PFL Announces Lightweight Qualifier Event in Russia

The road to the Professional Fighters League’s third season officially has matchups for its opening preseason event. On February 22, the PFL International Qualifier Series will take place at the RCC Arena in Ekaterinburg, Russia. The event will feature a men’s lightweight tournament.

“This preseason, we’re excited to launch the PFL’s first-ever International Qualifier Series in Russia, a country known for producing elite MMA athletes and a key market for PFL’s global growth,” said PFL CEO Peter Murray in a press release. “We look forward to seeing which RCC fighter can withstand the toughest test in MMA, fighting and winning twice in one night, to earn a contract with the PFL for the 2020 season.”

It was announced that the PFL’s recruitment plan will have a presence in Russia, Germany, Brazil, Australia and the United Arab Emirates. March 20 will be another qualifying event in Abu Dhabi, and it has been determined that tournament will feature the featherweight division. This was after the report stating that the PFL would gut 50% of its roster.

The lightweight tournament in Russia (partnering with the Russian Cagefighting Championship) will feature Timur Nagibin facing Muratbek Kasimbay and Mikhail Odintsov facing Vladimir Kanunnikov. The semi-finals and finals will take place on the same night, with the winner earning a spot on the PFL’s 2020 roster.

The PFL has been producing events on ESPN+ since season two started. As far as how these fights will be distributed, the press release provided stated that the tournaments will be distributed by the co-promotion partners of the PFL within their respective markets. The organization will then distribute the fights within the PFL Live App, YouTube, Facebook and Twitch.

The 26-year-old Timur Nagibin (15-4, 1NC) is currently on a one-fight win streak, beating Mike Santiago via TKO back in November. He is 2-2 in his last five with one no-contest. He faces Muratbek Kasimbay (10-1), who is on a five-fight win streak. His last win was via TKO against Khairullo Usmonov back in September. In four fights, he has three knockout wins.

On the other side of the bracket, Mikhail Odintsov (16-2) has won five fights in a row. The 27-year-old’s last win came against Joao Paulo Rodrigues de Souza back in December, beating him via unanimous decision. He faces Vladimir Kanunnikov (10-2), who is currently on a one-fight win streak. He knocked out Clodoaldo Lima back in December.

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