This February Through March, Fighters from Five International Markets Will Compete in Unprecedented Fight Twice in One-Night Tournaments
One Winner From Each In-Country Tournament, Including Russia, to Earn a Coveted Spot on the 2020 PFL Season Roster and a Chance to Fight for the One Million Dollar PFL Championship Belts
PFL’s Regular Season Begins May 2020 and will be Distributed to 160 Countries Worldwide, Including ESPN2 and ESPN+ in the United States
The Professional Fighters League (PFL), the first organization ever to present MMA through a Regular Season, Playoffs and Championship format, today announced that the PFL International Qualifier Series will debut in Russia on February 22nd at RCC Arena. In partnership with Russian Cagefighting Championship, four lightweight fighters will compete in a fight twice in one-night tournament, with the winner earning his shot at a coveted spot in the 2020 PFL season. The event will air on MatchTV in Russia, starting at 5:00pm GMT.
The PFL International Qualifier Series will take place in February and March in PFL priority markets outside the United States, including Russia and United Arab Emirates, with others to be announced. Four fighters from each market will compete in a tournament requiring each fighter to fight twice and win twice in the same night to be considered for a PFL 2020 season contract.
“This preseason, we’re excited to launch the PFL’s first-ever International Qualifier Series in Russia, a country known for producing elite MMA athletes and a key market for PFL’s global growth,” said Peter Murray, CEO of the PFL. “We look forward to seeing which RCC fighter can withstand the toughest test in MMA, fighting and winning twice in one night, to earn a contract with the PFL for the 2020 season.”
The PFL International Qualifier Series lightweight tournament features local favorite Timur Nagibin (15-4-0, 1 NC), who is coming off a TKO victory over former UFC fighter Mike Santiago. Nagibin will face Muratbek Kasimbay in the semifinals. Kasimbay has won four-straight fights, all by stoppage, three of which came in the first-round. His nine career victories (9-1) have all come by stoppage, bringing knockout power to the fight twice in one-night tournament.
On the other side of the bracket, former World Warriors Fighting Championship lightweight title holder Mikhail Odintsov (16-2) enters the tournament on a five-fight win streak, four by early stoppage. His opponent, Vladimir Kanunnikov (10-2), began his MMA career with eight straight victories. He’s looking to rebound from just the second loss of his career.
The PFL International Qualifier Series live tournaments will be staged and distributed by the PFL’s co-promotion partners in their respective markets. The PFL will distribute the fights outside of those markets with its official broadcast partners in addition to streaming across the PFL Live App and the league’s digital channels on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch.
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 broadcast live in primetime on ESPN2 and ESPN+ in the United States and also distributed to 160 additional countries around the world on premium sports networks.
The PFL 2020 Season features elite MMA athletes across six weight classes 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.
For more info visit www.PFLmma.com and follow PFL on Instagram (@PFLmma), Twitter (@ProFightLeague), and Facebook (/ProFightLeague).