The Big Apple was electrified on November 24, 2023, as the Professional Fighters League (PFL) brought down the curtain on its season with a bang. The grand finale, the 2023 PFL World Championship, was a spectacle of fistic prowess across six weight divisions. Fighters weren’t just throwing punches for glory; they were also duking it out for a cool million-dollar payday.
Headlining the night, Olivier Aubin-Mercier showed the world his mettle by clinching the PFL Lightweight Championship against Clay Collard. This unanimous decision win not only filled his pockets with a million bucks but also marked his second straight PFL World Championship triumph and his impressive tenth PFL victory.
The heavyweight clash between Renan Ferreira and Denis Goltsov was a blink-and-you-miss-it affair. Ferreira landed a knockout blow just 26 seconds into round two, nabbing his first PFL World Championship and continuing his knockout streak.
In the realm of the featherweights, Larissa Pacheco and Marina Mokhnatkina put on a show. Pacheco emerged victorious and made PFL history by becoming the first fighter to win titles in two divisions. She walked away with her second million-dollar check, affirming her status as a force to be reckoned with in women’s combat sports.
PFL CEO Peter Murray and President of Fighter Operations Ray Sefo couldn’t contain their excitement. They praised the evening’s electrifying battles, promising the fans that this was just the beginning of more thrilling moments to come.
In a welterweight title showdown, former champs Sadibou Sy and Magomed Magomedkerimov faced off, with Magomedkerimov submitting Sy in the third round. This win marked Magomedkerimov’s 15th PFL victory, a record in the league.
The light heavyweight championship bout was another highlight. Impa Kasanganay, a year after sleeping in his car to chase his MMA dreams, made history by becoming the first PFL Challenger Series contract holder to win a world championship. He left the cage not just as a champion, but also as a millionaire.
In a much-anticipated return, Kayla Harrison dominated Aspen Ladd in a Catchweight Showcase, marking her 16th professional win. Meanwhile, Derek Brunson made a successful PFL debut, besting Ray Cooper III and improving his professional record to 24-9.
Jesus Pinedo also had a night to remember, becoming the first Peruvian MMA champion by claiming the PFL Featherweight Championship, knocking out Gabriel Braga in the third round.
Biaggio Ali Walsh, Muhammad Ali’s grandson, continued his knockout spree by flooring Joel Lopez in the second round of their Amateur Lightweight Showcase bout.
In other bouts, Phil Caracappa outmaneuvered Khai Wu, while Jesse Stirn extended his winning streak to five by defeating Josh Blyden.
Here’s a quick rundown of the complete results:
- Olivier Aubin-Mercier won against Clay Collard (49-46 on all cards)
- Renan Ferreira TKO’d Denis Goltsov (2nd round, 0:26)
- Larissa Pacheco triumphed over Marina Mokhnatkina (49-46 on all cards)
- Magomed Magomedkerimov submitted Sadibou Sy (3rd round, 1:17)
- Impa Kasanganay bested Josh Silveria (50-45 on all cards)
- Kayla Harrison outclassed Aspen Ladd (30-27 on all cards)
- Derek Brunson defeated Ray Cooper III (30-25, 30-27, 30-25)
- Jesus Pinedo TKO’d Gabriel Braga (3rd round, 0:58)
- Biaggio Ali Walsh KO’d Joel Lopez (2nd round, 1:24)
- Phil Caracappa won against Khai Wu (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Jesse Stirn beat Josh Bylden (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)