Saudi Arabia, January 16, 2024: Riyadh Season has revealed that the Professional Fighters League (PFL) and the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) will host an unprecedented mega pay-per-view event – PFL Champions vs. Bellator Champions – hosted by the state-of-the-art Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday 24 February.
This unprecedented Champions vs. Champions fight card features four marquee fights between the current PFL champions and the current Bellator champions. Additionally, the card features two exciting matchups between former PFL title challengers and former Bellator title challengers.
The first PFL PPV Super Fight event will feature seven bouts between current and former champions, as well as title challengers from PFL and Bellator, and will be available on ESPN+ PPV and DAZN starting at 3:00 PM ET. Additionally, three key showcase matchups will take place during the preliminary airing of the card in the United States on ESPNEWS and ESPN+ starting at 12:00 PM ET.
In today’s fighting game landscape, fans want to see the best fights pitted against the best. With the PFL’s acquisition of Bellator, fight fans will get it on February 24, when two MMA giants descend on Saudi Arabia to see who will come out on top. The newly designed Super Fight Championship belts and the future of PFL and Bellator highlight this spectacle of three-round super fights where elbows are legal and winner takes all.
In the main event, the heavyweights clash as PFL Renan Ferreira (12-3), fresh off his emphatic second-round TKO victory during the 2023 PFL Championship, meets the first athlete in Bellator history to become champion in two weight divisions simultaneously, Ryan Bader (31-7).
Newly crowned PFL light heavyweight kingpin Impa Kasanganay (15-3) returns to 185 pounds for the first time since joining the PFL when he takes on the man many fans consider the best undefeated middleweight on the planet Johnny Eblen (14-0).
Two-time PFL champion Magomed Magomedkerimov (34-6), who is currently in the midst of a six-fight unbeaten streak, puts his current streak on the line against the Bellator welterweight title Jason Jackson (17-4), the proud Jamaican recently ended the longest win streak in MMA (27) by winning the title against Yaroslav Amosov.
At the featherweight, pride of Peru, Jesus Pinedo (23-6-1) returns to action fresh off a 2023 PFL Championship win to take on one of Bellator’s most successful fighters of all time, the Brazilian Patrick Pitbull (35-7), the current Bellator featherweight champion and former lightweight champion.
In addition to four fights with current PFL and Bellator champions, former heavyweight champion Bruno Cappelozza (15-6) welcomes the former Bellator light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov (17-2) at the 265-pound limit when they clash on Feb. 24. Also a couple of former No. 1 contenders. 1 heavy-handed are ready to face 205 pounds when Brazil Thiago Santos (22-11) goes against the former Olympian Yoël Romero (15-7).
Rounding out the PPV portion of the show will be something always exciting Collard clay (24-11) takes on the former Bellator featherweight champion AJ McKee (21-1) in a special lightweight clash between attacking specialists.
During the Champions vs. preliminary card Champions, the PFL’s top featherweight contender Gabriele Braga (12-1) and top featherweight contender, Bellator Aaron Pico (12-4), will face off, while Biaggio Ali Walsh, grandson of iconic boxer Muhammad Ali, makes his pro debut at 155 pounds. Champions vs. Champions will also mark the return to the PFL SmartCage Claressa Scudithe greatest female boxer in the world, completing a great collection of talent in MMA and combat sports.
HE Turki Alalshikh, President of the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), said: “The Riyadh season is putting on some of the biggest fighting events around and the PFL Champions vs Bellator Champions definitely belongs in that category. We are delighted to host this first-of-its-kind event, which will feature some of the most exciting bouts and break new ground in the world of combat sports.”
PFL CEO Peter Murray said: “The Middle East is the fighting capital of the world and the Professional Fighters League is proud to bring the world’s best combat sports stars to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the Riyadh season to host the PFL’s first PPV. Super Fight mega-global event. PFL Champions vs. Bellator Champions will be a game-changer for fighters and fans. I would like to thank HE Turki Alalshikh, GEA and SRJ for this incredible opportunity to grow the sport of MMA in the Kingdom and around the world.
Danny Townsend, CEO of SRJ Sports Investments, said: “Knowing that the passion for combat sports runs deep across Saudi Arabia and the wider MENA region, we are thrilled to bring Champions vs Champions to Riyadh next month, for what promises to be an unforgettable night of fighting action. Champions vs Champions will be a truly global sporting spectacle, watched by millions of fans around the world and played in front of one of the largest and fastest growing international audiences in sports For us as SRJ Sports Investments, supporting the growth of game-changing brands like PFL is at the heart of our ambitions to unlock global opportunities through sports that have strong regional relevance here in the MENA region, contributing to the wider sports economy and inspiring the next generation of Saudis.”
