Professional Fighters League (PFL) have announced a blockbuster card to close out their inaugural PFL Europe season.
Alongside four PFL Europe title fights, the 13-bout card will include a host of names who have competed throughout the year and some familiar faces making promotional debuts.
After opening their season at the Vertu Motors Arena in Newcastle, the promotion then headed to the Vetri Music Hall, Berlin and Zenith Paris before they finally land at the 3Arena, Dublin on December 8, 2023.
Four title fights
The PFL European tournament will culminate in the Irish capital, with four champions set to be crowned. Over the course of the European Season athletes from four divisions have competed in knockout stage bouts to reach this point.
In the women’s Flyweight division, Manchester’s ‘Dangerous’ Dakota Ditcheva will enter enemy territory when she faces SBG Ireland’s Valentina Scatizzi.
Ditcheva is widely regarded as one of the best prospects in Britain and has certainly lived up to the hype so far, with one first-round submission and a 3rd round highlight reel finish over Malin Hermansson and Cornelia Holm on her way to the final. ‘Dangerous’ will want to keep her perfect record intact when she faces the Italian.
Scatizzi has had an interesting road to Dublin. Having edged a split decision victory over Lizzy Gevers in Newcastle, she then found herself in the final without competing, due to her last-minute opponent, Manuela Marconetto, missing weight.
Light Heavyweights will collide when ‘Smooth’ Simeon Powell and Jakob Nedoh meet on December 8.
Yet to see the final bell prior to entering the tournament, Powell has gained some valuable cage time throughout the tournament. ‘Smooth’ secured a slick second-round choke on the buzzer against Mohamed Amine before collecting a comfortable decision win over Daniel Ladero.
Entering the tournament as a relative unknown, Jakob Nedoh has shone as a top talent, defeating both his quarter and semi-final opponents in the very first round. In the wake of a loss in his professional debut, the Slovenian has racked up an impressive seven-fight win streak, with all finishes coming in the opening round.
John Mitchell will compete in front of an Irish crowd for the first time since his professional debut when he squares off against Jakub Kaszuba in the Lightweight final.
It’s almost unheard of to face the same opponent in two consecutive rounds of a tournament but this was the position Mitchell found himself in, this year. Having beaten Geysim Derouiche in their quarter-final clash in Berlin, Mitchell was slated to face Aleksandr Chizov but after Chizov missed weight, Derouiche was given a second chance at the Cork man. Once again Mitchell to the unanimous decision victory.
Jakub Kaszuba will be looking to upset Mitchell’s homecoming and extend his unbeaten run to eleven. Following a quick first-round stoppage over Maxim Radu in Berlin, Kaszuba faced Dylan Tuke in the semi finals. Although he dropped the first round, he turned the tides and managed to grind out a unanimous decision win.
Frans Mlambo and Khurshed Kakhorov battle out to become king of the 135lbs division.
Mlambo has had to call upon all of his previous experience to remain unphased during this tournament, having had original opponents pull out of their bouts in both rounds. On the back of two decision victories, the SBG star finds himself back in front of an Irish crowd since 2020.
Khurshed Kakhorov will want to right the wrongs of his last visit to Ireland, where he was beaten by a man he now shares the card with, Brett Johns. Following two shutout performances against Moktar Benkaci and Ali Taleb, Kakhorov cruised his way to the final and is now only one fight away from the $100,000.
McGrillen looking for 2023 clean sweep
One of the stand-out stars, away from the tournaments, has undeniably been Lewis McGrillen. ‘The McGrizzla’ burst onto the PFL scene in Newcastle where after talking the talk all week, he walked the walk on fight night scoring a spectacular finish over Salih Kulucan at PFL Europe 1. His star power was not only evident in the cage but out of it too, having sold hundreds of tickets to his promotional debut.
His stock rose to another level in Berlin when after a tough back-and-forth opening round, the Manchester Top Team man made the adjustments needed and took home yet another finish with his signature left hand.
McGrillen now has the opportunity to compete in next year’s European Bantamweight tournament but standing in his way is Matiss Zaharovs. Fans won’t want to blink during this one as, with 14 finishes between the pair, there’s a high chance the judges won’t be needed when they meet.
Veterans set for promotional debuts
Alongside the plethora of prospects set for the 3 Arena, the card will also see some more familiar faces of the British MMA scene compete. Former UFC and Bellator contender Brett Johns will appear in a Featherweight Showcase bout against David Tonatiuh Crol.
Tom Breese has the chance to lock down his place in PFL’s 2024 $1 Million Tournament if he can find a path to victory against Cleiton Silva. Following struggles away from the cage the Birmingham man has come back stronger than ever, amassing an impressive 5-1 record in less than 18 months.
Lightweights looking to cement place in 2024 tournament
Elsewhere on the card, six athletes will compete for a spot in next year’s European Lightweight tournament with Dylan Tuke facing Yazid Chouchane, Andreas Binder and Daniele Scatizzi competing in an all SBG showdown and Connor Hughes taking on Sebastian Santana Guedes.