PFL Adds Major New Contenders, Including Chris Curtis, Satoshi Ishii, Jorge Gonzalez and More, To Compete in League’s Format of Regular Season, Playoffs, and Championship
PFL Returns Top Fighters from PFL 2018 Season to Compete for Another Shot at the Title, Including Francimar Barroso and Rashid Yusupov
PFL Season Debuts Thursday, May 9 on ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes
The Professional Fighters League (PFL), the first organization ever to present MMA in the sport-season format of Regular Season, Playoffs, and Championship, today unveiled Round 3 of “The Selection.” In 2019, 68 fighters will compete for a million-dollar prize, beginning Thursday, May 9 on ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes and distributed to over 150 countries worldwide.
The group of newcomers includes Cincinnati, OH native Chris “The Action Man” Curtis, who joins the Welterweight division. Curtis has a 20-5 career record and enters the PFL on a seven-fight win streak, with his last win coming over UFC veteran Matt Dwyer in a brutal slug fest. Also new to the PFL is international Heavyweight Satoshi Ishii, who won Olympic gold in judo at the 2008 Beijing Games representing Japan at the age of 21. Rather than choosing a lucrative judo career in his native country, Ishii retired to chase his childhood dream of being a professional MMA fighter. He now represents Croatia, where he trains with MMA legend Mirko Cro Cop.
As one of the top young fighters coming out of Canada, Jeremy Kennedy joins the PFL looking to build on an impressive 13-1 career record, including a 3-1 run in the UFC. Ronys “Jungle Boy” Torres, a Lightweight hailing from Manacapuru, Brazil, a small town on the banks of the Amazon River, boasts an impressive 37-6 record, with 20 wins coming from submission. Torres will continue his tradition of wearing an Amazonian headpiece to weigh-ins with the PFL. Jorge “George Street” Gonzalez brings knockout power to the Light Heavyweight division. Gonzalez has won his last six fights by first-round stoppage.
Additional top fighters from the PFL 2018 season will look to finish what they started last year. Returning PFL fighters include Brazilian Francimar “Bodao” Barroso (Heavyweight), who clinched the #1 seed last season before being upset in the quarterfinals. Rashid Yusupov also returns after having his 2018 season cut short due to injury after suffering a broken jaw in PFL 2, the first loss of his career.
“We have assembled the best available talent from around the world in what proved to be a challenging, highly competitive selection process. More than half of our 2019 roster will be making their PFL debut in 2019,” said Ray Sefo, President of PFL Fighter Operations. “68 fighters will compete on the biggest stage in primetime on Thursday nights, looking to earn a playoff spot and a shot at being a champion. Every fight matters in our season-format, so fans can expect to see action packed fights across six divisions. We’ve elevated our roster, now it’s time to elevate the sport beginning May 9.”
PFL 2019 Season fighter roster to date: https://www.pflmma.com/selection-2019
Round 3 Highlights – The Selections:
Satoshi Ishii (Croatia), 2019 Heavyweight Contender
At just 21 years old, Satoshi Ishii won Olympic gold in judo at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Before his gold medal performance, he earned silver at the 2006 Asian Games and won two All-Japan Judo Championships. Satoshi retired from judo at the very height of his career to pursue his dream of becoming a professional MMA fighter. Now, Ishii will look to build on his 20-8 career record and claim the PFL Heavyweight title.
Jorge Gonzalez (Mexico), 2019 Light Heavyweight Contender
Jorge “George St.” Gonzalez, hailing from Mexico City, has won six fights in a row, all by first-round stoppage. Of those six fights, five were knockouts and one submission. Gonzalez has a career 15-4 record.
Damon Jackson (USA), 2019 Featherweight Contender
Damon “The Leech” Jackson joins the PFL from Legacy Fighting Alliance, where he held the Featherweight title. Since going pro in 2012, Jackson has competed in the UFC, Bellator, King of the Cage and Legacy FC, compiling a 16–2–1 record.
Jeremy Kennedy (Canada), 2019 Featherweight Contender
One of the top young fighters from Canada, Jeremy “The Bandit” Kennedy joins a stacked PFL Featherweight division. He holds a 13-1 career record, including a 3-1 run at the UFC.
Ronys Torres (Brazil), 2019 Lightweight Contender
Brazilian fighter Ronys Torres joins the PFL with an impressive 37–6 career record. 20 of those wins are by submission while fighting around the world for the UFC, WSOF, Road FC (South Korea) and Jungle Fights (Brazil). His nickname, “Jungle Boy,” is a nod to having been born and raised in Manacapuru, Brazil, a small town on the banks of the Amazon River. Torres will continue his tradition of wearing an Amazonian headpiece to weigh-ins with the PFL.
Chris Curtis (USA), 2019 Welterweight Contender
Cincinnati, OH native Chris “The Action Man” Curtis joins the PFL Welterweight division. Curtis has a 20-5 career record and enters the PFL on a seven-fight win streak, with his last win coming over UFC veteran Matt Dwyer in a brutal slug fest.
Francimar Barroso (Brazil), 2019 Heavyweight Contender
Nicknamed “Bodao,” Francimar Barroso was the #1 seed in the 2018 PFL Heavyweight division heading into the playoffs. He lost in the quarterfinals in an upset to the #8 seed in the division. He returns looking to regain the top spot and finish as champion. He holds a career 22–7–1 record.
Rashid Yusupov (Russia), 2019 Light Heavyweight Contender
Rashid Yusupov makes his return to the PFL after his season ended early last year following a broken jaw suffered against Rakim Cleveland at PFL 2. His bout with Rakim at PFL 2 was the first loss of his career. He is 10–1 entering the 2019 PFL season.
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 2019 and 2020 Season events are Thursday nights primetime live on ESPN2 and ESPN+.
PFL 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 on ESPN2. For more info visit www.PFLmma.com and follow PFL on Instagram (@PFLmma), Twitter (@ProFightLeague), and Facebook (/ProFightLeague).