3 of the best fighters on the PFL roster not named Francis Ngannou

Francis Ngannou is obviously the PFL's biggest signing so far, but he has yet to fight.
2024 PFL 2: Las Vegas
2024 PFL 2: Las Vegas / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

On January 2023, Francis Ngannou shocked MMA fans by leaving the UFC as its reigning heavyweight champion. Four months later, he joined the PFL, instantly becoming its highest-profile acquisition. He is a former heavyweight champion who has faced nothing but elite opposition in his last nine fights. He is a fearsome heavy hitter who can render his opponents unconscious in an instant. But here is the catch: he has yet to fight.

Ngannou is supposed to face 2023 heavyweight champion Renan Ferreira sometime soon but no date has been provided. However, there are other fighters on the roster who already have the experience to make a case for themselves as being the best the PFL has to offer. Here's three names we think have star power.

3. Denis Goltsov

Denis Goltsov is as experienced as any PFL heavyweight competitor can be. Entering the promotion off a stellar career in the Russian regionals, most notably, Tech-Krep FC and Absolute Championship Berkut (now Absolute Championship Akhmat), he immediately made a statement in his debut, pounding out UFC veteran Jared Rosholt.

He eventually qualified for the playoffs, going as far as the semifinals, where he would lose to eventual champion Ali Isaev. With Isaev not returning when the PFL resumed operations in 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic, Goltsov once again went on a winning run but came up short in the semifinals against eventual runner-up Ante Delija. Goltsov finally made the finals last season but was finished early by Renan Ferreira. But with Ferreira busy with the Ngannou super fight, he should be favored to finally clinch that elusive crown. And he has been off to a good start with a finish of former Bellator challenger Linton Vassell.

2. Impa Kasanganay

Impa Kasanganay may have the most name recognition of this group. He twice competed on Dana White's Contender Series, eventually getting a UFC contract in his second attempt. However, he was cut from the promotion after four fights. Looking for a new home, he joined the PFL as a light heavyweight, having fought at middleweight and welterweight beforehand. After winning a Challenger Series bout, he experienced a massive career resurgence, making the playoffs and eventually claiming the title with a convincing decision win over Josh Silveira. And while a middleweight return against Johnny Eblen did not go his way, he is still a force to be reckoned with in the current tournament, demolishing former LFA champion Alex Polizzi.

1. Dakota Ditcheva

Is there a better candidate to top this list than Dakota Ditcheva, a former Muay Thai and kickboxing prodigy and the PFL's undisputed golden girl? Before she entered the promotion, she was carefully scouted to ensure her growth. After finishing her opponents in a couple of showcase bouts, she immediately went into business in its European offshoot, dominating the women's flyweight tournament with stoppage wins at every stage.

That earned Ditcheva a spot in the newly-launched women's flyweight division, where she shone yet again, mauling Lisa Mauldin within one round to clinch the early standings lead via fastest time. If she continues performing like this all the way to the title, MMA may soon have a new superstar in its hands.

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