Renan Ferreira blasts PFL’s ‘lack of transparency’ after Werdum fight not rebooked: ‘This is very shady’

·3 min read

Renan Ferreira has taken exception with PFL’s latest round of matchmaking.

Hours after the promotion Tuesday announced its second regular-season matchups for the heavyweight division, Ferreira (6-2) expressed his displeasure for his pairing against 2019 PFL heavyweight champion Ali Isaev and claims he was expecting a rematch against former UFC heavyweight Fabricio Werdum.

“All this is very shady,” Ferreira said in a written statement Tuesday provided by his team to MMA Junkie. “Ray Sefo told my management team that the Werdum rematch was the fight that made sense to do next. PFL had social media posts asking people if they wanted to see it and they said yes. Now we find out on social media I’m facing the last champion while Werdum faces (Brandon) Sayles.”

Ferreira and Werdum (24-9-1) competed against one another in their first regular-season bout at 2021 PFL 3 in early May. The finishing sequence garnered headlines after it ended in a controversial fashion. During a grappling exchange, Werdum was in the midst of a submission attempt and Ferreira made a hand motion some viewers interpreted as a tap.

The fight, and Werdum, however, continued on as the referee did not stop the fight. Ferreira ultimately escaped the submission and, moments later, earned a stoppage victory via TKO.

In the days that followed, Werdum challenged the outcome – and won his appeal. The result was overturned from a win to a no-contest by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, causing buzz to grow about a potential rematch. To Ferreira, all signs pointed to a rematch, too – until he saw the fight announcement post on Tuesday.

“I find it interesting how all this is happening,” Ferreira said. “First, we have them interviewing Werdum after our fight but they didn’t interview me. They only showed the replay in slow motion that made it seem I tapped. After that, the commission changed the result of our fight over the weekend in a decision so fast a lot of people have questioned their procedure.”

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Ferreira also questioned the PFL’s matchmaking system. The method for regular season matchmaking is unclear, as opposed to the tournament-style bracket that occurs in the playoffs.

“What’s their criteria?” Ferreira asked of the matchmaking. “We have no idea how the matchmaking works here but some things look kind of fishy.”

Despite the “surprise” opponent, Ferreira said his focus remains the same. That said, Ferreira vowed to face Werdum in the near future and expects a victory that will stand that time around.

“Isaev is a very good fighter and I knew we would cross paths eventually,” Ferreira said. “I’ll be ready for him and I’m gonna go in there to finish him so I move on in the tournament. They won’t be able to protect Werdum forever. I would be embarrassed to be in his place after all the shit he said after our fight. I’d be calling PFL to make the rematch happen. But he knows he’d get finished again, he doesn’t want anything to do with me”

Both Ferreira and Werdum will return to action on June 25 at 2021 PFL 6.

At the time of publication, PFL has not responded to MMA Junkie’s request for comment.