2022 PFL playoff schedule includes U.K. doubleheader, promotion’s first international shows

The PFL will make its international debut during this year’s playoffs.

The PFL will make its international debut during this year’s playoffs.

In a press conference Tuesday morning in London, the promotion announced three dates for the 2022 PFL playoffs, two of which are scheduled to take place in the U.K.

New York will play host to the first week of the playoffs, which take place Aug. 5 at Hulu Theater inside Madison Square Garden. The PFL will then head over to Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales on Aug. 13, and finally the Copper Box Arena in London, England on Aug. 20.

Light heavyweights and lightweights will open things up in New York, featherweights and heavyweights will compete in Wales, and welterweights and women’s lightweights will close out the playoffs in London.

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2022 PFL 4 matchups announced: Clay Collard vs. Alexander Martinez headlines June 17 event

The next matchups for PFL’s lightweights and light heavyweights have been announced.

The next matchups for PFL’s lightweights and light heavyweights are set.

[autotag]Clay Collard[/autotag] (21-9-1) vs. [autotag]Alexander Martinez[/autotag] (9-2) will headline 2022 PFL 4 on June 17 at OTE Arena in Atlanta, promotion officials announced Wednesday. In the co-main event, reigning light heavyweight champion [autotag]Antonio Carlos Junior[/autotag] (14-5-2) meets 2022 PFL Challenger Series winner [autotag]Bruce Souto[/autotag] (15-4).

Rounding up the main card is 2021 lightweight season winner [autotag]Raush Manfio[/autotag] (16-3), who takes on ex-UFC fighter [autotag]Olivier Aubin-Mercier[/autotag] (14-5). Finally, [autotag]Jeremy Stephens[/autotag] (28-20-1) will look to rebound from his debut loss to Collard when he faces [autotag]Myles Price[/autotag] (11-8), who was defeated by Anthony Pettis at PFL 3.

PFL 4 airs Friday, June 17 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+ with continued action at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+. The remaining regular season events will take place the following weeks on June 24 and July 1.

The announced 2022 PFL 4 lineup:

  • Clay Collard vs. Alexander Martinez
  • Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Bruce Souto
  • Raush Manfio vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
  • Myles Price vs. Jeremy Stephens
  • Omari Akhmedov vs. Teodoras Aukstuolis
  • Marcin Held vs. Natan Schulte
  • Delan Monte vs. Emiliano Sordi
  • Viktor Pesta vs. Robert Wilkinson
  • Marthin Hamlet vs. Josh Silveira

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USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings, May 10: Carla Esparza, Charles Oliveira, Ryan Bader move up P4P list

Check out the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings following UFC 274, Bellator 280 and 2022 PFL 3.

The USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie men’s and women’s pound-for-pound rankings saw major movement coming out of a weekend of UFC, Bellator and PFL action.

At UFC 274, [autotag]Charles Oliveira[/autotag] – after losing his championship belt over a half-pound miss at weigh-ins – solidified his status as the best lightweight on the planet with a first-round submission of Justin Gaethje in the night’s main event. In the co-headliner, [autotag]Carla Esparza[/autotag] became a two-time UFC strawweight champion after earning a split decision from Rose Namajunas in a lackluster fight – but it was a win no less for “Cookie Monster.”

One day earlier at Bellator 280, heavyweight champion [autotag]Ryan Bader[/autotag] grinded out a clean-sweep unanimous decision win over Cheick Kongo. And at 2022 PFL 3, [autotag]Kayla Harrison[/autotag] made her season debut with a ho-hum performance (“utter dog crap” in her own words) that led to a unanimous decision over Marina Mokhnatkina.

What do those results mean for this week’s pound-for-pound rankings?

On the men’s side, Oliveira jumped up two spots from No. 7 to 5, while Bader advanced one spot from 11 to 10. As for the women, Esparza, who is now on a six-fight winning streak, catapults herself from honorable mention to No. 5, dropping Namajunas a spot to No. 6, as well as Harrison from No. 9 to No. 10.

The pound-for-pound categories weren’t the only ones to be shaken up. Take a look at the full rankings in the dropdowns coming out of UFC 274, Bellator 280, and 2022 PFL 3.

