Chris Avila Pulls Off Upset Boxing Victory Over Anthony Pettis

Chris Avila has pulled off an upset…

In a somewhat surprising result to many viewers, the Latino boxer (6-1) defeated former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis (1-1) via unanimous decision (58-56, 59-55, 59-55) in a six-round 175-pound affair on the main card of the Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal-headlined boxing event.

Chris AvilaAvila utilized a high-volume attack, much similar to a Diaz, as pointed out by commentator Sean O’Malley on the broadcast.

There were arm-punches galore, as Avila successfully implemented his unusual but effective approach.

Pettis hung in with Avila, but was unable to score much significant offense if any. Avila halted him on a multiple occasions with hooks that visibly threw Pettis out of rhythm.

The win for Avila was his sixth in a row since he lost his professional boxing debut in 2014.

Avila also holds boxing wins over MMA notables Jeremy Stephens and Anthony Taylor.

Pettis has fought all over the combat sports world since his UFC departure in 2020.

He remains under contract with PFL but also has competed in boxing and for Karate Combat.

Nate Diaz Protégé Chris Avila to Fight Former UFC Champion Anthony Pettis in Boxing Match

Chris Avila is preparing to battle a former UFC champion in the boxing ring…

The 31-year-old mixed martial artist and Nate Diaz protégé will battle Anthony Pettis, once a UFC lightweight titleholder, on the undercard of Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal later this summer.

Chris AvilaThe event will take place on June 1 at The Forum in Inglewood, California, per ESPN. The bout is contracted for six rounds at 175 pounds.

Pettis, 37, made his pro boxing debut in April 2023, a majority decision victory over boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. The Milwaukee native is coming off a unanimous decision win over fellow former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson at Karate Combat in December 2023. Pettis, who last fought in MMA for PFL in 2022, held the UFC lightweight belt from 2013 to 2015.

Avila, 31, is 5-1 as a pro boxer and has had success in the influencer space of the genre. The Stockton, California, native owns boxing wins over MMA fighters Jeremy Stephens and Anthony Taylor, as well as influencers Paul Bamba and Mikhail “Dr. Mike” Varshavski. Avila is a longtime training partner of Diaz’s out of Nick Diaz Academy.

Diaz and Masvidal fought for the UFC’s symbolic BMF in 2019 at New York’s Madison Square Garden, with Masvidal winning via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) due to a Diaz cut. The two have harbored bad blood since before that bout.

Taila Santos Signs Exclusive Deal with Professional Fighters League

Taila Santos is switching leagues…

The 30-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC title challenger has signed an exclusive deal with the Professional Fighters League (PFL).

Taila SantosOfficials haven’t formally announced the deal, but ESPN sources confirmed the news after an initial report by OCP News on Friday. 

Santos (19-3) signed with the UFC after earning a deal on Dana White‘s Contender Series in 2018. She went 4-1 in her first five appearances, including wins over notable names like Molly McCannRoxanne Modafferi and Joanne Wood.

She challenged Valentina Shevchenko for the 125-pound championship in 2022, and nearly pulled off one of the biggest upsets in UFC history in a split-decision loss.

She made her last UFC appearance against Erin Blanchfield in August, losing by decision.

The PFL will promote a women’s flyweight division for the first time in its regular-season history. The division will debut on April 4 in San Antonio.

Cris Cyborg to Return to Boxing Ring to Fight Kelsey Wickstrum in January

Cris Cyborg is heading to the boxing ring…

The 38-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, the current Bellator women’s featherweight champion, will fight Kelsey Wickstrum.

Cris CyborgCyborg, one of the greatest women’s fighters in MMA history, will face Wickstrum in a boxing event on January 19 at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California, according to sources.

The future of Bellator is uncertain. Showtime, its broadcast partner, has announced that it will be leaving the combat sports business at the end of 2023. Viacom, Bellator’s parent company, has the MMA promotion up for sale, and PFL is the front-runner to acquire it, sources said. That deal could be done in the near future.

Cyborg is 1-0 as a pro boxer and has another victory in a boxing exhibition in her home country of Brazil.

The California resident is coming off a first-round TKO over Cat Zingano at Bellator 300 last month to pick up her fifth title defense.

Wickstrum, 36, is 2-0 as a pro boxer with one knockout. The bout is contracted for 154 pounds over six rounds.

Cyborg is expected to compete in both MMA and boxing in the latter portion of an illustrious career. She is the only fighter in MMA history to win championships in four different major promotions: UFC, Bellator, Strikeforce and Invicta. Cyborg has a total of 12 title defenses across those four title reigns.

Earlier this week, Chantelle Cameron, who is boxing Katie Taylor next, called out Cyborg for a fight in PFL or Bellator.

Renan Ferreira Defeats Maurice Greene to Reach PFL Heavyweight Championship

It didn’t take long for Renan Ferreira to advance to the Professional Fighters League heavyweight championship.

The 33-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist dispatched Maurice Greene with first-round punches in the PFL heavyweight semifinal on Friday inside The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Renan Ferreira 

Ferreira (11-3, 5-1 PFL) slammed the door 4:46 into Round 1.

