to finally break through into the semifinals. In 2019, Khabulaev managed to finish as the second seed, but a KO loss (which was eventually overturned to a No Contest) against Daniel Pineda dashed his title hopes early. This year, Khaybulaev defeated Lazar Stojadinovic by Unanimous Decision at PFL 1, and then booted Lance Palmer out of playoff contention via Unanimous Decision at PFL 4.
Top-seeded Loughnane will face off against 4th-seeded Movlid Khaybuylaev, while 2nd-seeded Wade meets 3rd-seeded Jenkins in the opening round of the featherweight playoffs.
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The 145-pounders will clash at PFL 9 on Friday, August 27 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Don’t miss the action live on ESPN channels and via streaming on ESPN+!