MMA Junkie Radio #3258: The good, bad and ugly from UFC 274

Monday’s edition of MMA Junkie Radio with “Gorgeous” George and “Goze” is here. Check it out!

Monday’s edition of MMA Junkie Radio with “Gorgeous” George and “Goze” is here.

On Episode 3,258, the guys unpack UFC 274 and the fallout from Saturday night’s pay-per-view in Phoenix. They also look back on Bellator 280 and 2022 PFL 3 from Friday night. Lots to cover! Tune in!

Stream or download this and all episodes of MMA Junkie Radio over at OmnyStudio. You can also catch it on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcher, and more. A new episode of the podcast is released every Monday and Thursday.

Twitter reacts: MMA community celebrates Mother’s Day on social media

It’s Mother’s Day 2022, and despite being among the toughest characters in all of sports, MMA fighters aren’t against well wishes.

It’s another Mother’s Day, and despite being some of the toughest and most tenacious characters in all of sports, MMA fighters aren’t against well wishes.

Check below to see a collection of tweets and Instagram posts from MMA fighters and personalities across the globe celebrating Mother’s Day on social media.

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Anthony Pettis: This version of ‘Showtime’ is the one that should’ve been seen in 2021

Anthony Pettis is confident the version of himself on display to open his 2022 PFL season is the real deal.

ARLINGTON, Texas – [autotag]Anthony Pettis[/autotag] is confident the version of himself on display to open his 2022 PFL season is the real deal – and not the one who fizzled out quickly in his first PFL season in 2021.

Pettis (25-12) forced Myles Price (11-8) to tap to a first-round mounted triangle choke Friday at the PFL’s third event of the regular season. In 2021, he lost both his fights. But a first-round finish Friday got him 6 points, meaning a win in his second fight, no matter how, would have him nearly assured a playoff spot.

Pettis said the newness of the PFL’s season and playoff format was something he wasn’t prepared for in 2021 after signing as a free agent after years in the UFC, including as its lightweight champion.

“Last year was all new for me – coming to a whole new organization, a lot of adjustments were made,” Pettis said in his post-fight news conference in Arlington, Texas. “But I just refocused. I’ve been here before. I’ve had (multiple) losses in a row before. I know how to redo it. I just had a baby, so I have a lot of motivation this camp.

“… Last year, last season, I didn’t put in the right amount of work. I tried to attune my training camp for a full-season fight. That’s not how this thing works. The season format is totally different than how I was used to. I feel like the training gives me the confidence that I had in there. … Last year, I definitely underestimated what I was getting myself into.”

Pettis said he was tempted to be flashy against Price, but thought better of it in the moment. Instead, after some adversity from his opponent, he found a way to lock up his finish.

And even though he says he wasn’t going to go after typical “Showtime” moves, a mounted triangle choke might amount to something almost in that vein, anyway.

Still, Pettis said he will stay focused on being read for his second regular season fight, knowing the two fighters who beat him in 2021 sit just behind him in the standings.

“I’m not going to get big-headed,” Pettis said. “(I’m going to) go right back into camp. I’ve got three more fights to win, and I’ve got two tough dudes in front of me: Clay Collard and (Raush Manfio), and I want both of them guys.”

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Kayla Harrison def. Marina Mokhnatkina at 2022 PFL 3: Best photos

Check out these photos from Kayla Harrison vs. Marina Mokhnatkina which headlined 2022 PFL 3 in Arlington, Texas.

Check out these photos from Kayla Harrison’s unanimous decision victory over Marina Mokhnatkina at 2022 PFL 3. (Photos courtesy of Cooper Neill, PFL)

2022 PFL 3: Best photos from Arlington

Check out these photos from 2022 PFL 3 which took place at Esports Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Check out these photos from 2022 PFL 3 which took place at Esports Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photos courtesy of Cooper Neill, PFL)

2022 PFL 3 results: Kayla Harrison cruises to victory in ‘utter dog crap’ season debut

That’s a harsh self-assessment of her 2022 PFL 3 performance, a victory over former Bellator fighter Marina Mokhnatkina.

