Friday’s PFL featherweight semifinal between Brendan Loughnane and Movlid Khaybulaev isn’t a $1 million fight, but it has a championship feeling to it.
Loughnane is eager to sweep his infamous appearance on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2019, in which he won but didn’t close out the fight seeking a finish, into the footnotes of his career with a PFL championship victory. He has won both of his fights in the PFL regular season, opening with a quick knockout of UFC veteran Sheymon Moraes in April, and locked up the No. 1 seed.
The fourth-seeded Khaybulaev finished the regular season 2-0 as well, capping it off with a victory over Lance Palmer in June that eliminated the two-time PFL champion from playoff contention. The win made Khaybulaev 17-0-1 for his career.
The Loughnane-Khaybulaev clash headlines the last of three PFL semifinal cards at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida (Live on ESPN+; 10 p.m. E.T. on ESPN2/ESPN+), and also features another 145-pound semifinal as well as two light heavyweight semis on the main card.
At featherweight, No. 2 seed Chris Wade faces third-seeded Bubba Jenkins. The 205-pound semifinals pit top seed Antonio Carlos Junior against 2019 PFL champion (and No. 4 seed) Emiliano Sordi, while No. 2 seed Cezar Ferreira faces No. 3 Marthin Hamlet.
Prior to the four playoff semifinals, there are six prelims featuring a mix of fighters from the 2021 season and some PFL newcomers.
Follow along throughout the night for instant analysis.
Coming up next: Featherweights: Alejandro Flores vs. Carl Deaton
Brandon Jenkins def. Jacob Kilburn by first-round KO
Nicknames in sports, mixed martial arts in particular, often are fueled by hyperbole. That is not the case with Jenkins, at least not on this night. The 29-year-old from Las Vegas lived up to his “Human Highlight Reel” nickname with a flying knee that flattened Kilburn at 2:56 of Round 1 in the opening fight on the card.
For Jenkins, who was making his PFL debut, it was the 12th stoppage in 14 career wins, and his sixth first-round finish.
Still to come:
Live on ESPN+
Featherweights: Sheymon Moraes vs. Lazar Stojadinovic
Light heavyweights: Chris Camozzi vs. Cory Hendricks
Featherweights: Anthony Dizy vs. Jesse Stirn
Featherweights: Jason Knight vs. Bobby Moffett
ESPN2/ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET
Featherweights: Brendan Loughnane vs. Movlid Khaybulaev
Featherweights: Chris Wade vs. Bubba Jenkins
Light heavyweights: Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Emiliano Sordi
Light heavyweights: Cezar Ferreira vs. Marthin Hamlet
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