3 reasons to watch PFL Playoffs: Ray Cooper III vs. Rory MacDonald

The PFL playoffs get underway on Thursday, and it is worth checking out all of the action.

The PFL also returns Friday night featuring the first week of the postseason. The lightweights and welterweights are the featured attractions, as Rory MacDonald will look to rebound from a bitter controversial defeat against Gleison Tibau in June, in which he was on the wrong end of a split decision loss. The bout was MacDonald’s first under the PFL banner, as he had previously defeated Curtis Millender by first-round rear-naked-choke in his promotional debut.

MacDonald previously held the Bellator welterweight championship prior to signing with the PFL, and now, he will look to re-group in his opening playoff bout with the defending 2019 champion, Ray Cooper III. Due to the ongoing global pandemic, there was not a seasonal tournament in 2020, as the PFL took on a year-long hiatus.

In spite of that, here are three reasons to tune in for all of the playoff madness.

1. Rory MacDonald looks to add to his ongoing legacy

MacDonald is one of the best welterweights that the sport has to offer. He had a long and extensive UFC run that saw him make his debut as early as his seventh professional MMA fight. During his stint with the promotion, MacDonald defeated the likes of Nate Diaz, B.J. Penn, and Jake Ellenberger on his road to the top of the welterweight division. He wound up losing an instant classic welterweight title fight against Robbie Lawler in which he nearly became champion. Since the defeat, MacDonald is just 4-4-1 in his last nine appearances but has a chance to add another belt to his collection by the end of the year.

2. Clay Collard’s upset tour

Clay Collard went from being a relatively unknown fighter to a household name with one signature upset. In April, he dominated former UFC lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis, to move one step closer to a playoff berth. In June, Collard would make good on that plan and now finds himself in the PFL playoffs for the first time in his career. Collard is 20-8-1, as he will take on Raush Manfio in the second fight on the main card. If Collard is able to make it three straight wins, he will find himself facing the winner of Loik Radzhabov and Alex Martinez in the tournament finals.

3. Four UFC veterans grace the PFL prelims

While the PFL is a relatively new concept, there is still some familiarity amongst hardcore MMA fans. On the undercard, four UFC veterans at various stages of their careers find themselves in the PFL. Tibau vs. Millender and Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Darrell Horcher are crossroads fights that should produce some exciting action leading up to the main card festivities. Both bouts will air on ESPN+ in the U.S, beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT.

The PFL playoffs take place on Aug. 13, 19, and 27, live from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, FL. Follow along with FanSided for all your live news and highlights.

Published at Wed, 11 Aug 2021 00:53:13 +0000

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