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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Matt Erickson

How to watch PFL vs. Bellator: Champions – Who’s fighting, lineup, start time, pay-per-view info

For the first time since the merger, Bellator and PFL fighters will go head-to-head Saturday in Saudi Arabia. The PFL vs. Bellator: Champions event features champ-vs.-champ matchups, other titleholders, a big pro debut, and the return of a boxing legend.

Here’s how to watch the PFL vs. Bellator: Champions pay-per-view with lineups, fight info and much more.

Broadcast and streaming info

PFL 6 Ceremonial weigh-ins at the Overtime Elite arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Wednesday, April 27, 2022. (Matt Ferris / PFL).

The PFL vs. Bellator: Champions event takes place Saturday at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The prelims stream on ESPN+ at 12:30 p.m. ET. The main card airs on pay-per-view (ESPN+) at 3 p.m. ET and features two big champion-vs.-champion fights at the top of the lineup.

Former UFC fighter and PFL season winner Sean O'Connell will man play-by-play duties, as he’s done since the start of the PFL tournament format in 2018. Chael Sonnen, who has worked with both PFL and Bellator in the past, will provide color commentary, as will longtime PFL commentator and fellow Pacific Northwesterner Randy Couture and former UFC title challenger Dan Hardy.

Officiating pioneer “Big” John McCarthy transitions from his role as Bellator color commentator to rules and scoring analyst to provide insight to potential regulatory happenings in real time.

Coming over from the Bellator brand, Amanda Guerra will provide reporting and interviews from backstage and in the crowd. Josh Thomson will partake in a reporter role, but his will be from the corners, as he conducts interviews with the fighters’ teams.

Ian Parker will provide insight into the world of sports betting, as he’s done for the UFC and PFL in the past. Also breaking down the betting lines will be longtime sports personality Jonathan Coachman, who has previously worked as on-air talent for WWE and a pre-show analyst for PFL.

– Mike Bohn, MMA Junkie

Heavyweight: Renan Ferreira vs. Ryan Bader

Renan Ferreira vs. Ryan Bader

Renan Ferreira (12-3) won PFL’s 2023 $1 million heavyweight season with a second-round knockout of Denis Goltsov this past November. He’s always a threat with his hands with 10 of his 12 wins by KO, and that’s likely his way to a win over Bellator heavyweight champ Ryan Bader (31-7). Bader, who also held the promotion’s 205-pound title simultaneously, has never lost a decision. If it goes to the judges, his hand is going up – historically, anyway. Over the past two years, Bader has title defenses over Valentin Moldavsky, Cheick Kongo and Fedor Emelianenko.

Middleweight: Impa Kasanganay vs. Johnny Eblen

Impa Kasanganay vs. Johnny Eblen

Impa Kasanganay (15-3) won the 2023 PFL middleweight $1 million season with a decision over Josh Silveira. That’s quite a big leap from the man who fizzled out of the UFC at 2-2 less than three years ago. He’ll have maybe the biggest test of his career against Bellator champ Johnny Eblen (14-0), who comes in unbeaten. That Eblen trains at American Top Team and Kasanganay is at nearby Kill Cliff MMA might add a nice backstory. Eblen beat Gegard Mousasi to win the title in 2022, then topped Anatoly Tokov and UFC champ Leon Edwards’ brother Fabian in successful title defenses.

Other crossover matchups

Jason Jackson and Scott Coker

Two-time PFL welterweight $1 million winner Ray Cooper III (25-9-1) takes on Bellator champion Jason Jackson (17-4). Cooper stepped in for 2023 PFL winner Magomed Magomedkerimov, who had to pull out with an injury.

Bruno Cappelozza (16-6), the PFL’s 2021 heavyweight $1 million winner, takes on former Bellator light heavyweight champ Vadim Nemkov (17-2). Thiago Santos (22-12) and Yoel Romero (15-7) both former UFC fighters, meet at light heavyweight; Santos signed with the PFL in 2023 after nearly 10 years with the UFC, while Romero has gone 2-2 for Bellator since coming over after seven years in the UFC.

In addition, 2023 lightweight runner-up Clay Collard (24-11) takes on former Bellator featherweight champion A.J. McKee (21-1), one of the faces of that promotion at the time of the two companies’ merger. And 2023 featherweight runner-up Gabriel Braga (12-1) takes on Bellator standout Aaron Pico (12-4).

Pro debut

2023 PFL 5: Atlanta at the OTE Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, Friday, June 16, 2023. (Cooper Neill / PFL)

Biaggio Ali Walsh (0-0), a grandson of all-time boxing legend Muhammad Ali, will make his pro MMA debut after a perfect amateur career when he takes on Emmanuel Palacio (1-0) at lightweight.

Key return

Claressa Shields vs. Kelsey DeSantis

One of the boxing world’s greatest women fighters of all time, Claressa Shields (1-1), will continue her quest to become an MMA champion when she takes on Kelsey De Santis (1-2). But instead of the fight taking place at lightweight, where Shields has her first two pro fights, or featherweight, which has been De Santis’ division, the matchup has been contracted to take place at 165 pounds.

Full fight card

Clay Collard vs. A.J. McKee

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 3 p.m. ET)

  • Renan Ferreira vs. Ryan Bader
  • Impa Kasanganay vs. Johnny Eblen
  • Ray Cooper III vs. Jason Jackson
  • Bruno Cappelozza vs. Vadim Nemkov
  • Thiago Santos vs. Yoel Romero
  • Clay Collard vs. A.J. McKee


  • Gabriel Braga vs. Aaron Pico
  • Biaggio Ali Walsh vs. Emmanuel Palacio
  • Claressa Shields vs. Kelsey De Santis
  • Abdullah Al-Qahtani vs. Edukondala Rao

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for PFL vs. Bellator: Champions.

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