The PFL’s lightweights and light-weight heavyweights finalized their playoff positioning per week in the past, and now it is the flip of the heavyweights and featherweights on Friday at PFL 5 (ESPN and ESPN+, principal card at 8 p.m. ET and prelims at 6 p.m.).
The principal occasion at Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta pits 2021 heavyweight champion Bruno Cappelozza in opposition to Matheus Scheffel. Cappelozza is one among three heavyweights (together with Denis Goltsov and Renan Ferreira) who’ve 6 factors and are in good place to earn a playoff spot. Scheffel misplaced his first struggle of the season.
Friday’s co-main occasion is definitely the one remaining regular-season light-weight bout, by which Anthony Pettis faces Stevie Ray. Pettis already has clinched a playoff spot on the power of his first-round submission in his first bout, whereas Ray misplaced his season opener.
There’s nonetheless a lot to type out. Here’s how I see Friday’s fights enjoying out, together with playoff situations calculated by the PFL.
Heavyweight: Bruno Cappelozza vs. Matheus Scheffel
After being knocked out in his PFL debut in April, Scheffel may be the same destiny on Friday as he takes on the reigning champ. Cappelozza is a nightmare matchup for many, along with his aggressive placing and his brutal knockout energy. I do not see this struggle going any in a different way than his final one. Look for Cappelozza to stress instantly and get it accomplished early, securing his spot within the playoffs. Prediction: Cappelozza through KO within the first spherical.
What Cappelozza must make the playoffs: As a part of the night time’s last struggle, he’ll know getting into what he wants for the highest seed. But a win of any type would sew up a playoff spot.
What Scheffel wants: A primary- or second-round stoppage would preserve him alive, pending earlier outcomes.
Lightweight: Anthony Pettis vs. Stevie Ray
Pettis returned to the PFL this season in a giant manner, with a first-round submission win over Myles Price final month. After going 0-2 final season, the previous UFC champ was on a mission to get into the win column this season and show to the world that he’s nonetheless amongst the elite. Since Pettis was the one fighter within the division to get a end within the first spherical, he has already clinched his spot within the playoffs. He is taking over an opponent, Ray, who wants a end with the intention to get into the playoffs. I do not see Pettis taking the struggle off and shedding his momentum, however I additionally do not see him risking damage by being as aggressive as his first struggle. Look for Pettis to make use of his placing to keep away from the ability of Ray, and greater than seemingly use his grappling to get a call win and keep wholesome for the playoffs. Prediction: Pettis to win.
What Pettis wants: Nothing; he is already in and may sew up the highest seed so long as he is not completed by 4:17 of Round 1.
What Ray wants: A end by 2:42 of Round 3.
Heavyweight: Renan Ferreira vs. Klidson Abreu
The unicorn of the heavyweight division, Ferreira, might be trying to make one other impactful assertion with a win over a seasoned veteran. Abreu scored a win as an underdog in his final struggle, however I do not see the identical taking place right here. Ferreira is the superior athlete and he is harmful all over the place. He ought to get this accomplished rapidly and begin making ready himself for the playoffs. Prediction: Ferreira inside the gap.
Featherweight: Chris Wade vs. Kyle Bochniak
When it involves toughness, Bochniak is up there with the perfect of them. He had a tough outing in his final struggle in opposition to Bubba Jenkins, and now has one other powerful activity in Wade. I like Wade right here. His efficiency in opposition to Lance Palmer confirmed a ton of progress and maturity in his placing, and in the case of the PFL format, Wade is aware of precisely the way to do what he has to with the intention to get into the playoffs. Look for Wade to make use of his distance placing to maintain Bochniak from charging in and turning it right into a brawl. Prediction: Wade by determination.
What Wade wants: With 5 fighters tied atop the standings with 3 factors apiece, there are not any clinching situations for any featherweights going into PFL 5. There might be clinching situations, nevertheless, after the conclusion of the night’s first featherweight struggle, which pits Brendan Loughnane (3 factors) in opposition to Ago Huskic (0).