Greene (11-9, 1-3 PFL) tried to keep his counterpart at bay with leg kicks, but the disparity in talent became more and more evident with each passing moment. Ferreira connected with body-head jabs, crisp low kicks of his own and clean multi-punch combinations. Eventually, he walked Greene into a devastating counter right hand. “The Crochet Boss” folded where he stood and hit the deck, where he was met with a burst of punches that separated him from his senses.

Riding high on the strength of back-to-back victories, Ferreira advances to face Denis Goltsov in the $1,000,000 heavyweight final in November.

Larissa Pacheco Scores First-Round Knockout to Advance to PFL Women’s Featherweight Championship

Larissa Pacheco is thisclose to becoming the first two-division PFL champion after less than 15 seconds of fight time.

The 28-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist didn’t break a sweat against Olena Kolesnyk (9-6), knocking her out in just 14 seconds in a women’s featherweight playoff semifinal Friday in New York.

Larissa Pacheco After blasting Kolesnyk with a straight right hand during the first exchange of the fight, Pacheco collapsed her against the cage with another hard right, then finished her with a third big right hand as the referee swiftly jumped in.

It was Pacheco’s ninth straight victory since losing the 2019 lightweight final to two-season champ Kayla Harrison. Seven of those wins have come via first-round knockout, including all three of her meetings with Kolesnyk. Another of those wins was Pacheco’s upset of Harrison in last November’s 155-pound final.

“I was super confident because I work a lot, I put a lot of effort into this,” Pacheco, who was a 21-1 betting favorite, said afterward through an interpreter. “I’m not the type of queen that just sits around and waits for people to come out and bus my table. I go out there and I go to work.”

It was the second straight fight that Pacheco has ended by knockout in the first minute — which she cited as an impediment to showing off her development. “I feel like if the fights lasted a little longer, I would be able to show more evolution,” she said. “I can’t really help it that once my hands land, they just fall.”

The top-seeded Pacheco will go for a second straight season championship on November 24 against No. 2 seed Marina Mokhnatkina (11-3), who also scored a quick finish to earn her spot in the final. Mokhnatkina, a six-time world sambo world champion from Russia, took Amber Leibrock (7-6) to the canvas seconds into their fight and immediately worked her way to an armbar, eliciting the tapout at 1:45 of Round 1. Mokhnatkina is 5-1 in the PFL, with her only loss coming at lightweight last year against Harrison.

Boxing Champion Amanda Serrano Signs Deal with Professional Fighters League to Return to Secondary Sport

Amanda Serrano is mixing things up…

The 34-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler, the undisputed featherweight boxing champion, is returning to her secondary sport — mixed martial arts.

Amanda SerranoSerrano has signed a deal with the Professional Fighters League‘s (PFL) Super Fight division, marking the seven-division boxing champion’s return to MMA.

While her first MMA fight with PFL has yet to be announced, she is boxing Saturday night to defend her undisputed featherweight title against Heather Hardy on the undercard of the Jake PaulNate Diaz fight.

Serrano, a future Hall of Famer, is 44-2-1 in boxing with 30 knockouts. She’s the No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, according to ESPN, behind Claressa Shields and Katie Taylor.

Serrano said in February she wanted to fight in MMA again before she retires and this would be the next step in making that happen. She is 2-0-1 in MMA, last fighting June 11, 2021, when she beat Valentina Garcia in an iKON Fighting Federation match.

Both of Serrano’s MMA wins were by submission and she has fought at two divisions in the sport, flyweight and strawweight. She is also 5-0 in no-gi submission grappling, her last fight a unanimous-decision win over Erin Finkeldey in New York City in 2019.

“I may be known for boxing, but I’ve always loved and trained in MMA and Jiu-Jitsu, knowing those skills would only add to my ability when going against any opponent,” Serrano said in a news release announcing her signing. “The [PFL’s] commitment to gender equality, providing equal opportunities and recognition of female fighters is also a driving force behind my decision.

“I can’t wait to step back into the cage and deliver thrilling performances and unforgettable moments for fans around the world.”

Renan Ferreira to Fight Maurice Greene as Part of Professional Fighters League’s Big Apple Semifinal Fights

Renan Ferreira is preparing for a battle in the Big Apple

The 33-year-old Brazilian mixed martial arts fighter will compete as part of the Professional Fighters League’s final two semifinal dates in its return to New York.

Renan FerreiraFerreira, a knockout artist, will take on Maurice Greene in the August 18 main event, a heavyweight semifinal.

A lightweight semifinal between Shane Burgos and Clay Collard will headline an August 23 card.

Both cards will take place at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. The men’s heavyweight and women’s featherweight division semifinals will be August 18, with the men’s lightweight and welterweight semis set for August 23. The August 23 main card will kick off with an amateur bout involving Muhammad Ali‘s grandson, Biaggio Ali Walsh.

