Monday, the UFC announced that its June 12 UFC 263 pay-per-view event will be held inside Gila River Arena in Glendale, AZ, making this card the third straight UFC pay-per-view to be held as a traditional arena show since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Onward to today’s focus:
2021 PFL 3:
It’s been a fast three weeks for the start of the 2021 PFL season—a regular season which is just about in the rear-view mirror—but not before 2021 PFL 3 this Thursday night.
Live coverage of this card begins with part one at 5:30 p.m. ET, 2:30 p.m. PT on ESPN+, with part two airing at 9 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. PT on ESPN2.
Heavyweights and Women’s Lightweights will get their first of two opportunities to score points on Thursday night in the hopes to advance to the semifinal round later on this year.
It doesn’t happen too often in MMA, but this week’s event has two fights at the top of the card which are both worthy of being the headliner.
In your co-main event on Thursday night, defending PFL Women’s Lightweight champion Kayla Harrison (8-0, 0-0 2021 PFL, no points in the standings), the first woman to win a championship at 155 lbs. in MMA history, will fight Mariana Morais (16-10, 0-0 2021 PFL, no points in the standings).
If the hype video released by the Harrison camp is any indication, Kayla Harrison is locked in and fired up for this co-main event:
Immediately following that bout, your Heavyweight main attraction pits former UFC Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum (24-9, 0-0 2021 PFL, no points in the standings) against Renan Ferreira (6-2, 0-0 2021 PFL, no points in the standings.
This is an atypical move for us, as although there won’t be championships at stake on Thursday night, you could legitimately make a case for either fight at the top of the card being the main event—and so, we’ll break down each of these fights.
Co-Main Event: Kayla Harrison vs. Mariana Morais:
Heading into your co-headliner on Thursday night, Kayla Harrison is the taller competitor at 5-foot-8, with her opponent, Mariana Morais, standing 5-foot-5.
How they got here:
The champ has yet to lose in her professional MMA career, most recently defeating Courtney King (second-round knockout: punches) back in November during INVICTA FC 43 on UFC Fight Pass.
Harrison was to have fought Jozette Cotton the next month during TITAN FC 66—a fight that was postponed after the latter was hospitalized due to coming in 24 lbs. over the maximum allowable weight for a nontitle fight at Lightweight (180 lbs., with the nontitle maximum being 156 lbs.)
In the other corner, Morais has posted a 3-2 mark in her last five fights and is currently on a three-fight winning streak, scoring a first-round knockout (punches) of Bianca Dalmoni on March 1, 2020 during Shooto Brazil: Grand Prix.
The Tale of the Tape:
Tapology shows that Morais has a ½-inch reach advantage (66 inches even to 65 ½ inches) over Harrison going into this fight.
Prediction: Kayla Harrison by first-round armbar.
Main Event: Fabricio Werdum vs. Renan Ferreira:
Going into the headliner of 2021 PFL 3, Renan Ferreira holds a sizable height advantage (6-foot-10, compared to 6-foot-4) over Fabricio Werdum.
How they got here:
Werdum has posted a 3-2 record over his last five MMA appearances, most recently snapping a two-fight losing streak against Alexander Gustafsson by submission (first-round armbar) during the July 25 UFC Fight Night, his last appearance with the promotion before entering free-agency.
In the other corner, Ferreira has gone 4-1 in his last five fights, scoring a second-round knockout vs. Jared Vanderaa in LFA 74’s main event back in 2019.
The Tale of the Tape:
Tapology shows that Renan Ferreira owns a 6 ½-inch reach advantage (83 ½ inches to 77 inches) over Fabricio Werdum going into this main event.
Prediction: Fabricio Werdum by first-round TKO.
Two other fights make up part two. They are:
Ali Isaev (9-0, 0-0 2021 PFL, no points in the standings) vs. Hatef Moeli (10-4, 0-0 2021 PFL, no points in the standings) [Heavyweight]
Genah Fabian (2-1, 0-0 2021 PFL, no points in the standings) vs. Laura Sanchez (1-0, 0-0 2021 PFL, no points in the standings) [Women’s Lightweight]