This coming Thursday, the cage doors down in Arlington, Texas, will once again be locked shut for PFL 2, the next card of the 2022 season. A Heavyweight bout between Bruno Cappelozza and Stuart Austin tops the card, with unmissable scraps scattered throughout.
Last Wednesday, PFL kicked off their 2022 season with a staggering opening card, with the main event resulting in a fight of the year contender between Jeremy Stephens and Clay Collard. Also on the blockbuster opener was debuting, Simeon Powell, who scored a beautiful fadeaway knee KO over Clinton Williams.
The quick turnaround sees another electrifying card on paper with more points up for grabs, this time in the Featherweight and Heavyweight Division, with all 10 fighters from both divisions in action. Last seasons Featherweight champion, Movlid Khaybulaev, will not be taking part in this season due to injury, pathing the path for a new Featherweight king to be crowned. Current Heavyweight champion, Bruno Cappelozza, will look to yet again be the beneficiary of $1 million, when he looks to retain his Heavyweight title.
Bubba Jenkins vs Kyle Bochniak – Featherweights
Any fight that includes the name, Kyle Bochniak, should automatically send goosebumps down your spine. The former UFC fighter has a taste for war, and not only that, he has a chin made of granite. One of his most memorable fights was against Zabit Magomedsharipov. Throughout their fight, Bochniak was walking down and stalking the Dagestani native, showing tremendous heart, despite losing the bout. Showing heart and walking down his opponent is a running theme in any of Bochniak’s fights. The fight will be Bochniak’s first under the PFL banner, with the 35-year-old fully prepared to show off his crisp boxing. On the other side stands, Bubba Jenkins. The 34-year-old is looking to go one better than last seasons outing, and this time, be crowned the Featherweight champion. During the 2021 season, Jenkins totted up wins over Lance Palmer and Bobby Moffett, booking his place in the Featherweight tournament. The former NCAA Division 1 Wrestling champion will look to implement his wrestling dominant background, and hope to start the season by picking up some extremely valuable points.
Brendan Loughnane vs Ryoji Kudo – Featherweights
Another Featherweight bout taking place this coming Thursday, is between, Manchester’s own, Brendan Loughnane, and Japanese fighter, Ryoji Kudo. Loughnane picked up 2 wins last season, finishing the season top of the Featherweight table with 9 points after scoring a finish in round 1 and also, a decision victory. The Mancunian unfortunately came up short in the Semi-Final versus the 2021 Featherweight champion, Movlid Khaybulaev. Although Loughnane cannot seek revenge this season with Khaybulaev out, he can seek redemption, and become the new PFL Featherweight champion. First in his path stands Ryoji Kudo. This will be the first PFL fight for the former Shooto and ONE championship fighter, with there being no doubt that Kudo will want to make a dashing first impression and cause the upset in the opening fight of the Featherweight season.
Cappelozza vs Austin – Heavyweights
In the featured main event of the evening, and seeing off the blockbuster undercard, is last seasons PFL Heavyweight champion, Bruno Cappelozza, who takes on Stuart Austin. Both men will be looking to score a ‘quick six’ in the opening Heavyweight bout of the season, with Cappelozza hoping to once again, be crowned Heavyweight king, and be presented with a cheque for $1 million. On the opposite side of the cage stands, Stuart Austin, former BAMA Heavyweight champion, who himself, is looking to become $1 million richer. The 33-year-old, fighting out of Titan Gym, in London England, holds a submission victory over top UFC Heavyweight, Tom Aspinall. Austin is looking to mount an upset by beating last seasons Heavyweight Champion, in his first PFL main event, and only his second fight under the PFL lights. He faces a tough test in the Brazilian, Cappelozza, with the 32-year-old having finished 3 of his 4 victories in PFL.
UK and Irish residents can watch the entire main card on Channel 4 from 2:00am, with the prelims available on Channel 4’s YouTube channel.
Who do you see sitting at the top of the Featherweight and Heavyweight table come Friday morning? Let us know in the comments section!
