Saudi Arabia Set to Host Epic MMA Showdown: PFL Champions Clash with Bellator Champions
The Riyadh Season has announced a groundbreaking pay-per-view event:
the PFL Champions vs. Bellator Champions.
This extraordinary mixed martial arts showdown, hosted by the Professional Fighters League (PFL) in partnership with the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), is set to take place at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, February 24.
This unprecedented Champions vs Champions fight card features four co-main fights of current PFL Champions vs current Bellator Champions.
In addition, the card features two compelling match-ups of previous PFL title challenges vs previous Bellator title challengers.
The first-ever PFL PPV Super Fight event will feature seven matchups between current and former champions, as well as title challengers from PFL and Bellator, and will be available on ESPN+ PPV and DAZN beginning at 3 pm ET.
In addition, three major showcase bouts will take place during the preliminary card.
In today’s landscape of combat sports, fans want to see the best fighters pitted against the best.
With PFL’s acquisition of Bellator, fight fans will see two MMA giants descend on Saudi Arabia to determine who comes out on top.
Newly designed Super Fight Championship belts and the future of PFL and Bellator highlight this spectacle of three-round super fights where elbows are legal and the winner-takes-all.
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In the main event, heavyweights collide when PFL’s Renan Ferreira (12-3), fresh off his emphatic second round TKO victory during the 2023 PFL Championship meets the first athlete in Bellator history to become champion in two weight divisions simultaneously, Ryan Bader (31-7).
Newly crowned PFL Light Heavyweight kingpin Impa Kasanganay (15-3) returns to 185- pounds for the first time since joining PFL when he challenges the man many fans consider to be the best middleweight on the planet, undefeated Johnny Eblen (14-0).
Two-time PFL champion Magomed Magomedkerimov (34-6), who is currently in the midst of a six-fight unbeaten streak puts his current run of success on the line against Bellator welterweight titlist Jason Jackson (17-4), the proud Jamaican recently put an end to the longest winning streak in MMA (27) when he won the title from Yaroslav Amosov.
At featherweight, the pride of Peru, Jesus Pinedo (23-6-1) returns to action fresh off his 2023 PFL Championship victory to take on one of Bellator’s most successful fighter of all- time, Brazil’s Patricio Pitbull (35-7), the current Bellator Featherweight Champion and former Lightweight Champion.
In addition to the four bouts featuring current PFL and Bellator champions, former heavyweight champ Bruno Cappelozza (15-6) welcomes former Bellator Light Heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov (17-2) to the 265-pound limit when they clash on February 24. A pair of heavy-handed former No. 1 contenders are also set to square off at 205-pounds when Brazil’s Thiago Santos (22-11) goes up against former Olympian Yoel Romero (15-7).
Rounding out the PPV portion of the spectacle will see the always exciting Clay Collard (24- 11) challenge former Bellator Featherweight Champion AJ McKee (21-1) in a special lightweight showdown of striking specialists.
During the Champions vs. Champions preliminary card, top featherweight contender from PFL Gabriel Braga (12-1) and top featherweight contender from Bellator Aaron Pico (12-4) will square off, while Biaggio Ali Walsh, grandson of the iconic boxer Muhammad Ali, makes his pro debut at 155-pounds.
Champions vs. Champions also will mark the return to the PFL SmartCage for Claressa Shields, the world’s greatest women’s boxer, rounding out a great collection of talent in MMA and combat sports.
Turki Alalshikh, Chairman of the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), said: “Riyadh Season is putting on some of the biggest fight events around and the PFL Champions vs Bellator Champions certainly belongs in that category.
“We are delighted to be the host for this first of its kind event, which will see some of the most exciting matchups and break new ground in the world of combat sports.”
PFL CEO Peter Murray commented:
“The Middle East is the fight capital of the world, and the Professional Fighters League is proud to bring the world’s best combat sports stars to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Riyadh Season to host the first-ever PFL PPV Super Fight mega-global event.
“PFL Champions versus Bellator Champions is game changing for fighters and fans.
I would like to thank HE Turki Alalshikh, the GEA and SRJ for this incredible opportunity to grow the sport of MMA in the The Kingdom and around the world.
Shay Segev, DAZN Group CEO, said: “We are delighted to once again partner with The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Riyadh Season for the PFL Champions vs Champions event.
“The PFL is one of the most exciting and innovative sports brands around.
This, coupled with Turki Alalshikh’s vision, will make 24 February a night to remember. Fight sports fans across the world will soon be able to tune in for a truly exceptional run of shows live from Riyadh on DAZN, including this PFL Mega event”.
(PPV Card - ESPN+ PPV and DAZN - 3 pm ET)
Heavyweight Champion vs. Champion Bout: Renan Ferreira (PFL World Champ) vs. Ryan Bader (Bellator Champ)
Middleweight Champion vs. Champion Bout: Impa Kasanganay (PFL Light Heavyweight World Champ) vs. Johnny Eblen (Bellator Champ)
Welterweight Champion vs. Champion Bout: Magomed Magomedkerimov (PFL World Champ) vs. Jason Jackson (Bellator Champ)
Featherweight Champion vs. Champion Bout: Jesus Pinedo (PFL World Champ) vs. Patricio Pitbull (Bellator Champ)
Heavyweight Showcase Bout: Bruno Cappelozza (former PFL World Champ) vs. Vadim Nemkov (former Bellator Champ)
Light Heavyweight Showcase Bout: Thiago Santos (PFL title contender) vs. Yoel Romero
(Bellator title contender)
Lightweight Showcase Bout: Clay Collard (PFL title contender) vs. AJ McKee (former Bellator Champ)
Early Card - ESPNEWS and ESPN+ (US) - 12 pm ET
Featherweight Showcase Bout: Gabriel Braga (PFL title contender) vs. Aaron Pico (Bellator title contender)
Lightweight Showcase Bout: Biaggio Ali Walsh (Pro Debut) vs. Chris Morris (Pro Debut)
Lightweight Showcase Bout: Claressa Shields vs. Kelsey DeSantis
Featherweight Showcase Bout: Abdullah Al-Qahtani vs. Edukondal Rao
Amateur Flyweight Bout: Malik Basahel vs. Vinicius Pereira
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