12 Fighters in Six Divisions Face Off For Season Title and $1 Million Prize
Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison Competes in Special Feature Fight
Todd Harris Calls the Action, Joined by Randy Couture, Bas Rutten, Yves Edwards, & Reporter Caroline Pearce
STAMFORD, Conn. – December 27, 2018 – Six $1 million grand prizes are at stake for 12 fighters who have advanced to the Professional Fighters League 2018 World Championship on New Year’s Eve. Live coverage of the event starts this Monday, Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN from the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden. Todd Harris calls the action, joined by MMA Hall of Famers and analysts Randy Couture and Bas Rutten, alongside Yves Edwards and reporter Caroline Pearce.
In a rematch from 2017, No.1-seed Steven Siler (32-17-1, 3-0-1 PFL) and No. 2 Lance Palmer (16-3-0, 4-0 PFL) square off in the featherweight final. Siler holds a division high 32 career wins after beating Alexandre Almeida in the semi-finals, while Palmer secured his spot in the championship after defeating unbeaten Andre Harrison. In the lightweight final, No. 1-seed Natan Schulte (14-3-1, 3-0-1 PFL) faces off against No. 7-seed Rashid Magomedov (22-2-1, 2-0-1 PFL), who secured the ninth knockout of his career in the semi-finals.
Fighters vying for the top prize at welterweight on Monday night include No. 1-seed Ray Cooper III (17-5, 4-0 PFL) facing No. 3-seed Magomed Magomedkerimov (22-5, 4-0 PFL). Cooper has won all four of his bouts this season by knockout, while Magomedkerimov is currently on a seven-fight win streak and has never been knocked out.
In the middleweight title bout, No. 1-seed Abus Magomedov (22-3-1, 3-0-1 PFL) squares off against No. 2-seed Louis Taylor (17-4-1, 3-0-1 PFL). Magomedov is unbeaten in his last ten fights, while Taylor has 10 wins in his last 12 fights, including five submissions. In the light heavyweight division, top seed Vinny Magalhaes (18-9-0, 4-0-0 PFL) faces No. 6-seed Sean O’Connell (20-10-0, 3-1-0 PFL). Magalhaes, a former Brazilian jiu jitsu world champion, defeated each of his four opponents this season in less than two minutes, with three of those wins coming by submission. O’Connell has 11 career knockouts.
No. 3-seed Philipe Lins (13-3-0, 3-0 PFL) is up against No. 8-seed Josh Copeland (18-5-1, 2-1-1 PFL) in the heavyweight championship. Lins stopped all three of his opponents this season, while Copeland earned a spot in the finals after an impressive one-punch KO in the semifinals.
Also on Monday night, two-time Olympic judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison competes in a special women’s lightweight event against Moriel Charneski. Harrison is 2-0 after beginning her MMA career in 2016, when she retired from judo. She will compete next season in the PFL in a women’s lightweight division, the first official lightweight division in women’s MMA.
The Professional Fighters League features a regular season, playoffs, and championship, and individual fighters compete in a win-and-advance postseason format. The 2018 PFL season consists of seven regular-season events, a bracket-style playoff, and a $10 million postseason prize pool. The top eight fighters in each of the six different weight classes advance to the playoffs, with one fighter in each division earning $1 million and the title of true champion.
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Following is the fight card for the Professional Fighter’s League Championships:
No. 1 Abus Magomedov vs. No. 2 Louis Taylor
No. 1 Steven Siler vs. No. 2 Lance Palmer
No. 1 Natan Schulte vs. No. 7 Rashid Magomedov
Special Event – Women’s Lightweight:
Kayla Harrison vs. Moriel Charneski
No. 1 Vinny Magalhaes vs. No. 6 Sean O’Connell
No. 3 Philipe Lins vs. No. 8 Josh Copeland
No. 1 Ray Cooper III vs. No. 3 Magomed Magomedkerimov
— NBC SPORTS —