Following PFL’s debut show in 2021 is the loaded PFL 2021 #2 card featuring veterans and legends of the sport such as Rory MacDonald. Last week’s card was filled with upsets and the underdogs definitely had their night, and I’m excited to see if this card will be the same way. Alongside MacDonald are other former UFC fighters like the TUF 3 Brazil champion Antonio Carlos Junior and Gleison Tibau. This week’s card will begin on Thursday April 29th, at 5:30 PM EST on ESPN+ and the main card at 9 PM EST on ESPN 2. With lots of action to look forward to on Thursday night, let’s get into my predictions for the night.
Rory MacDonald vs Curtis Millender
The main event for PFL 2021: #2 will feature the former Bellator welterweight champion and UFC title challenger, Rory MacDonald versus the Curtis Millender, who also competed in the UFC and Bellator. Both of these fighters are currently on losing skids, but understandably so as they have been fighting top level competition recently. MacDonald’s PFL debut is something I have been anticipating for a while now because even though Rory has been in the game for so long, he is still only 31 years old, which baffles me. Another reason I’m looking forward to MacDonald’s debut is he recently switched camps from Tristar to Sanford MMA in Florida. MacDonald’s striking has always been elite, but I’m interested to see how working with Henry Hooft had changed his game. His opponent, Curtis Millender was once a promising prospect in the UFC, starting out 3-0, but since then he has faced some challenges. Millender is a skilled martial artist with several finishes on his record by way of knockout. Millender is also making his debut in the PFL and a victory in the regular season over a name like Rory MacDonald would be huge for him. I see this fight playing out mainly on the feet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rory brings it to the ground, as 3 of Millender’s 6 professional defeats have come by way of submission. Overall, I believe that MacDonald has the advantage in this fight, and I expect him to secure the victory.
My Pick: Rory MacDonald via Unanimous Decision.
Ray Cooper III vs Jason Ponet
The 2019 PFL welterweight champion will be making his return against the French newcomer, Jason Ponet. Cooper has been in the PFL since it rebranded from the World Series of Fighting and though he fell short in his first season, he was able to capture the welterweight strap in 2019. Jason Ponet on the other hand, is making his PFL debut but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t fought strong competition. Ponet has fought all across Europe and even in Abu Dhabi in UAE Warriors. Cooper is currently a huge favorite in this matchup, currently a -600 favorite, but I think this fight is a lot closer than these odds indicate. Ponet has won four of his last five and I believe he could be a challenge for Cooper. That being said, Cooper is the favorite for a reason as he has won seven of his ten fights in the PFL. I can almost guarantee this fight will definitely be exciting as Cooper has a 100% finish rate, having finished all 20 of his professional victories. I think Cooper is more skilled overall and will likely win this fight.
My Pick: Ray Cooper III via TKO
João Zeferino vs Gleison Tibau
The second fight on the main card will be in the welterweight division between João Zeferino and the former UFC contender Gleison Tibau. Both men are true veterans of Mixed Martial Arts as they have both been fighting for well over a decade now. Zeferino has been competing in the PFL/WSOF for six years now and while he has yet to capture the title yet, he is definitely still in contention to do so. Not too long ago, Tibau was a few victories away from being the lightweight champion in the UFC. Since then, he’s run into some issues Since then he’s faced some adversity, nevertheless, he is still a solid fighter. An interesting thing to note in this fight is that Tibau is moving up from his normal weight class of lightweight to welterweight, so he might prove to be more durable this time around. I hope that this fight will feature grappling and striking exchanges as Zeferino and Tibau are excellent grapplers.
My Pick: Gleison TIbau via Unanimous Decision
Emiliano Sordi vs Chris Camozzi
Opening up the main card will be a light heavyweight bout between the 2019 PFL Light Heavyweight Champion Emiliano Sordi versus the PFL newcomer Chris Camozzi. Sordi has looked fantastic in his recent performances as he is currently on a five-fight winning streak, finishing all of those fights as well. Camozzi is a former UFC middleweight and since parting ways with the UFC has competed in Mixed Martial Arts, kickboxing, and even grappling tournaments. It will be interesting to see how Camozzi has sharpened his skills in his time away from the sport as he certainly has a challenge in front of him with Emiliano Sordi. Sordi is a finisher with 14 career knockouts, seven submissions and only one decision victory in his professional victory. If he can perform like he did in the 2019 season, I see him winning on Thursday and throughout the regular and post season.
My Pick: Emiliano Sordi via TKO
Antonio Carlos Junior vs Tom Lawlor
My Pick: Antonio Carlos Junior via Unanimous Decision
Vinny Magalhaes vs Jordan Young
My Pick: Jordan Young via Unanimous Decision
Cezar Ferreira vs Nick Roehrick
My Pick: Nick Roehrick Via Unanimous Decision
Sadibou Sy vs Nikolay Aleksakhin
My Pick: Nikolay Aleksakhin via TKO
Dan Spohn vs Marthin Hamlet Nielsen
My Pick: Marthin Hamlet Nielsen via Unanimous Decision