5 incredible fighters to watch out for in the PFL 2021 season

Claressa Shields
Claressa Shields

The PFL (Professional Fighters League) kicks off its new season on Friday, April 23rd. The 2021 season features six weight classes, including the first-ever women’s lightweight division.

The PFL has gone from strength to strength each year and this season's lineup of fighters from Olympians to former UFC champions is sure to provide some world-class MMA action.

Here are 5 PFL fighters to watch out for this year:

#5 Clarissa Shields

Claressa Shields
Claressa Shields

Three-division world boxing champion Clarissa Shields is bringing her combat skillset to the PFL cage. The two-time Olympic gold medalist is fighting in the 155-pound lightweight division.

'T-Rex' has been training at the famous Jackson-Wink MMA gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico with former UFC champions Holly Holm and Jon Jones. The 26-year-old is widely considered as the pound-for-pound greatest female fighter in the world.

All eyes will be on the boxing star as she steps into the cage for the first time. Shields is scheduled to make her professional MMA debut against Brittany Elkin on Thursday, June 10th.

#4 Rory MacDonald

'The Red King' - Rory MacDonald
'The Red King' - Rory MacDonald

Former Bellator welterweight champion and UFC title challenger Rory MacDonald has signed with the PFL for this season and beyond. The 31-year-old veteran will be looking to use his experience to capture PFL gold.

'The Red King' arrives in the PFL with a 21-6-1 pro-MMA record. He holds victories over Nate Diaz, Tyron Woodley, Paul Daley and Douglas Lima.

Can the Canadian star show his championship pedigree or will he be a big-name casualty this season?

#3 Ali Isaev

2019 PFL Heavyweight Champion - Ali Isaev
2019 PFL Heavyweight Champion - Ali Isaev

2019 PFL heavyweight champion Ali Isaev returns to defend his crown. Undefeated in MMA, the fighter from Dagestan, Russia has an impeccable 9-0 record.

The former Olympian has 4 knockouts in his short MMA career, including an epic last-second stoppage of Denis Goltov in the 2019 PFL semifinal bout.

He defeated UFC veteran Jared Rosholt to win the heavyweight championship and the one million dollar prize. Isaev is definitely a fighter to keep an eye on.


#2 Anthony Pettis

Anthony Pettis
Anthony Pettis

One of the wildcards of this year’s PFL season is former UFC lightweight champion Anthony 'Showtime' Pettis. The 34-year-old veteran surprised many by signing with the PFL last year.

The fighter famous for the ‘showtime kick’ will be hoping to deliver some more unforgettable moments in the PFL cage. A 34-fight veteran, he has wins over Benson Henderson, Stephen Thompson, Charles Oliviera and Donald Cerrone.

Pettis headlines the first card of the season against former UFC fighter Clay Collard.

#1 Kayla Harrison

Kayla Harrison with MMA royalty
Kayla Harrison with MMA royalty

No one has dominated their opponents more in the PFL cage than Kayla Harrison. The 2019 PFL lightweight champion has a perfect MMA record of 8-0.

Six of her eight wins have come via stoppage, with three submissions and three knockouts. The 30-year-old two-time Olympic gold medalist will be looking to continue her dominance.

One of the most exciting prospects in MMA, it will be interesting to see if any woman can challenge Harrison inside the PFL cage.

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Edited by Avinash Tewari
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