The PFL previously announced the men’s featherweight and light heavyweight playoffs, scheduled for August 4 in San Antonio. The winners of the semifinal matchups will fight later this year for the PFL’s $1 million divisional championships.

Ferreira (10-3) is coming off a 50-second knockout of Matheus Scheffel on June 16 in regular-season competition. He has just one loss in eight PFL fights.

Greene (11-8), a training partner of Jon Jones, went 1-1 in the regular season. The 37-year-old New York native is a UFC veteran.

Burgos (16-4) got into the playoffs when the PFL suspended Natan Schulte and Raush Manfio for not fulfilling contractual obligations in a lackluster regular-season bout. Burgos, who is 32 and from New York, is coming off a unanimous decision win over Yamato Nishikawa on June 23.

Collard (23-10, 1 NC), who also has boxing experience, went 2-0 in the regular season, including a second-round TKO of Stevie Ray on June 23. Collard, 30, is 5-2 in the PFL.

Here’s a look at the upcoming PFL cards:

Aug. 18
ESPN card
Heavyweight semifinal: Renan Ferreira vs. Maurice Greene
Women’s featherweight semifinal: Larissa Pacheco vs. Olena Kolesnyk
Heavyweight semifinal: Denis Goltsov vs. Jordan Heiderman
Women’s featherweight semifinal: Marina Mokhnatkina vs. Amber Leibrock
Nathan Kelly vs. Damion Nelson

ESPN+ Card
Chris Mixan vs. Eddie George
Abraham Bably vs. Anthony Wint
Danilo Marques vs. Satoshi Ishii
Laureano Staropoli vs. Ben Egli
Kaytlin Neil vs. Maira Mazar
Louis Sutherland vs. Daiqwon Buckley

Aug. 23
ESPN card
Lightweight semifinal: Clay Collard vs. Shane Burgos
Lightweight semifinal: Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Bruno Miranda
Welterweight semifinal: Sadibou Sy vs. Carlos Leal
Welterweight semifinal: Magomed Magomedkerimov vs. Magomed Umalatov
Amateur bout: Biaggio Ali-Walsh vs. TBA

ESPN+ card
Alexei Pergande vs. Shawn Stefanelli
Mostafa Rashed Neda vs. Korey Kuppe
Abigail Montes vs. Michelle Montague
Abdullah Al-Qahtani vs. David Zelner
John Caldone vs. Nathaniel Grimard

Junior dos Santos to Fight Fabricio Werdum in Bareknuckle MMA Fight This September

Junior dos Santos is preparing to go the knuckle

The 39-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and professional wrestler, a former UF heavyweight champion, will face compatriot Fabricio Werdum in bareknuckle mixed martial arts fight on September 8 in Jacksonville, Florida under the banner of Jorge Masvidal‘s Gamebred Bareknuckle MMA.

Junior Dos Santosdos Santos and Werdum, two of the top UFC heavyweights of their generation will meet in a highly anticipated rematch.

dos Santos and Werdum first met in the UFC in 2008 with dos Santos winning by first-round knockout.

MMA journalist Ariel Helwani was the first to report the news as official Friday.

dos Santos’ coach Conan Silveira first mentioned the fight in an interview with Sherdog earlier this month.

dos Santos last fought in May 2022 for Eagle FC, losing via TKO due to a shoulder injury. He departed the UFC in 2020. “Cigano” was the UFC heavyweight champion in 2011 and 2012.

Werdum, 45, was UFC heavyweight champion in 2015 and 2016. He ended legend Fedor Emelianenko‘s decade-long unbeaten streak under the Strikeforce banner in 2010 and is considered one of the best heavyweight grapplers ever. “Vai Cavalo” has not fought since a run with PFL in 2021.

Chris Avila to Fight Jeremy Stephens in Pro Boxing Match

Chris Avila has lined up his next opponent…

The Latino pro mixed martial artist turned boxer, a longtime teammate of Nate Diaz, will face UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens in a pro boxing match on the undercard of the Jake PaulNate Diaz card on August 5 in Dallas.

Chris AvilaThe bout is contracted for 168 pounds over eight rounds, according to a release.

Avila, who first mentioned the fight Wednesday on The MMA Hour, is the more experienced boxer, but Stephens spent 14 years in the UFC.

Stephens made his pro boxing debut in April with a draw against UFC legend Jose Aldo. The San Diego resident fought in the PFL last year after departing from the UFC, where he was a heavy hitter with the second-most knockdowns in promotion history (18, tied with Anderson Silva).

Avila is 3-1 as a pro boxer and has won three in a row. The Stockton, California, native is coming off a four-round unanimous decision win over social media influencer Paul Bamba in April. Avila, who also has fought for the UFC and Bellator, was on Paul’s undercard last October, beating YouTube star Mikhail “Dr. Mike” Varshavski.

The Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) also announced Wednesday that Paul and Diaz will be taking part in its program for the August 5 bout.

Stephens vs. Avila is the second undercard bout announced for the event. In the semi main event, Amanda Serrano will put her featherweight titles on the line against Brooklyn rival Heather Hardy.