The PFL 2022 season is officially underway and this week’s card features the opening round of bouts for the featherweight division. With last year’s featherweight winner and reigning champion Movlid Khaybulaev unable to defend his title due to an injury, there will be a new featherweight winner guaranteed. With that in mind, get to know the 10-men aiming to emerge victorious in this season’s tournament.
Brendan Loughnane (21-4)
After he was controversially denied a UFC contract after winning on Dana White’s Contender Series, Brendan Loughnane’s signing with the PFL added a lot of intrigue to the 145-pound division. In his first tournament last year, Loughnane made it to the semi-finals where he lost to the undefeated Khaybulaev who went on to win the tournament. A first-round stoppage over Sheymon Moraes and a dominant performance against Tyler Diamond proved what everyone already knew, that Loughnane deserves all the credit he gets as a top tier featherweight. He’s also the man that UK fans have to thank for the PFL being on Channel 4 so he has already made quite an impact.
Chris Wade (20-7)
Another one of last season’s top performers whose campaign was stopped by Khaybulaev was Chris Wade. Competing in the PFL since 2018 after a 7-fight run in the UFC, Wade has made it to the later stages of the tournament on each occasion but has never won it. Wade will face a tough test in his first fight this season, taking on two-time winner Lance Palmer who despite having 12 fights in the PFL, he is yet to face.
Lance Palmer (22-5)
A four-time NCAA Division 1 All-American wrestler, Lance Palmer used his wrestling credentials to win back-to-back featherweight tournaments in 2018 and 2019. With a lot of dominant decision wins on his PFL resume, Palmer attempted to make it three in a row once the PFL returned in 2021. After his two years of dominance at 145, Palmer went 0-2 in last year’s season, losing two unanimous decisions to Bubba Jenkins and Khaybulaev.
Bubba Jenkins (16-5)
Debuting in the PFL last season, Bubba Jenkins put two wins together over Lance Palmer and Bobby Moffett before losing to Chris Wade in the semi-finals. Jenkins moved over into the PFL as the reigning Brave CF featherweight champion after an 11-fight run in Bellator. After his previous opponent pulled out 2 weeks before the event, former UFC fighter and fan favourite Kyle Bochniak will step in as the first test of the season for Jenkins. We recently caught up with him to talk all about his career so far and moving forward.
Sheymon Moraes (13-5)
Another fighter returning from last season’s tournament, Sheymon Moraes’ PFL career started with a first-round loss to Brendan Loughnane. Since last season’s debut, Moraes has regained his momentum with back-to-back second-round finishes over Jesse Stirn and Lazar Stojadinovic. Though his UFC career didn’t go to plan, his five professional losses have come to Marlon Moraes, Zabit Magomedsharipov, Sodiq Yusuff, Andre Fili and Brendan Loughnane. Moraes will be out to prove once again that he should not be counted out when he meets another former UFC competitor.
Boston Salmon (8-3)
After losing his first two UFC fights via first-round finish, Boston Salmon’s UFC career was cut incredibly short. After one fight in the LFA, Salmon debuted in the PFL in March with a corner stoppage victory. Salmon came through in the RFA before getting a shot on Dana White’s Contender Series, picking up a win over last season’s TUF winner Ricky Turcios. His fight in this first round of match ups vs Sheymon Moraes is sure to produce a finish.
Alejandro Flores (20-3)
Mexico’s Alejandro Flores will be one of the fighters coming into the tournament as more of an unknown despite having 23 professional fights. After competing for South American promotion Combate for several years, Flores got a shot on Dana White’s Contender Series which he lost to Rafael Alves. His PFL debut came last year in August where he picked up a split decision win to solidify his place in this year’s tournament. On Tapology, he is the 3rd ranked pro featherweight in the US, 2nd ranked in Latin America and number one in Mexico.
Kyle Bochniak (11-5)
After going 6-0 in CES, Kyle Bochniak debuted in the UFC in 2016. After going 2-2 in his first four pro UFC fights, Bochniak won fans completely over with his performance against Zabit Magomedsharipov. Despite losing the fight, his brawling style made him a fan favourite but after losing three in a row, he was cut from the promotion. Going 3-0 in the promotion XMMA, Bochniak has stepped in on late notice to face Bubba Jenkins and compete in the PFL 2022 season and always, is guaranteed to deliver some must watch fights.
Saba Bolaghi (14-2-1)
The number one ranked featherweight in Germany, Bolaghi comes into this season off the back of two wins last year. Two decision losses and one split decision draw are the only blemishes on his record since his pro debut in 2014. Bolaghi will meet Alejandro Flores in this season’s featherweight opening, watch this space for a dark horse in the tournament.
Ryoji Kudo (10-2-1)
Rounding out the ten competitors is Japan’s Ryoji Kudo. Competing in the likes of ONE Championships Warrior Series and Japanese promotion Shooto, Kudo comes into this season off the back of a loss. A majority decision in July of last year put Kudo’s 3-fight first-round KO/TKO streak to a halt but there are no easy fights in the PFL 2022 season so Kudo can’t be slept on despite not fighting outside of Asia. His first fight in the PFL comes against Manchester’s Brendan Loughnane which is sure to produce a great kickboxing match whilst it lasts.
Who is your favourite to finish the PFL 2022 season as champion? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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
News1 year ago
King of Lethwei Dave Leduc BANNED from Myanmar and competing in the sport
News7 months ago
Sam Kapoi, half-brother of Max Holloway, sentenced for meth possession
News1 year ago
Nathias Frederick vs Matthew Bonner revealed for Cage Warriors 123
News1 year ago
The Latinas of Combate Global set for world domination
News11 months ago
UAE Warriors 19 & 20 fight cards
News11 months ago
Meltdown Fighting Championship 6: Official Card & PPV
News11 months ago
Paige VanZant is seeking a KO victory over Rachael Ostovich
News7 months ago
Fans disgusted at inter-gender MMA fight in Poland