PFL Announces 2024 Playoff Main Cards, Former Bellator Champ Replaced In Semifinal

Following the conclusion of the promotion’s latest global regular season, the lineups are set for this year’s PFL Playoffs.

2024 was always going to be a big one for the PFL, as it marks the first season since it acquired a rival promotion in Bellator. After kicking off the year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with a cross-brand event and commencing its sophomore PFL Europe campaign in Paris, eyes turned to the global season.

And having hosted six events across April and June, the brackets for the 2024 PFL Playoffs were decided, and the main cards are now set.

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A recent press release announced which semifinals will feature in main event slots, as well as the order below them.

PFL Playoffs 1: Goltsov vs. Johnson (August 2)

This year’s PFL playoffs will kick off with heavyweight and women’s flyweight action at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, on August 2.

In the main event, PFL veteran Denis Goltsov makes his bid for a second championship final in what will be his fourth semifinal appearance. The Russian has worked his way back to the postseason courtesy of knockout wins over Linton Vassell and Thiago Santos. He’ll next face Tim Johnson, whose six-point finish of Danilo Marques saw him secure a playoff place in his SmartCage debut.

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The other heavyweight semifinal has undergone a change. In the second fight of the night, Linton Vassell will battle Oleg Popov for a place in the final. The former didn’t qualify in the top four spots but has been handed a chance at redemption following an injury to former interim Bellator champion Valentin Moldavsky.

Co-headlining for the women’s flyweights will be Dakota Ditcheva, who breezed to top-seed status in the regular season by extending her perfect professional record with crushing TKOs against Lisa Mauldin and Chelsea Hackett. She’s next set for her toughest test to date opposite Jena Bishop.

Opening the main card, meanwhile, will be an intriguing semifinal matchup between two flyweight elites in ex-UFC title challenger Taila Santos and Bellator champ Liz Carmouche, both of whom recorded consecutive wins to secure their playoff spots.

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Main Card (9 PM ET, ESPN/ESPN+):

  • Heavyweight Playoffs Main Event: Denis Goltsov (34-8) vs. Tim Johnson (18-9) 
  • Women’s Flyweight Playoffs Co-Main Event: Dakota Ditcheva (12-0) vs. Jena Bishop (7-1)
  • Heavyweight Playoffs Main Card Bout: Oleg Popov (18-1) vs. Linton Vassell (25-9) 
  • Women’s Flyweight Playoffs Main Card Bout: Liz Carmouche (22-7) vs. Taila Santos (21-3) 

PFL Playoffs 2: Kasanganay vs. Silveira (August 16)

The second stop in the PFL’s postseason sees the SmartCage head to Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida, for light heavyweight and lightweight fights on August 16.

In the main event, Impa Kasanganay continues his pursuit of a second straight PFL championship against the man at the expense of whom he captured the 205-pound crown in 2023, Josh Silveira. The other light heavyweight contest comes in the co-headliner, with 2022 title winner Rob Wilkinson battling Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov.

Opening the main card on August 16 will be the always entertaining Clay Collard, whose quest for a first PFL title must next go through former Bellator standout Brent Primus. Elsewhere in that division, Gadzhi Rabadanov and Michael Dufort will share the cage.

Main Card (9 PM ET, ESPN/ESPN+):

  • Light Heavyweight Playoffs Main Event: Impa Kasanganay (17-4) vs. Josh Silveira (13-3)
  • Light Heavyweight Playoffs Co-Main Event: Rob Wilkinson (19-2) vs. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (23-7-1)
  • Lightweight Playoffs Main Card Bout: Gadzhi Rabadanov (22-4-1) vs. Michael Dufort (13-5) 
  • Lightweight Playoffs Main Card Bout: Brent Primus (14-3) vs. Clay Collard (25-13) 

PFL Playoffs 3: Loughnane vs. Kamaka III (August 23)

The featherweights and welterweights will round out the semifinal action at The Anthem in Washington D.C. on August 23.

In the main event, 2022 featherweight kingpin Brendan Loughnane looks to continue his momentum from a strong regular season en route to another dose of PFL success. To do so, he must stall the charge of Kai Kamaka III, who is looking to capture the $1 million check in his first taste of season action. The other featherweight semifinal sees 2023 finalist Gabriel Braga tasked with blemishing the perfect record of Timur Khizriev.

Co-headlining the August 23 card will be Magomed Umalatov, whose submission of Brennan Ward last time out has left him as a potential favorite in the eyes of many. He’ll look to further prove those predictions right by eliminating South Africa’s Don Madge from the equation. Opening the main card at 170 pounds, meanwhile, is a rematch between the undefeated Shamil Musaev and Murad Ramazanov. While the latter was knocked out by his fellow countryman in June, his first regular season bout was enough to keep him inside the divisional top four.

Main Card (9 PM ET, ESPN/ESPN+):

  • Featherweight Playoffs Main Event: Brendan Loughnane (29-5) vs. Kai Kamaka (14-5-1) 
  • Welterweight Playoffs Co-Main Event: Magomed Umalatov (16-0) vs. Don Madge (11-5-1) 
  • Featherweight Playoffs Main Card Bout: Gabriel Braga (14-1) vs. Timur Khizriev (16-0) 
  • Welterweight Playoffs Main Card Bout: Shamil Musaev (18-0-1) vs. Murad Ramazanov (12-1)
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