The Professional Fighters League (PFL) wrapped its 2022 season with the World Championship, featuring the last two fighters across six weight classes each battling for a PFL World Championship and a $1 million purse. In the night’s main event, Larissa Pacheco battled two-time PFL Women’s Lightweight champion Kayla Harrison over five thrilling rounds. Pacheco earned a razor thin unanimous decision, handing Harrison her first professional loss en route to her first Women’s Lightweight crown.
In the co-main event of the evening, Brendan Loughnane and Bubba Jenkins faced off in the PFL SmartCage for the PFL Featherweight World Championship. The suspenseful bout ended with Loughnane walking away a PFL champion, defeating Jenkins by 4th round TKO. Loughnane, who fights out of Manchester, England, moved his PFL record to 6-1 in his second season with the PFL, and finished the season with a perfect 4-0 record.
The Heavyweight division featured a clash between Ante Delija and Matheus Scheffel. After coming up short in the 2021 title fight, Delija earned the 2022 PFL Heavyweight championship after defeating Scheffel via 1st round TKO, and became the first Croatian crowned a PFL champion. Delija, the protégé of MMA great Mirko Cro Cop, finished the season with three knockouts.
“Tonight was a historic night for the PFL, our fighters and MMA fans around the world. The 2022 PFL World Championship, live from Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, delivered thrilling action, six world title fights and six $1 million dollar checks on MMA’s richest night,” said PFL CEO Peter Murray.
“The 2022 PFL World Championship crowned six world champions from six different nations,” said Ray Sefo, President of Fighter Operations of PFL. “From Larissa Pacheco’s amazing main event victory, to Biaggio Ali-Walsh impressing in his PFL debut, the evening had something for every MMA fan.”
Kicking off the main event, Robert Wilkinson and Omari Akhmedov clashed for the PFL Light Heavyweight championship. Wilkinson defeated Akhmedov via 2nd round TKO with a flurry of punches, and finished the season undefeated with 4 knockouts. Wilkinson became the first major MMA champion from the Australian island of Tasmania, and earned his sixth consecutive professional victory.
Olivier Aubin-Mercier squared off against Stevie Ray in a contest for the PFL Lightweight Championship. Aubin-Mercier, undefeated in the PFL, became the first fighter from Canada to win a PFL world title after defeating Ray via a 2nd round knockout. “The Canadian Gangster”, a protégé of MMA legend Georges St-Pierre, had one previous career knockout, and his second could not have come at a better time, as he earned the PFL Lightweight Championship.
In the PFL Welterweight Championship, PFL Challenger Series winner Dilano Taylor and Sadibou Sy went the distance, with Sy ultimately defeating Taylor by unanimous decision, winning his first PFL Welterweight Championship in his 4th season with the PFL. Sy, who fights out of Stockholm, Sweden, has qualified for the playoffs in every season, and his undefeated season culminates as an MMA world champion.
In the middle of the six Championship bouts was a highly anticipated showcase matchup between Julia Budd and Aspen Ladd. The contest went the three-round distance, and Ladd was victorious in her PFL debut, via split decision. The promotion’s recent signing is just 27 years old, and bumped her career record to 10-3.
Leading off the ESPN+ card was an PFL Amateur showcase bout featuring Biaggio Ali Walsh who made his PFL debut. Ali Walsh, the grandson of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, defeated Tom Graesser via 1st round KO, and earned the second straight 1st round TKO of his MMA career.
In a Women’s Flyweight affair, Dakota Ditcheva defeated Katherine Corogenes via 1st round KO. Ditcheva is the daughter of former kickboxing World champion, Lisa Howarth, and the Manchester native moved her undefeated record to 7-0 with her 6th career knockout.
Additional action saw 2018 PFL Welterweight champion, Magomed Magomedkerimov, match up with Gleison Tibau in a PFL Catchweight showcase. The bout lasted the full three rounds, with Magomedkerimov walking away with the victory by unanimous decision, improving his PFL record to 12-1.
Two-time PFL Lightweight champion Natan Schulte put on an impressive display in a Lightweight showcase bout against Jeremy Stephens. Schulte defeated Stephens in the 2nd round with an arm triangle choke submission, and boosted his PFL record to 12-2-1 across 4 PFL seasons.
Rounding out the showcase bout was a matchup between Sheymon Moraes and PFL newcomer Marlon Moraes. Sheymon spoiled the promotional debut for Marlon, and earned the victory via a 3rd round TKO. The result earned Sheymon his 7th career knockout, and the Brazilian has now won 4 of his last 5 PFL fights.
ESPN PPV Card
- Larissa Pacheco def. Kayla Harrison via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
- Brendan Loughnane def. Bubba Jenkins via 4th round TKO (2:38)
- Ante Delija def. Matheus Scheffel via 1st round TKO (2:50)
- Aspen Ladd def. Julia Budd via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Stevie Ray by 2nd round KO (4:40)
- Sadibou Sy def. Dilano Taylor via unanimous decision (49-46. 49-46, 49-46)
- Robert Wilkinson def. Omari Akhmedov via 2nd round TKO (5:00 – Dr. stoppage)
- Sheymon Moraes def. Marlon Moraes via 3rd round TKO (0:58 – punches)
- Natan Schulte def. Jeremy Stephens via 2nd round submission (1:32 – arm triangle choke)
- Magomed Magomedkerimov def. Gleison Tibau by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Dakota Ditcheva def. Katherine Corogenes via 1st round KO (4:20)
- Biaggio Ali-Walsh def. Tom Graesser via 1st round KO (0:45)
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