Renan Ferreira, Johnny Eblen, Jason Jackson, AJ McKee, Yoel Romero and Vadim Nemkov victorious in unprecedented PFL Champions vs. Bellator Champions PPV event in Saudi Arabia

Professional Fighters League announces second international regional league PFL MENA coming April 2024

Bellator Champions Series launches in Belfast, Northern Ireland on March 22

The 2024 PFL Regular Season begins in San Antonio, TX on April 4

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA – February 24, 2024 – The Professional Fighters League (PFL) staged the biggest MMA event of the year: PFL Champions vs. Bellator Champions in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The eleven-bout card featured four bouts for the newly minted Super Belt, with additional action from the biggest names in combat sports taking place inside the PFL SmartCage.

In the highly anticipated main event, 2023 PFL Heavyweight Renan Ferreira seized the throne, scoring a TKO of Bellator Heavyweight Champion Ryan Bader 21 seconds into round one. Ferreira hoisted his Super Belt flanked by boxing icon Mike Tyson, and is now set to face combat sports superstar Francis “The Predator” Ngannou, who will make his PFL debut.

In the co-main event of the evening, 2023 PFL Light Heavyweight Champion Impa Kasanganay challenged undefeated Bellator Middleweight Champion Johnny Eblen. The back and forth affair went the three round distance with Eblen taking the victory via narrow split decision and a Super Belt.

“Tonight the Professional Fighters League and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were at the center of the MMA world,” said PFL CEO Peter Murray. “PFL Champions vs. Bellator Champions was the first-ever PFL PPV Super Fight global event and delivered electrifying action from the best fighters in MMA. The PFL remains committed to delivering premium MMA experiences to our fans around the globe.”

In the fourth fight of the PPV main card, two-time PFL Welterweight Champion Ray Cooper III challenged current Bellator Welterweight Champion Jason Jackson in a catchweight bout. Jackson defeated Cooper III via second round TKO to claim the Super Belt while improving his career record to 18-4.

2021 PFL Heavyweight Champion Bruno Cappelozza and former Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Vadim Nemkov went toe-to-toe in a Heavyweight bout. Nemkov caught Cappelozza in an arm-triangle submission, putting Cappelozza to sleep in the second round claiming the first Super Belt in the process.

The main card continued with Thiago Santos and Yoel Romero facing off in a Light Heavyweight matchup. Over the course of three rounds, Romero used leg kicks to nullify the reach of Santos, and earned the nod on all three of the judges’ scorecards for a unanimous decision victory.

The main PFL Champions vs. Bellator Champions action began with a Lightweight affair featuring PFL Lightweight Runner-Up, Clay Collard, and former Bellator Featherweight Champion, AJ McKee. McKee, who owns the longest winning streak in Bellator history, used his skill to force the always tough Collard to tap out after one minute of action.

Henry Corrales and Aaron Pico went toe-to-toe in a Lightweight rematch which closed out the early card. Corrales was no match for the offensive onslaught of Pico, who came out with a flurry of elbow strikes. Pico won his third consecutive bout with an opening round TKO.

In Lightweight action, Biaggio Ali Walsh, the grandson of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, stepped into the PFL SmartCage for the first time as a professional against Argentina’s Emmanuel Palacio. Ali Walsh dominated with his grappling and walked away with a unanimous decision win.

Further action on the early card featured the return of two-time Olympic gold medalist, Claressa Shields, who weathered the early submission attempts from the powerful Kelsey De Santis. Shields regrouped to win a closely contested split decision.

Abdullah Al-Qahtani, the first fighter to represent Saudi Arabia in the PFL, stepped back into the PFL SmartCage to face Edukondal Rao in a Featherweight contest. Al-Qahtani stopped Rao by TKO in the third round of a fight that featured exciting standup exchanges.

Kicking off the action in the early card, Saudi Arabia’s Malik Basahel defeated Brazil’s Vinicius Pereira via unanimous decision in an amateur Flyweight showcase bout. Basahel’s victory improves his amateur record to 18-2-1.

PFL vs. Bellator Results & Highlights

Main Card:

  • Heavyweight Main Event: Renan Ferreira def. Ryan Bader via TKO: R1, 0:21
  • Middleweight Co-Main Event: Johnny Eblen def. Impa Kasanganay via decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) via split decision
  • Featherweight: Patrício Pitbull vs. Gabriel Braga
  • Catchweight (182lbs): Jason Jackson def. Ray Cooper III via TKO: R2, 0:23
  • Heavyweight: Vadim Nemkov def. Bruno Cappelozza via submission (arm-triangle choke): R2, 2:13
  • Light Heavyweight: Yoel Romero def. Thiago Santos via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Lightweight: AJ McKee def. Clay Collard via submission (armbar): R1, 1:10

Preliminary Card:

  • Featherweight: Aaron Pico def. Henry Corrales via TKO: R2, 4:53
  • Lightweight: Biaggio Ali Walsh def. Emmanuel Palacio via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Women’s Catchweight (165lbs): Claressa Shields def. Kelsey DeSantis via split decision  (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Featherweight: Abdullah Al-Qahtani def. Edukondal Rao via TKO: R3, 0:23
  • Amateur Catchweight (129lbs): Malik Basahel def. Vinicius Pereira via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)

Malik Basahel Def. Vinicius Pereira

Abdullah Al-Qahtani Def. Edukondal Rao

Claressa Shields Def. Kelsey DeSantis

Aaron Pico Def. Henry Corrales

AJ McKee Def. Clay Collard

Yoel Romero Def. Thiago Santos

Vadim Nemkov Def. Bruno Cappelozza

Jason Jackson Def. Ray Cooper III

Johnny Eblen Def. Impa Kasanganay