What Bochniak wants: No definitive situation (but), besides that it is win or go residence.
Heavyweight: Ante Delija vs. Shelton Graves
Coming off a first-round knockout, Delija might be trying to do the identical right here. No matter the place the struggle goes, he might be an excessive amount of for Graves, who’s making his PFL debut. Expect one other fast end on this one. Prediction: Delija through KO/TKO.
Featherweight: Bubba Jenkins vs. Reinaldo Ekson
Coming off a dominant victory over Kyle Bochniak, Jenkins will look to have one other dominant efficiency in opposition to Ekson, who earned a spot right here by competing within the PFL Challenger Series. Jenkins appeared as centered as ever in opposition to Bochniak and his placing was at its finest. Look for him to make use of his placing to maintain Ekson at a distance and, if want be, use his world-class wrestling to get the win. Prediction: Jenkins through determination.
What Jenkins wants: No definitive situation (till after the night’s first featherweight struggle).
What Ekson wants: No definitive situation (but), nevertheless it’s get a stoppage or go residence, with the intention to keep alive.
Heavyweight: Denis Goltsov vs. Maurice Greene
Goltsov has nice placing and energy, and world class sambo. He additionally has a really excessive fighter IQ to maintain himself out of any harmful conditions in opposition to Greene, a former UFC fighter making his PFL debut. Prediction: Goltsov inside the gap.
Featherweight: Lance Palmer vs. Sheymon Moraes
Palmer, a two-time season champion, wants a first-round end or his 2022 playoff goals will come to an finish. Standing in entrance of him is the damaging Moraes, who’s coming off his finest win so far, a dominant determination over Boston Salmon in April. If Moraes can preserve the struggle standing, he’ll pull off the upset — and that is precisely how I see it going. Palmer’s sport hasn’t improved a lot of late, and his wrestling is turning into extra predictable each outing. Look for Moraes to stuff Palmer’s takedown makes an attempt and power Palmer to struggle him in a kickboxing match, which advantages Moraes in a giant manner. Prediction: Moraes to win.
What Moraes wants: No definitive situation (till after the night’s first featherweight bout).
What Palmer wants: No definitive situation (but), nevertheless it’s win or go residence.
Heavyweight: Sam Kei vs. Juan Adams
This late-replacement bout is between two fighters making their PFL debuts. Adams has the stronger pedigree, with 4 UFC bouts below his belt. Based on the extent of competitors he has fought, Adams ought to be higher all over the place. Prediction: Adams to win.
Featherweight: Alejandro Flores vs. Ryoji Kudo
In his final struggle, Flores’s quantity and fixed stress along with his strikes had been the keys to victory. On the opposite facet of the cage, Kudo might be trying to get his first win within the PFL. He was very near pulling off the upset in opposition to Loughnane, till an unintended conflict of heads prevented him from having the ability to proceed the struggle. I like Kudo, the underdog. I believe his energy could be very unassuming and would possibly trigger issues for Flores. Prediction: Kudo to win.
What Flores wants: No definitive situation (till after the night’s first featherweight bout).
What Kudo wants: No definitive situation (but), nevertheless it’s win or go residence.
Featherweight: Brendan Loughnane vs. Ago Huskic
Loughane might be trying to safe a playoff spot with a win in opposition to late alternative Huskic within the opening bout of the night time. Coming off two losses in a row in opposition to lesser competitors, it’s fairly exhausting to think about Huskic pulling off the upset in opposition to one of many prime guys within the division. Loughnane might be higher all over the place and shouldn’t have any concern getting the win right here. Prediction: Loughnane to win.
What Loughnane wants: A win of any type would put him in first place, pending outcomes later within the night; a loss wouldn’t instantly eradicate him.
What Huskic wants: A stoppage in any spherical would put him in first place, pending later outcomes; he is eradicated with a loss or perhaps a determination win.