The second half of the Professional Fighters League (PFL) Regular Season got off to an action-packed start on Thursday night, with five fighters punching their tickets to the 2021 PFL Playoffs and two-time Olympic boxing gold medalist Claressa Shields victorious in an impressive PFL MMA debut.
In the final bout of the nine-fight event, Shields defeated Brittney Elkin via TKO with a vicious ground and pound attack. Shields held off Elkin’s ground attacks in the first two rounds before closing the show in round three.
In the co-main event, “Cassius” Clay Collard earned three points and a trip to the PFL playoffs with a split decision victory over Joilton Lutterbach. In a close fight, Bubba Jenkins won a unanimous decision over Bobby Moffett, to pick up a fifth straight victory and secure his place in PFL playoffs. Brendan Loughnane clinched a spot in the PFL playoffs with a hard fought majority decision over Tyler Diamond.
Loik Radzhabov set a PFL lightweight record for the fastest stoppage in division history with a 27-second first round knockout over Akhmed Aliev to earn six points. With Olivier Aubin-Mercier’s unanimous decision win over Marcin Held later in the night, Radzhabov clinched a spot in the 2021 playoffs.
In the first fight of the night, Chris Wade defeated Arman Ospanov by second round knockout - the first of his career - to earn five points and clinch his third straight PFL playoff appearance.
“What a thrilling event to kick off the second half of the PFL Regular Season, with five fighters clinching spots in the 2021 Playoffs and Claressa Shields putting an exclamation point on her MMA debut with a powerful knockout,” said Peter Murray, PFL CEO. “Tonight showcased intensity that only the Professional Fighters League can deliver with our unique true-season format, where every athlete faced a win-or-go-home scenario. I know that our two remaining Regular Season events will be spectacles delivering non-stop excitement, and I can’t wait to see our playoff field be rounded out.”
“PFL 4 continued the momentum from the first half of the Regular Season as our lightweights and featherweights delivered an outstanding event for the more than 550 million MMA fans across the globe,” said Ray Sefo, President of Fighter Operations of the PFL. “Our fighters demonstrated the mental and physical skills required to earn a spot in the PFL playoffs, and I can’t wait to see the Regular Season finales for our welterweights and light heavyweights next week.”
In earlier action, two-time PFL lightweight champion Natan Schulte bounced back from his first loss in four years to win a split decision over the previously undefeated Alexander Martinez. The result pushed Schulte’s Regular Season point total to three, and he remains in contention to make the PFL playoffs. Sheymon Moraes remains in playoff contention following a second round submission over Jesse Stirn.
The remaining playoff spots in the lightweight and featherweight divisions will be determined following the culmination of PFL 6 on Thursday, June 24.
The PFL returns to Ocean Casino Resort next Thursday, June 17 as the league’s welterweights and light heavyweights make their final push for the 2021 PFL playoffs. After a dominating performance in his PFL debut, Rory MacDonald looks to continue his momentum and solidify a spot in the PFL playoffs. Meanwhile, 2019 PFL Light Heavyweight champion Emiliano Sordi currently sits in 4th place as he looks to separate himself from the pack and secure another world title.
All PFL 2021 Season events are live in primetime on ESPN networks and streaming platforms, as well as on a wide and diverse group of premier global distribution partner platforms reaching 160 countries around the world.