2022 PFL Finals: Early preview and predictions.
The Professional Fighters League’s 2022 championships are set and will take place on Friday, Nov. 25. PFL will host their fourth championship finals and award six winners with a life-changing check of one million dollars.
PFL will have six champions belts up for contention- featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight and women’s lightweight.
The notable names on this card include the two-time champion, Kayla Harrison, Brendan Loughnane, Stevie Ray, Olivier Aubin-Mercier, and Rob Wilkinson.
PFL predictions for gold and one million dollars
Kayla Harrison (15-0) vs Larissa Pacheco (18-4)
The two-time PFL lightweight champion, Kayla Harrison will face the challenger, Larissa Pacheco, for a third time, and a second time for the belt. Harrison previously defeated Pachecho in the 2019 championship finale via unanimous decision, and earlier in the same season with the same result.
The undefeated champ (15-0) has finished seven out of her last eight opponents and will look to make a statement that she can finish the Brazilian contender. Pachecho is arguably Harrison’s toughest opponent in the promotion considering she has finished the previous five women across from her in the ring. The challenger has a history of being finished before, particularly all three times from UFC fighters.
The fight can go one or two ways- Harrison closes the distance, finds the clinch, and secures a dominant position on the ground to ultimately finish Pachecho by way of ground and pound. The other scenario and the most unlikely is that Pachecho pressures Harrison into a mistake and catches her with a spam of punches for a TKO.
Harrison will continue to prove that she is levels above the competition in PFL, and she will show once more by finally finishing Pachecho and remaining champion.
Prediction: Kayla Harrison via round 3 TKO/KO
Stevie Ray (25-10) vs Olivier Aubin-Mercier (16-5)
The most anticipated match is between these two-well rounded fighters who are expected to deliver the fight of the night. Ray has the experience and the striking advantage, meanwhile Aubin-Mercier is undefeated in the PFL with a five-fight winning streak.
Both fighters have nine submissions on their record and have recently controlled or submitted their opponent to get to this point, so the grappling exchanges should be even. The expectation is that will be purely a stand-up showcase with the grit of whoever wants it more over five rounds will become champion.
Ray has been finished multiple times before and Aubin-Mercier is known to dictate fights and score unanimous decisions.
Prediction” Olivier Aubin-Mercier via unanimous decision
Brendan Loughnane (25-4) vs Bubba Jenkins (19-5)
This featherweight matchup will be all action from the touch of the glove to the last strike thrown. Loughnane and Jenkins is the typical striker versus wrestler MMA fight with high pace and back-and-forth exchanges.
The UK fighter, Loughnane, displayed a striking clinic in his home country against Chris Wade this past weekend. Jenkins had a highlight reel himself when his performance was quick and dominant by submitting Ryoji Kudo in under two minutes in the first round.
Both fighters are entering this championship fight with momentum and three-fight-winning streaks. It’s notable that Jenkins also shared Wade as an opponent but lost via unanimous decision approximately a year ago.
The fight slightly favors Loughnane due to his striking advantage, impressive takedown defense, and footwork of constantly switching stances that will make it challenging for Jenkins to land a takedown.
Prediction: Brendan Loughnane via unanimous decison
Omari Akhmedov (24-7-1) vs Rob Wilkinson (16-2)
These two light heavyweights will deliver a finish of some kind, particularly when both have combined to submit or knock out five of their last six opponents.
The breakdown for his bout is Wilkinson’s superb boxing technique and excellent takedown defense should neutralize Akhmedov’s chances of winning. Akhemdov has respectable grappling and power in his punches, but he has been hurt and finished before.
Wilkinson is on a six-fight finishing streak, in which four of them are by way of KO/TKO in the PFL. The Australian is more skilled and the takeaway from this matchup is he has more ways to win that his opponent. An early finish is expected.
Prediction: Rob Wilkinson via round 2 TKO/KO
Ante Delija (22-5) vs Matheus Scheffel (17-8)
Atypical of the heavyweight division, this championship fight will end with a KO/TKO. Delija and Scheffel shared the ring earlier in the season with Delija coming out victorious with a second TKO.
Delija has finished two of three opponents he has faced his season and plans to make an exclamation point by having a repeat performance from his past April. Scheffel has bounced back from his defeat by winning a unanimous decision and finishing a short-notice opponent, Juan Adams.
Scheffel is a fighter who typically lives or dies by the sword, particularly when he has 12 wins by KO/TKO and six losses by the same result. Delija is a more well-rounded fighter will better striking technique and grappling.
In their bout earlier in the year Delija controlled the center of the ring, secured a single-leg takedown by running the pipe, and later in the round dropped Scheffel with a jab in the first round. In the second round, Scheffel landed a body kick and Delija countered with a right across into the ground and pound finish.
Delija will take his time and pick his shots carefully until finishing Scheffel once more.
Prediction: Ante Delija via round 3 TKO/KO
Dilano Taylor (10-2) vs Sadibou Sy (12-6-2) (170 lbs.)
The welterweight bout between Taylor and Sy is a prime example of an up-and-coming prospect versus an experienced veteran. The fight will likely stay on the striking side with whoever delivers more volume and power will walk away with a million dollars and the PFL belt.
Taylor impressed many in his previous fight when finishing the legend, Rory MacDonald, via ground and pound in the first round. Sy utilized his jab, length, and power to win the majority of his striking exchanges against his previous opponent, Carlos Leal.
Taylor and Sy do share two common opponents- Rory MacDonald, which both earned a victory over, and Magomed Magomedkerimov, which both have a loss. Sy lost via unanimous decision and Taylor was defeated via TKO.
It’s important to note that both fighters have a 50/50 ratio of their fights going to a decision or a finish. Sy’s experience should prevail in the early storm of Taylor and the fight is expected to hit the judges’ scorecards.
Prediction: Sadibou Sy via unanimous decision