The Professional Fighters League (PFL), the first organization ever to present MMA through a Regular Season, Playoffs and Championship, returns to NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, on Long Island, N.Y., for PFL 3 on Thursday night, June 6. PFL 3 concludes the first half of the regular season, and fireworks are expected as the Light Heavyweights and Heavyweights have the highest early stoppage rates in the PFL at 92% and 73% respectively.
PFL 3 begins at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and the ESPN App (in Spanish), then the action continues on ESPN+ at 9:00 p.m. ET. All matches on ESPN+ are also available in Spanish. The PFL will again integrate its SmartCage and Cagenomics technology to the broadcast experience, delivering dynamic, real-time data and analytics on fighters’ performance that brings fans inside the cage like never before.
Vinny Magalhaes, a former Jiu Jitsu World Champion, returns seeking the Light Heavyweight title and million-dollar prize that escaped him last season. In 2018, Magalhaes finished his first four opponents, each in less than 2 minutes, en route to the PFL Light Heavyweight Championship final[RDJ1], where he fell to Sean O’Connell. He led the PFL in submissions (3) and was tied for the lead in stoppages (4), and will begin his 2019 campaign versus Argentina’s Emiliano Sordi, who had the fastest stoppage of the 2018 season – a 0:16 KO of Jason Butcher.
Undefeated Light Heavyweight Jordan Johnson makes his highly anticipated PFL debut against Russian fighter Maxim Grishin, who won both of his 2018 regular season fights by stoppage. Johnson holds a perfect 10-0 career record and joins the PFL from UFC[RDJ2]. He last fought in September of 2018, a fight he took against a Russian opponent, in Russia, on short notice, at a lower weight class (Middleweight). In Moscow, with his wife Stefanie in the crowd, Johnson defeated Adam Yandiev by 2nd round submission to stay unbeaten.
In Heavyweight action, one of the most exciting fighters from the 2018 season, Alex “The Spartan” Nicholson, makes his return. All four of Nicholson’s fights in 2018 ended in knockout, with Nicholson coming out on top in two of them. His flying knee KO at PFL 1 last season was one of the highlights of the year across all of MMA. Nicholson clashes with the man who earned the #1 heavyweight seed after the regular season last year – Francimar Barroso. The Brazilian secured two first-round stoppages to claim the top spot but was upset in the quarterfinals.
PFL newcomer Satoshi Ishii joins Kayla Harrison as Olympic Judo Gold medalists competing in the PFL. Ishii won Gold at the 2008 Beijing Games representing Japan. He has 10 wins by submission, and he’s already been busy this year, notching 3 victories. He will face another PFL newcomer in Zeke Tuinei-Wily, a former defensive tackle for the University of Utah. The “Samoan Rhino” has a 3-1 career record.
ESPN+ will feature the exclusive PFL 3 Pre-Show on Wednesday, June 5 at 6:30 p.m. ET, to prepare fans for all of Thursday’s regular season action. ESPN+ will also feature the exclusive PFL 3 Post-Show, live immediately following the event.
Calling the live action for PFL 3 will be play-by-play announcer and 2018 PFL Light Heavyweight champion, Sean O’Connell. Alongside O’Connell serving as color analysts will be UFC Hall-of-Famer, Randy “The Natural” Couture, and former UFC Lightweight, Yves Edwards. Caroline Pearce will host the nights action, and former WWE Ring Announcer Lilian Garcia will introduce fighters to the cage as the In-Cage Announcer of the PFL.
ESPN.comcoverage of PFL 3 includes a feature story on Jordan Johnson from Myron Medcalf. ESPN.com will provide live recaps and results as the fights take place.
MMA fans can sign up for ESPN+ at www.espnplus.com or through the ESPN App.
All times ET
PFL 3 Pre-Show
PFL 3 Fight Card
Light Heavyweight: Dan Spohn (Columbus, OH) (18-6) vs. Bozigit Ataev (Russia) (19-3)
Heavyweight: Ante Delija (Croatia) (15-3) vs. Carl Seumanutafa (Samoa) (12-9)
Light Heavyweight: Maxim Grishin (Russia)
(28-7-1) vs. Jordan Johnson (Gilbert, AZ) (10-0)
Heavyweight: Alex Nicholson (Apopka, FL) (13-7) vs. Francimar Barroso (Brazil) (22-7-1-1)
ESPN2 and ESPNApp (Spanish)
PFL 3 Fight Card
Light Heavyweight: Rashid Yusupov (Russia)
(10-1) vs. Mikhail Mokhnatkin (Russia)
Light Heavyweight: Ronny Markes (Brazil) (18-7) vs. Sigi Pesaleli (New Zealand) (3-0)
Light Heavyweight: Rakim Cleveland (Coconut Creek, FL) (19-11-1-1) vs. Viktor Nemkov (Russia) (26-7)
Heavyweight: Valdrin Istrefi (Liechtenstein ) (13-2) vs. Ali Isaev (Russia) (4-0)
Heavyweight: Jared Rosholt (Sandpoint, ID) (17-6) vs. Denis Goltsov (Russia) (22-5)
Heavyweight: Satoshi Ishii (Croatia) (20-8-1) vs. Zeke Tuinei-Wily (Las Vegas, NV) (3-1)
Heavyweight: Kelvin Tiller (Topeka, KS) (10-2) vs. Muhammed Dereese (Titusville, FL)
Light Heavyweight: Vinny Magalhaes (Brazil)
(18-10-1) vs. Emiliano Sordi (Argentina) (17-8)
12:00 a.m. (approx.) ET
PFL 3 Post Show
About Professional Fighters League
The Professional Fighters League (PFL) presents MMA for the first time in the sport-season format where individual fighters control their own destiny, competing in a regular season, playoffs, and championship. PFL’s differentiated format and exciting fights sparked breakout growth for the league. PFL events are Thursday nights primetime live on ESPN2 and ESPN+.
The PFL 2019 Season features elite MMA athletes across six weight classes, including the first-ever 155-pound women’s division, with each fighter having two fights during the PFL Regular Season in May, June, July, and August. The top eight fighters in each weight class advance to the single-elimination PFL Playoffs in October, where fighters must fight twice and win twice in the same night to advance to the finals. PFL Championship is New Year’s Eve with the winners of each title bout being crowned PFL World Champion of their respective weight class and earning $1 million. Viewers will be delivered next-gen stats never before seen in MMA through the PFL’s proprietary SmartCage™ platform and Cagenomics™ technology.
PFL is backed by an investor group of sports, media, entertainment, and business titans. Watch PFL live Thursday nights in the U.S. on ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes. PFL is also available in 130 countries around the world with leading local broadcasters.
For more info visit www.PFLmma.com and follow PFL on Instagram (@PFLmma), Twitter (@ProFightLeague), and Facebook (/ProFightLeague).
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[RDJ1]I’m inserting this to distinguish between the title itself and the name of the match. If there’s a different way to make that distinction I’m all ears.
[RDJ2]Distinguishing that Johnson was not 10-0 in UFC, he is 10-0 in the sport.