PFL 3: Werdum vs. Ferreira — Three Fights Going Under The Radar

UFC Atlantic City Justin Willis
Justin Willis Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

The Professional Fighters League is back with PFL 3: Werdum vs. Ferreira on Thursday, and there is no shortage of talent on the card.

In particular, the May 7 PFL card will be headlined by a familiar name as the former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum fights Renan Ferreira. Additionally, the card will feature one of the winners of the previous PFL season. That will see Olympic gold medalist in Judo Kayla Harrison return to action. The decorated Olympian is looking to start her PFL season off strong and take home her second million-dollar prize.

PFL: Werdum vs. Ferreira – Three Fights That Demand More Detail

Prior to the action kicking off, here is a closer look at a trio of fights that need more attention. First, a pivotal scrap at 155lbs between Cindy Dandois (16-5) and Kaitlin Young (11-10-1) is on deck. Then, a closer look at the heavyweight slobber knocker between UFC alum Justin Willis (8-2) putting his record on the line against Denis Goltsov (25-6). In an effort to save the best for last, we will conclude this segment with an examination of UFC champion Kamaru Usman’s brother, Mohammed Usman (7-1), who is looking to fend off fellow heavyweight Brandon Sayles (5-1) in the main event of going under the radar.

The company is already preparing fighters by placing them in a safety bubble ahead of their scheduled fights. 

Cindy Dandois vs. Kaitlin Young – 155lbs

Following two decision loss results, Dandois understood it was time for a change. Seemingly, the 36-year old fighting since 2009 flipped a switch after the split-decision loss to Iony Razafiarison. After the close loss, the Belgium-born fighter went on a four-fight win streak. Interestingly, Dandois hasn’t fought since 2019, where she had probably the best year of her entire career. Not only did she rack up four wins, but she also was able to finish each fight by submission (3 subs in the first round, 1 sub in the second round).

On the other hand, Young doesn’t have the momentum Dandois has, but her tenacity has won her many fights that she was counted out in. When she lost to Pam Sorenson at Invicta FC 36, many were curious if the 35-year old could right the ship and mount another title run. With one win, and possibly another on the way, there is no doubt that Young has the tools and willpower to control the fight, but she will need to weary of Dandois and her ability to submit opponents when they have a false sense of security on the mat.

Justin Willis vs. Denis Goltsov – PFL: Werdum vs. Ferreira Under The Radar Co-Main 265lbs

Prior to getting clipped by a right hook and finished by Ali Isaev from ground and pound, Goltzof was riding high with a six-fight win streak. Overall, the Russian fighter’s record is downright impressive because of his versatility. The 30-year old heavyweight is young for the division and he has ten professional wins by TKO/knockout and ten wins by submission. Since the Russian’s finishing abilities are so diverse, a tentative game plan might be necessary to find a strategy to outwit “The Russian Bogatyr”.

Conversely, for Willis, perhaps his best chance at success is a wrestling-centric game plan to wear on the arms and power of Goltsov. Then, later in the fight when an opportunity presents itself, Willis would be more comfortable in the striking exchanges to carry out the necessary damage. Following his decision loss to Curtis Blaydes and the subsequent release from the UFC, certainly fans and pundits are curious to see how he bounces back from career adversity.

PFL: Werdum vs. Ferreira – Under The Radar Main Event – Mohammed Usman vs. Brandon Sayles 265lbs

In 2019, fans witnessed the Usman family power on full display as the African powerhouse slept two of his opponents in a row at Titan FC. Then, at Titan FC 63 Mohammed earned himself a hard-fought unanimous decision victory against Terrance Hodges. Without a doubt, the win illuminated his potential as a mixed martial artist, as he’s no longer just a one-round fighter, but capable of carrying dominance through three rounds on a consistent basis. The 32-year old training out of Fortis MMA is at a good camp, and it seems the heavyweight is steadily making improvements.

However, he has a tall task ahead of him in the 6″5″ package named Sayles. Also, the 39-year old is on a three-fight win streak. The Hawaiian has always packed a punch but hasn’t been active throughout his career. While there are advantages to only having six professional fights, like taking less damage, it’s paramount to see how he adapts to higher-level competition.

In the end, this heavyweight tilt should have it all because both athletes swing for the knockout, and when these two titans throw down, surely the fight world is anxious to see the type of weapons that UFC champion Kamaru Usman’s brother has sharpened while watching his brother ascend to heights that many believed couldn’t be reached.

The third event of the third PFL season goes down Thursday night in Atlantic City, airing on ESPN2/ESPN+ in the U.S.