Fight To Watch | Muhammad Mokaev vs Charles Johnson
Fights are being booked fast and furiously for July 23rd as the UFC’s anticipated return to London approaches. With fireworks expected throughout the whole event, MMAPlay365 and VMTV have scoured through the card and selected Muhammad Mokaev vs Charles Johnson as our ‘Fight To Watch’ on the night.
Muhammad Mokaev returns to the octagon following a successful debut back at UFC London in March against Cody Durden. ‘The Punisher’ made light work of his American counter-part, submitting him in the first round via guillotine choke with very little problems. His upcoming opponent, Charles Johnson, signs with the UFC after an impressive four-fight winning streak on LFA, which saw him capture and defend flyweight gold.
His ability to mix it up on the feet and in grappling scenarios make this a much more dangerous bout for Mokaev stylistically, but it’s still nothing the 21 year old won’t be able to handle in the eyes of MMAPlay365 Founder, Adam Newsome:
“At this stage of Muhammad Mokaev’s UFC career every fight is going to be a test. And just because you haven’t heard of Charles Johnson doesn’t mean he isn’t a good fighter. Johnson was the Flyweight Champion in LFA. If you aren’t familiar with LFA it’s basically the American equivalent of Cage Warriors. You are battle tested in LFA and if you become a Champion the chances are the UFC are going to sign you.
So this is a very interesting match-up but still right now I don’t think that Mokaev gets tested enough to the point he loses. This is going to be another fight I see him doing extremely well in and I don’t see Mokaev losing a fight until he hits the top 20 of the division. But even when that time comes, he is going to have improved and developed so much that he could run through that pool of fighters at that time. If a fighter is going to beat Mokaev outside the best fighters in the division then now is the time to do it whilst he’s still developing. But even though he’s still developing he’s still a problem. I’m not sure Mokaev finds another finish here so I am predicting a dominant three round decision victory for Muhammad Mokaev.”
Cauley Quilty, Editor for VMTV, had this to say on the fight: “Muhammad Mokaev is always a treat to watch in action and his UFC debut back in March was nothing short of spectacular! He came to fight and did exactly that getting the first round finish and I see him doing the same thing when he steps back out there against Charles Johnson. His extensive amateur career and impressive run of professional performances make it almost impossible to not side with Mokaev in this bout, especially with the way he defeated Durden on his debut.
However, Charles Johnson isn’t an opponent anyone should underestimate as his resume and recent performances speak for themselves! His fight vs Carlos ‘Mota’ Tizil was a barnburner and with 8 of his 11 wins coming by way of finish you know he can get the job done when needed. Both fighters are highly touted and respected so expect the winner of this to receive a bump up in competition on their next outing.”
Who do you think leaves the ‘Fight To Watch’ with their hand raised? Be sure to let us know your predictions below!
Sumo | Summer Tournament wide open after 10 days
The Sumo Summer Tournament has a surprise joint-leader after 10 days, but many Rikishi are in with a shout of glory with only 5 days to go.
So far, only two have managed to achieve a guaranteed winning record, with M15 ranked Ichiyamamoto and M4 Takanosho posting 8-2 records 10 days in to the basho. It remains to be seen if he can keep up his championship challenge, but Ichiyamamoto is bringing back memories of the January 2020 basho when the M17 ranked Tokushoryu took home the title in a huge surprise. Whatever happens, Ichiyamamoto should see himself catapulted up the rankings for the next tournament if he can keep up this form. It is a welcome return to form for Takanosho who has previously been a Sekiwake.
Despite his patchy form, Terunofuji has scrapped himself to a 7-3 record, which puts him 1 behind the leaders in a large chasing pack. On day 10 he managed to get by a spirited Hoshoryu who is improving all the time. The Mongolian giant will be hopeful of taking home his first championship of the year. Others in the pack on 7-3 are Kiribayama, Ura, Sadanoumi and Aoiyama. With NINE more wrestlers on 6-4, only two behind the leaders and with an outside shot, there will be an amazing 16 Rikishi who may be dreaming of lifting the Emperor’s Cup come Sunday 22nd May. The chances of there being a playoff for the win for the second tournament running are looking pretty high.