Shay Segev, CEO of DAZN Group, said: “We are delighted to once again partner with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Riyadh Season for the PFL Champions vs Champions event. The PFL is one of the most exciting and innovative sports brands around. All this, combined with HE Turki Alalshikh’s vision, will make February 24th a night to remember. Combat sports fans around the world will soon be able to tune in for a truly exceptional series of shows live from Riyadh on DAZN, including this mega PFL event.”
PPV Card – ESPN+ PPV and DAZN – 3pm ET
Heavyweight Champion vs. Champion Match: Renan Ferreira (PFL World Champion) vs. Ryan Bader (Bellator Champion)
Middleweight Champion vs. Champion Matchup: Impa Kasanganay (PFL Light Heavyweight World Champion) vs. Johnny Eblen (Bellator Champion)
Welterweight Champion vs. Champion Match: Magomed Magomedkerimov (PFL World Champion) vs. Jason Jackson (Bellator Champion)
Featherweight Champion vs. Champion Match: Jesus Pinedo (PFL World Champion) vs.
Patrick Pitbull (Bellator Champion)
Heavyweight bout: Bruno Cappelozza (former PFL world champion) vs. Vadim Nemkov (former Bellator champion)
Light heavyweight showcase bout: Thiago Santos (PFL title contender) vs. Yoël Romero
(Bellator title contender)
Light showcase meeting: Collard clay (PFL title contender) vs. AJ McKee (former Bellator champion)
Early Card – ESPNEWS and ESPN+ (US) – 12pm ET
Featherweight showcase bout: Gabriele Braga (PFL title contender) vs. Aaron Pico
(Bellator title contender)
Light showcase meeting: Biaggio Ali Walsh (Pro Debut) vs. Chris Morris (Pro Debut)
Light showcase meeting: Claressa Scudi against Kelsey DeSantis
Featherweight showcase bout: Abdullah Al-Qahtani against Edukondal Rao
Amateur flyweight bout: Malik Basahel against Vinicio Pereira
As part of the historic investment agreement announced last year, the Professional Fighters League and SRJ Sports Investments (“SRJ”) will host numerous mega-global PFL PPV Super Fight Division events in Saudi Arabia each year.
The Riyadh season attracts people from all over the world to experience a wide range of international martial arts and boxing events. It also offers various entertainment options and international experiences. During the winter months, visitors can attend thousands of concerts, exhibitions and other events in Riyadh. This unique entertainment involves the participation of celebrities and famous brands. To book tickets for events and experiences in the area you can use the WeBook application through this link: http:// onelink.to/wbkapp.
The PFL is the only MMA organization with a sports season format, where individual fighters compete in a regular season, playoff and championship each year. The combined PFL and Bellator roster boasts 30% of its fighters independently ranked globally in the top 25 of their respective weight class, the same percentage as the UFC. PFL has an expansive global vision for the sport and is building the “Champions League of MMA” with PFL Europe, PFL MENA and other international leagues in development. PFL is a leader in technology and innovation, with its proprietary PFL SmartCage, which powers fight analysis, real-time betting, AI scoring and a next-generation viewing experience. PFL is in primetime on ESPN/ESPN+ in the United States and is broadcast and streamed in 150 countries with 20 premium media distribution partners.
ABOUT RIYADH SEASON
Every year during the winter, the capital of Saudi Arabia hosts one of the largest entertainment events in the world. Since the launch of the Riyadh season in 2019, the festival has welcomed visitors from around the world to experience thousands of concerts, sporting activities and other unique cultural events. For further information, contact Riyadh Season Media Center via email: email@example.com.
ON THE LEAGUE OF PROFESSIONAL FIGHTERS
The Professional Fighters League (PFL) is a global powerhouse in MMA and the fastest growing sports league in the world. PFL has five live fight franchises, offering year-round content: PFL League Season, PFL PPV Super Fights, PFL Challenger Series, PFL International Leagues and Bellator. Founded in 2018, PFL is backed by leading blue-chip investors including SRJ, Ares, Knighthead, Luxor Capital, Waverley Capital, Elysian Park Ventures and numerous NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS team owners. MMA is the growing sports business of this decade, with 650 million fans worldwide, the youngest audiences and real global revenue streams.
ON SPORTS INVESTMENTS SRJ
SRJ (/Surge/) Sports Investments is a leading sports investor, wholly owned by PIF, and established to develop a world-class sports sector in Saudi Arabia and beyond. SRJ Sports Investments focuses on promoting sustainable investments in technology, media, programming, intellectual property rights and facility commercialization, serving the sports sector in Saudi Arabia and across the MENA region.