We've signed welterweights Gleison Tibau, Alexei Kunchenko and Jason Ponet; featherweights Chris Wade and Anthony Dizy, women’s lightweights Kaitlin Young and Taylor Guardado; and light heavyweight Nick Roehrick to complete the 2021 PFL Roster!— PFL MMA (@ProFightLeague) February 25, 2021
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The Professional Fighters League has finalized its divisions for its upcoming 2021 season.
In a press release sent out by the tournament-based league on Thursday, the PFL has set its 60-fighter lineup for its latest season. Much of its roster had already been disclosed in sections for its weight classes of featherweight and lightweight, welterweight and light heavyweight, and finally, heavyweight and women’s lightweight. Like the past season, each category will initially hold just 10 fighters, and the ranks are now set.
At featherweight, 2018 and 2019 semifinalist Chris Wade (17-6) will return to try to reach the finals for the first time. Coming up short against Natan Schulte and Loik Radzhabov by decision in the previous seasons, “The Long Island Killer” won his first playoff matches only to drop the second later those nights. The seven-fight Ultimate Fighting Championship vet left the promotion in search of the million-dollar prize. Along with Wade, France’s Anthony Dizy (13-3) will take a two-fight win streak from in M-1 Global into a crack at the million at 145 pounds.
Joining the welterweight lineup will include two former UFC fighters and a well-traveled Frenchman. Both Gleison Tibau (35-14) and Alexey Kunchenko (20-2) fought in the UFC in the past, with Tibau competing a whopping 28 times from 2006 to 2016, while four matches for Kunchenko spelled his eventual release in 2020. Jason Ponet (20-12-1, 1 NC) will seal the 170-pound division, as a 12-year veteran with multiple appearances in M-1, Cage Warriors Fighting Championship and Full Metal Dojo.
In the light heavyweight division, Nick Roehrick (9-1) will be the lone 205-pounder that will fill out that weight class. A one-time UFC vet, Roehrick was dispatched by Jared Cannonier and took some time off. Coming back nearly two years later to make 0-6 Linc Battee verbally submit, the Florida native competed in one of the last regional events before the pandemic halted the sport for several months, beating Waylon Quotskuyva by decision.
Finally, two lightweights will try to dethrone Kayla Harrison in the lone women’s division. Former Invicta Fighting Championships featherweight title challenger Kaitlin Young (11-10-1) and Invicta Phoenix Series 3 bantamweight finalist Taylor Guardado (0-1) will both vie for $1 million. The two will join a grouping that includes 2019 champ Harrison, finalist Larissa Pacheco and ex-UFC fighter Cindy Dandois.
The 2021 PFL season will begin on April 23, where it will begin a three-week stretch of events that include shows on April 29 and May 6 for the first leg of the regular season. The second half of the season takes place on June 10, 17 and 25, which will determine the seeding for the fall playoffs.