Down at the other end of the table, it has been another tournament to forget for March’s playoff runner-up, Takayasu, who has posted a losing record of 2-8 so far. After doing so well to get himself back to M1 rank, he will find himself going down the rankings ahead of the July tournament. Ozeki Shodai has continued his poor form and one more defeat will once again see him staring down the possibility of losing his rank come July. March winner Wakatakakage, alongside fellow Sanyaku ranked competitors Abi, Takakeisho and Mitakeumi, are all fighting for winning records having gone 5-5 so far.
Keep an eye out for the next update after Saturday’s day 14 when I will be recapping the standings and looking ahead to what promises to be a very exciting final-day’s action.
Remember to check out the VMTV Sumo introduction and guide here if you need a refresher of the rules and some of the words used in these articles.
You can find the full rankings and results of the tournament so far at the Japan Sumo Association’s page here.
UFC London | Aspinall vs Blaydes Staff Predictions
The UFC will take centre stage once again in London as they return to UK shores for a second time this year on July 23rd. Following the immense success of the previous show in March, the O2 Arena will again play host to another stacked night of fights.
Headlining the card is surging heavyweight contender Tom Aspinall who will be looking to cement his name amongst the top ranked in the division with a win over #4 ranked Curtis Blaydes. It’s do or die for Darren Till when he faces Jack Hermansson in the co-main event as he aims to get his first win since 2019.
Leading up to the event, VMTV have teamed up with MMAPlay365 and our writing staff will be giving their predictions for each fight on the card as there announced. You can view details on the partnership between VMTV and MMAPlay365 here.
Tom Aspinall vs Curtis Blaydes
- Cauley – Curtis Blaydes via KO/TKO, R4
- Matt – Tom Aspinall via decision
- Jamie -Tom Aspinall via KO/TKO, R3
- Jake – Tom Aspinall via KO/TKO, R3
- Darragh – Curtis Blaydes via KO/TKO, R3
- Harry – Tom Aspinall via KO/TKO, R3
- Colin – Tom Aspinall via KO/TKO, R2
Darren Till vs Jack Hermansson
- Cauley – Jack Hermansson via decision
- Matt – Darren Till via KO/TKO, R2
- Jamie – Darren Till via decision
- Jake – Darren Till via decision
- Darragh – Jack Hermansson via submission, R3
- Harry – Jack Hermansson via decision
- Colin – Darren Till via decision
Nikita Krylov vs Alexander Gustafsson
- Cauley – Nikita Krylov via decision
- Matt – Nikita Krylov via KO/TKO, R1
- Jamie – Alexander Gustafsson via decision
- Jake – Nikita Krylov via submission, R1
- Darragh – Nikita Krylov via decision
- Harry – Alexander Gustafsson via decision
- Colin – Nikita Krylov via decision
Paul Craig vs Volkan Oezdemir
- Cauley – Paul Craig via submission, R1
- Matt – Paul Craig via submission, R2
- Jamie – Paul Craig via submission, R2
- Jake – Paul Craig via submission, R2
- Darragh – Paul Craig via submission, R1
- Harry – Paul Craig via submission, R2
- Colin – Paul Craig via submission, R2
Muhammed Mokaev vs Charles Johnson
- Cauley – Muhammed Mokaev via KO/TKO, R2
- Matt – Muhammed Mokaev via submission, R1
- Jamie – Muhammed Mokaev via submission, R2
- Jake – Muhammed Mokaev via decision
- Darragh – Muhammed Mokaev via KO/TKO, R1
- Harry – Muhammed Mokaev via decision
- Colin – Muhammed Mokaev via submission, R1
Molly McCann vs Hannah Goldy
- Cauley – Molly McCann via KO/TKO, R3
- Matt – Molly McCann via decision
- Jamie – Molly McCann via KO/TKO, R2
- Jake – Molly McCann via decision
- Darragh – Molly McCann via decision
- Harry – Molly McCann via decision
- Colin – Molly McCann via decision
Mandy Bohm vs Victoria Leonardo
- Cauley – Victoria Leonardo via KO/TKO, R2
- Matt – Mandy Bohm via decision
- Jamie – Mandy Bohm via decision
- Jake – Mandy Bohm via decision
- Darragh – Mandy Bohm via decision
- Harry – Mandy Bohm via decision
- Colin – Mandy Bohm via decision
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