Louis Taylor, Kayla Harrison, Lance Palmer, Vinny Magalhaes, and more are confirmed for the upcoming PFL 2019 season, as the league began to unveil its roster Tuesday.
The Professional Fighers League (PFL) recently secured a broadcast deal with ESPN, securing its spot on the network and its streaming service ESPN+ for the next two years. Now, the league, with its merit-based format, has announced the first names for the coming season. Not surprisingly, there were no surprises. That is, the first batch of names for PFL 2019 were the returning champions, plus a few challengers.
The news was delivered in a press release from the promotion on Tuesday. Among the names heading back for a second go is middleweight champion Louis Taylor. However, with the 185lb division being eliminated to make way for women’s lightweight, Taylor will drop to welterweight and hunt for a second title — which would be a first for the PFL.
Sean O’Connell, the league’s inaugural light heavyweight champion, will not return, as he rode off into the sunset following his win last year. At least, he won’t return to the cage — O’Connell is likely to pop up in the broadcast booth.
Also back, Lance Palmer (Featherweight), Natan Schulte (Lightweight), Magomed Magomedkerimov (Welterweight), and Philipe Lins (Heavyweight). All will look to repeat as champions. And in the aforementioned women’s lightweight division, Olympian Kayla Harrison will star.
Non-champions returning to the PFL in 2019 include Steven Siler, (Featherweight), Rashid Magomedov (Lightweight), Ray Cooper III (Welterweight) and Vinny Magalhaes (Light Heavyweight). All made it to the finals last year.
“We are excited to announce our returning PFL champions and other great athletes who competed in the League last season. The 2019 PFL Roster Selection Process has been incredibly competitive, as the best MMA fighters from around the world want to join the PFL, especially now that we’ve established the Regular Season, Playoffs and Championship format and will be distributed Thursday nights on ESPN this May,” said Ray Sefo, President, PFL Fighter Operations. “The PFL’s goal is to continually elevate our fighter roster and provide fans with the best MMA action in the world. Over the coming weeks, we’ll continue to unveil the sport’s top new and returning fighters who will be joining the PFL for the 2019 season.”