On Thursday night, inside the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the Professional Fighters League returns with their third event in the 2021 season. The card is a showcase of both the heavyweight and women’s lightweight divisions and features returning season two champion Ali Isaev and Kayla Harrison. Also of note, is the debut of several notable heavyweight free-agent additions. Led by former Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholder Fabricio Werdum.
How to watch PFL 3 on May 6
- The preliminary portion of the event kicks of at 5:30 pm ET on ESPN+
- The main card action takes place exclusively on ESPN at 7 pm ET
PFL 3 fight card
PFL 3: Fights worth your time
Fabricio Werdum vs. Renan Ferreira
In November, the league made headlines by adding Fabricio Werdum to a much improved 2021 heavyweight division. Although “Vai Cavalo” will turn 44-years-old in July, and his athletic prime is well behind him, heavyweight always remains the “age ain’t nothin but a number” division. Plus, while there is talent in the PFL’s heaviest weight-class, it is a far shallower pool than the UFC’s version. Meaning even at an advanced age he is likely the favorite to win a million dollars on New Year’s Eve. There is not much reason to expect Renan Ferreira to spoil the Brazilian MMA legends league debut on Thursday, but this is combat sports and anything can happen. Few expected Clay Collard to ruin the debut of another expensive addition in Anthony Pettis at PFL 1. Yet it happened. Not to mention, Werdum won’t be fighting forever, so enjoying the future UFC hall-of-famer while he is still a relevant force in his division is worth the time.
Prediction: Werdum by first round TKO
Kayla Harrison vs. Mariana Morais
Kayla Harrison, the league’s first women’s lightweight champion, has seen very little adversity during her eight fight run in the sport. Not in the PFL, nor in her one fight appearance for Invicta Fighting Championship in November. At times, MMA has looked easy for the two-time Olympic gold medal winning Judoka. Like Werdum in the main event, there isn’t a lot of reason to believe Mariana Morais will pull off a massive upset in the nights co-main event. However, this is another you never know scenario that has some momentum behind it based off of what happened two weeks ago. At PFL 1 both two-time league champions Natan Schulte and Lance Palmer fell for the first time in their careers as members of the PFL roster. Shooto veteran Morais does have an 18-fight experience advantage on Harrison. If two of the most dominant fighters in PFL history could get handed Ls on the same night, it’s not impossible the uber-talented and always evolving defending champion could have a very common early career slip-up in her ninth cage appearance.
Prediction: Harrison by third round TKO
Ali Isaev vs. Hatef Moeil
In 2019, Ali Isaev was one of the hidden gems of the league’s second season. The former Olympic wrestler will be 38 in December, however he has few fight miles on his tires after nine-professional bouts. The PFL brought him in after four fights under the Fight Nights Global banner, and the Russian shrugged off all-comers in route to winning all five of his league appearances, the heavyweight title and US $1 million. Now that the league has an improved heavyweight division, the 2021 season for Isaev will be about proving that 2019 was just him scratching the surface on his potential as an MMA fighter. In German thumper Hatef Moeil he gets a solid threat and next step in his development on the road to the fight all PFL fans want to see in 2021. Isaev versus Werdum.
Prediction: Isaev by second round submisson
Mohammed Usman vs. Brandon Sayles
When you’re the brother of Kamaru Usman–a pound-for-pound superstar and one of the greatest UFC welterweights ever–it’s easy to be overshadowed when trying to compete in the same sport. However, with being in the PFL and competing on ESPN, Mohammed Usman has the opportunity to shine under a similar spotlight as his champion sibling. Proving that he can reach the standard set by Kamaru will be fascinating to follow as he receives stiffer tests competing at the highest levels of the sport. Usman being booked against Brandon Sayles is a sound pairing of fighters at similar stages of their development. In addition, it’s a great opportunity for “Man of War” to make a name for himself by achieving the rare feat of beating an Usman in a cage fight. But chances are baby brother Usman moves his record to 7-1.
Prediction: Usman by unanimous decision