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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Danny Segura

PFL vs. Bellator champions card announced: Renan Ferreira vs. Ryan Bader, Jesus Pinedo vs. Patricio Freire, more

The highly anticipated showcase of PFL and Bellator champions is now set.

The inaugural PFL vs. Bellator event will go down Feb. 24 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. As part of the PFL’s super fight series, the card will stream on ESPN+ pay-per-view. The PFL announced the news Tuesday following an initial report by Ariel Helwani.

The event will feature four champion vs. champion showdowns scheduled for three, five-minute rounds. Neither the PFL nor Bellator title will be on the line in each matchup. Elbows, which aren’t traditionally allowed during the PFL season, will be permitted for this event.

“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 CEO Peter Murray said in a statement. “PFL Champions versus Bellator Champions is game changing for fighters and fans.”

Other crossover PFL vs. Bellator fights will take place, as well. Below is a full list of the fights scheduled to go down at the first PFL vs. Bellator event.

Renan Ferreira vs. Ryan Bader

2023 PFL Championships at The Anthem in Washington D.C., Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. (Scott Taetsch / PFL)

Ryan Bader (31-7) won the vacant Bellator heavyweight title after winning the Bellator heavyweight grand prix in 2019 and hasn’t lost it since. At the time of claiming gold, which he achieved by knocking out Fedor Emelianenko, he became a Bellator two-division champion, as he also held the Bellator light heavyweight title. Currently, Bader only holds the heavyweight title. The 40-year-old is currently on a three-fight winning streak and remains undefeated in the division.

Renan Ferreira (12-3) won the 2023 PFL heavyweight title this past November. He’s picked up 11 finishes in his 12 victories. Like Bader, Ferreira is on a three-fight winning streak. His only loss in the PFL came against Ante Delija in 2022.

Impa Kasanganay vs. Johnny Eblen

Johnny Eblen (14-0) is regarded as one of the best Bellator fighters today. Champion at 185 pounds, Eblen remains unbeaten in his MMA career while defeating the best names Bellator has to offer in the division. The American Top Team product defeated veteran Gegard Mousasi to win the Bellator middleweight title in 2022 and has since defended it two times.

Impa Kasanganay (15-3), a former UFC fighter, joined the PFL in 2023 and won that year’s season. He picked up three consecutive wins and then defeated Josh Silveira in the final back in November to claim the PFL light heavyweight title and the $1 million prize. Kasanganay will be dropping to middleweight to face Eblen.

Jesus Pinedo vs. Patricio Freire

Patricio Freire vs. Jesus Pinedo

Patricio Freire (35-7) is likely the most respected name on the entire Bellator roster. Not long ago, he was a two-division champion as he held both the featherweight and lightweight titles. Today, “Pitbull” is champion at 145 pounds. In 2023, he went 0-2 before getting sidelined due to injury. The Brazilian lost to Sergio Pettis in June in an attempt to capture the Bellator bantamweight title and become the first fighter to win titles in three weight classes and was knocked out by Chihiro Suzuki in a big upset at a Rizin event in Japan.

Jesus Pinedo (23-6-1), a former UFC fighter, pulled off one of the biggest surprises in PFL history. The Peruvian stopped Brenadan Loughnane, Bubba Jenkins, and Gabriel Braga en route to winning the 2023 PFL featherweight title. He’s currently 7-1 in his past eight fights. Pinedo’s only loss during that stretch came against Braga, which he later avenged.

Magomed Magomedkerimov vs. Jason Jackson

Jason Jackson (17-4) won the Bellator welterweight title this past November, upsetting Yaroslav Amosov in a third-round knockout victory. Jackson, who trains out of Kill Cliff, is currently on an impressive seven-fight winning streak. This run includes notable names such as Amosov, Douglas Lima, Paul Daley, Neiman Gracie, and Benson Henderson.

Magomed Magomedkerimov (35-6) has won two PFL welterweight seasons, one in 2018 and the other this past year in 2023. Magomedkerimov submitted Sadibou Sy in November to win the 2023 PFL welterweight title. He’s currently on a 19-1 run, with his only loss coming to Ray Cooper III in 2021.

Yoel Romero, A.J. McKee, Aaron Pico, Claressa Shields round out card

Here is the complete lineup for PFL vs. Bellator Champions:

MAIN CARD (ESPN+ pay-per-view, 3 p.m. ET)


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