On Friday, Nov. 24, the PFL arrives at The Anthem in Washington D.C. for their yearly PFL Finals. The 2023 edition features a total of six title fights, with each winner leaving the Smartcage not just with the belt but with a $1 million bonus check.
The 2023 PFL Finals could also be the last ones that are hosted with only PFL talent given the company's acquisition of Bellator MMA, making these finals feel all the bit more special. Outside of the annual title fights hosted at the PFL Finals, fans will see the return of former two-time PFL champion Kayla Harrison, who is yet to compete this year.
That's not all. Former UFC ranked middleweight contender Derek Brunson steps into the Smartcage for the very first time, facing off against Ray Cooper III, who previously won the PFL's welterweight strap twice in his career.
As the final PFL event of the year looms, it is time to predict who will walk out as a champion, and a million dollars richer.
Ray Cooper III vs. Derek Brunson prediction
Derek Brunson did not get an easy fight for his PFL debut. The former UFC middleweight faces off against a man who has twice claimed the PFL welterweight title and comes with a record of 7-2-1 in his last 10 fights.
Ray Cooper III will be eager to show fans why he was made the betting favorite for the fight despite fighting Brunson at middleweight and not welterweight. He has been in much bigger fights than Brunson has and has the wrestling skills to offset his opponent's biggest strength. With Brunson being finished in his last two fights, expect Cooper III to go all out for the finish.
Prediction: Ray Cooper III by KO/TKO (Round 2)
Kayla Harrison vs. Aspen Ladd prediction
No fighter is as linked to the PFL as Kayla Harrison. The two-time Olympic gold medallist in judo has fought all 16 of her professional bouts inside the PFL, winning the women's lightweight tournament twice and reaching a third final.
The last time we saw one of the most intriguing female mixed martial artists was just under a year ago, when she tasted defeat for the first time in her career. It is still unknown whether this will be Harrison's final appearance for the PFL but she has been given a name fans will recognize for her potential last fight.
It didn't go all according to plan for Aspen Ladd, who steps in on relatively short notice, during her UFC run but she is proving to be a valuable asset to the PFL, especially if they continue with women's featherweight and lightweight in the years to come. Unfortunately, this is step up too big for her.
As Harrison prepares for potentially her last fight in the PFL, she'll put on a show and get out of there quickly.
Prediction: Kayla Harrison by submission (Round 1)