[autotag]Kayla Harrison[/autotag] pocketed three points and kept her unblemished record in tact Friday, but she wasn’t pleased with her performance.

Over the course of three rounds, Harrison (13-0) cruised to a win over former Bellator fighter [autotag]Marina Mokhnatkina[/autotag] (6-3) via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27). The bout served as the 2022 PFL 3 main event, which took place at Esports Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

From start to finish, Harrison controlled position whether on the feet or on the mat, with the exception of some brief leg submission threats from Mokhnatkina, a former Bellator fighter. Despite her control, Harrison was not able to muster up much damage, nor threaten with any significant submission attempts.

After the decision reading, Harrison gave in-cage interviewer and former UFC fighter Sean O’Connell a brutal self-assessment of her 2022 season debut.

“I think it was utter dog crap,” Harrison said. “Sorry to the fans. I wanted to put on a better show for you. Sometimes, these girls are tougher than you think. I make it look easy sometimes, but other nights, not so much. My hat goes off to Marina. She’s a game opponent, very tough, very skilled. I wish her the best of luck in the upcoming season. Thank you guys for coming out and tuning in. I appreciate it. … You have to take everything with a grain of salt. This is a learning experience. I’m still young in my career. The more time I get in the cage, the better I’m going to get. I’m ready for the next one.”

The fight for Harrison was her first since a spotlighted free agency over the off-season. After talks with the UFC and Bellator, Harrison ultimately returned to PFL. She recently revealed on The MMA Hour that she initially signed with Bellator, but PFL had matching rights and ultimately obtained her services that way.

Since her professional MMA debut in 2018, Harrison has won all 13 fights including five TKOs, five submission, three decisions, and two $1 million championships. Her second fight of the 2022 PFL season is expected for July 1 against a yet-to-be-designated opponent.

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2022 PFL 3 results: Carlos Leal dominates, snaps Ray Cooper III’s lengthy winning streak

Carlos Leal accepted the fight approximately a week ago. Friday, he upset the defending, two-time PFL champion.

Perhaps fight fans weren’t overly familiar with the name [autotag]Carlos Leal[/autotag] as they entered 2022 PFL 3. One dominant victory later over two-time PFL champion [autotag]Ray Cooper III[/autotag] and things might’ve changed.

At 2022 PFL 3, Leal (17-3) battered Cooper (24-8-1) en route to a unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27). The fight served as the co-main event for the event, which was held Friday at Esports Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Leal, 29, entered the matchup against Cooper approximately one week ago, on a short-notice basis. His entry into the season came on the heels of back-to-back wins for PFL Challenger Series since Feb. 25.

From the opening bell, Leal didn’t look the slightest bit out of place. He actually showed evidence of the contrary. As the fight progressed, so did Leal’s dominance. He pummeled Cooper with knees and elbows in the clinch. His hands were heavy. Leal stunned Cooper in Round 2 and nearly finished the fight in the first half of Round 3.

Cooper showed resilience and even had his moments late in the fight. However, the damage was done as Leal swept the judges’ scorecards.

With the victory, Leal earns three points in the 2022 PFL welterweight standings. He has won 11 fights in a row, including an LFA welterweight title win in July 2021. His streak stretches all the way back to 2014.

Meanwhile, Cooper has his six-fight winning streak snapped. His most recent victory prior to Friday came in July 2019 when he was knocked unconscious by UFC alumnus John Howard. Ahead of 2022 PFL 3, Cooper missed the welterweight limit by 5.4 pounds.

The up-to-the-minute 2022 PFL 3 results include:

  • Carlos Leal def. Ray Cooper III via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)
  • Anthony Pettis def. Myles Price via submission (mounted triangle) – Round 1, 4:17
  • Rory MacDonald def. Brett Cooper via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:23
  • Larissa Pacheco def. Zamzagul Fayzallanova via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:25
  • Dilano Taylor def. Joao Zeferino via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Genah Fabian def. Julia Budd via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Sadibou Sy def. Nikolay Aleksakhin via split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
  • Jarrah Al-Silawi def. Gleison Tibau via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Olena Kolesnyk def. Abigail Montes via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Martina Jindrova def. Vanessa Melo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

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