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After a one-season hiatus, PFL is gearing up to relaunch in 2021 – and the majority of the heavyweight and women’s lightweight rosters are already figured out.
On Tuesday, the promotion officially announced 10 heavyweights and eight women’s lightweights who will partake in the upcoming season, which kicks off April 23 in Las Vegas. The heavyweights and women’s lightweights will first compete on May 6.
Of the 18 fighters announced, four are former UFC fighters, including former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum, who was signed during the promotion’s offseason.
2019 PFL heavyweight champion Ali Isaev and 2019 women’s lightweight champion and Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison will attempt to repeat after successful seasons two years ago.
Check out the full heavyweight and women’s lightweight rosters below:
Bruno Cappelozza (10-5)
A multitime RIZIN competitor, [autotag]Bruno Cappelozza[/autotag] has not competed since a July 2018 loss to Jiri Prochazka. Outside of RIZIN, Cappelozza largely dominated regional scenes in Brazil, scoring a number of first-round knockouts over the span of his 10-year career.
Ante Delija (17-3)
[autotag]Ante Delija[/autotag] returns to PFL on the heels of controversy. In October, Delija signed with the UFC to fight Ciryl Gane. However, contractual issues with PFL prevented him from fighting, and he subsequently parted ways with the UFC.
Renan Ferreira (6-2)
A 6-foot-10 heavyweight, [autotag]Renan Ferreira[/autotag] presents an unusual matchup to every opponent he faces. Since 2017, Ferreira has lost only once – and it was by disqualification. He most recently competed in August 2019 when he submitted Jared Vanderaa by second-round triangle choke.
Denis Goltsov (25-6)
[autotag]Denis Goltsov[/autotag] returns to the PFL after a 3-1 showing during the 2019 season. He was eliminated in the playoff semifinals when he was knocked out in the final second of a three-round fight against eventual champion Isaev.
Ali Isaev (9-0)
PFL 2019 heavyweight champion: Ali Isaev
2019 PFL heavyweight champion Isaev is back. A sleeper in the eyes of many, Isaev defeated Valdrin Istefi, Carl Seumanutafa, Kelvin Tiller, and Denis Goltsov en route to the final. In a title-clinching performance, Isaev defeated former UFC fighter Jared Rosholt by fourth-round TKO.
Hatef Moeil (10-4)
One of Germany's top pound-for-pound fighters, [autotag]Hatef Moeil[/autotag] rides a six-fight winning streak into his PFL debut. He holds wins over former UFC heavyweight champon Ricco Rodriguez and UFC alum James McSweeney.
Brandon Sayles (5-1)
A United States military veteran, [autotag]Brandon Sayles[/autotag] hasn't been very active in recent years. When he has competed, however, he's found success. In 2018, Sayles was pegged as the first professional opponent to face Greg Hardy. However, he was forced to pull out due to injury.
Mohammad Usman (7-1)
Brother of UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, [autotag]Mohammed Usman[/autotag] finally takes the step to MMA's major leagues after a successful tenure in Titan FC. The Fortis MMA member has won four straight fights entering his PFL debut.
Justin Willis (8-2)
Former UFC heavyweight contender [autotag]Justin Willis[/autotag] signed with the PFL in 2019 but has yet to make his debut due to the COVID-19 pandemic delay. Willis parted ways with the UFC despite going 4-1 in his appearances.
Fabricio Werdum (24-9-1)
Former UFC heavyweight champion [autotag]Fabricio Werdum[/autotag] is one of PFL's biggest acquisitions of the offseason. Werdum enters PFL having twon hree of five. In his final UFC fight, which took place in late July, Werdum defeated Alexander Gustafsson by first-round armbar submission.
Cindy Dandois (16-5)
(Christopher Hanewinckel, USA TODAY Sports)
Former UFC and Bellator fighter [autotag]Cindy Dandois[/autotag] is adding PFL to her resume. She rides a three-fight winning streak into her promotional debut. A pioneer of MMA in Belgium, Dandois made her pro debut in January 2009.
Genah Fabian (2-1)
Photo via PFL
A standout kickboxer, [autotag]Genah Fabian[/autotag] reentered the realm of mixed martial arts for PFL's 2019 season. Following a loss to Bobby-Jo Dalziel, Fabian defeated Moriel Charneski by first-round TKO. She was then matched up with Kayla Harrison in the playoffs but withdrew from the fight.
Kayla Harrison (8-0)
One of the faces of PFL, 2019 women's lightweight champion Harrison will look to go back to back. Undefeated in her MMA career thus far, Harrison took a fight in Invicta in November to stay active during PFL's hiatus. She defeated Courtney King via second-round TKO.
Olena Kolesnyk (5-2)
Following a 5-0 start to her professional MMA career, [autotag]Olena Kolesnyk[/autotag] encountered some difficulties in Invicta FC. Entering her PFL debut, Kolesnyk has lost back-to-back fights to Invicta standouts Pam Sorenson and Felicia Spencer.
Mariana Morais (16-10)
A standout on the Brazilian regional scene, [autotag]Mariana Morais[/autotag] has competed in 26 professional fights yet is only 25 years old. She rides a three-fight winnings streak in Shooto Brasil. She's competed against a who's who of MMA notables, including Ariane Lipski, Karol Rosa, Vanessa Porto, Lara Procopio, Norma Dumont, Vanessa Melo, Jennifer Maia, and Roxanne Modafferi.
Larissa Pacheco (13-4)
Former UFC fighter [autotag]Larissa Pacheco[/autotag] competed four times for PFL in 2019. She went 2-2 with wins over Sarah Kaufman and Bobbi-Jo Dalziel. The two losses both came by unanimous decision to Harrison – one in the regular season and one in the final.
Julija Pajic (3-0)
Representing Montenegro, [autotag]Julija Pajic[/autotag] was born in Germany and lives in Croatia. She's undefeated thus far in her professional career with three finishes: two knockouts and one submission.
Laura Sanchez (1-0)
[autotag]Laura Sanchez[/autotag] enters the 2021 PFL women's lightweight season as the fighter holding the least amount of professional experience. She made her pro debut in January 2020 and finished Miranda Barber via first-round TKO.