Manchester’s Abraham Bably didn’t need long to make an explosive first impression in the PFL SmartCage as he finished American prospect Hassan Graham to earn a PFL contract in Week 3 of the promotion’s Challenger Series.

Bably was the standout performer as the heavyweights took center stage in the PFL’s talent-finding series, with the Brit finishing Graham in three minutes, 56 seconds to claim the fastest finish of the night and, later that evening, a PFL contract.

The night kicked off with Scotland’s Louie Sutherland, who defeated former Contender Series hopeful Alton Meeks of the United States via second-round TKO to get the night off to an explosive start.

Bably then followed up with a heavy-handed finish of his own to stop Graham in the opening round before America’s Isaiah Pinson outpointed Brazil’s Vitor Resende.

The featured bout of the night saw Brazilian four-fight UFC veteran Danilo Marques defeat American Ras Hylton via second-round submission. But his rear-naked choke finish, and big-stage experience, weren’t enough to sway the PFL’s panel of former UFC champions Vitor Belfort and Frank Mir, plus Olympic wrestling champion and WWE legend Kurt Angle, who narrowed down the night’s winners to the two Brits, with Sutherland and Bably considered the two top performers of the night.

Ultimately, the panel chose Bably to win the PFL contract and the fans agreed, as the English heavyweight became the newest name to join the PFL’s main roster for 2023.

PFL Challenger Series: Week 3 results

  • Danilo Marques def. Ras Hylton via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:33
  • Isaiah Pinson def. Vitor Resende via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Abraham Bably def. Hassan Graham via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:56
  • Louie Sutherland def. Alton Meeks via TKO (knee and punches) – Round 2, 1:25