Perseverance vs. A Cinderella Story: Sadibou Sy, Dilano Taylor Took Very Different Paths to PFL Final

Perhaps the most intriguing fight on the PFL 2022 World Championship card on November 25 is the welterweight finale.

While Kayla Harrison‘s final tournament appearance will draw eyeballs, and names like Ladd, Budd, and Aubin-Mercier carry more weight, the 170lb showdown between Sadibou Sy and Dilano Taylor is brimming with storylines. In particular, there are contrasting tales of how each fighter made it to this point, and both are, in a word, compelling.

Sy’s tale is one of perseverance, after starting with the league in its inaugural season back in 2018. Year after year he fell short, coming close to the final without realizing his goal of winning it all. Speaking to Cageside Press during a face-to-face interview alongside Taylor on Wednesday, Sy (12-6-2, 1NC) explained that despite coming up short in three PFL seasons, he never doubted that he’d make it to his point — in the million dollar final.

“No,” Sy told us, summing it up in a word. “To be honest, I’ve seen myself at this point for a long time. I’ve always been fighting and training with a lot of the best in the world— in different categories and different weight divisions. I believe that because of the PFL, the format that is, it’s hard to sometimes bring your best, because the fights are so close together. So sometimes, even though if you step in there, if you’re in the cage, you’re well enough to fight, with that being said sometimes it’s hard to put on your best performance. It could be because of injuries, it could be whatever the case may be.”

“For now, being able to know how to train in between fights and staying healthy, I believe that a lot of those things have made me better and have made me who I am today, and are also why I’m at the finals today.”

Sy most certainly has the PFL experience under his belt. He’s faced off with the likes of Ray Cooper III and Rory MacDonald, among others. Dilano’s journey to this year’s championship card has been nothing short of a Cinderella story, meanwhile. He joined the league via the Challenger series earlier this year, and was a little-known name prior to the regular season.

CARDIFF, WALES – AUGUST 13: /Dilano Taylor during PFL 8 at the Motorpoint Arena on August 13, 2022 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Despite the movie script feel of his journey, Taylor (10-2) has never felt much pressure to live up to increasingly lofty expectations. He certainly hasn’t put it on himself.

“For me, there’s never been any pressure to begin with. I feel like the most pressure I probably felt this year is maybe in the Challenger series, and that was because that was the biggest form of me achieving an opportunity at the highest level,” he explained. “But besides that, there’s been no pressure. You tell me to go out there and fight, I’m going to go out there and fight. There’s never been any pressure on my part. I don’t feel any pressure right now. I’ve just been doing what I gotta do. I’ve just been doing the same thing I’ve been doing very consistently, and that’s what I feel is going to allow me to win. that’s what’s going to make me win. that’s gonna be the difference maker.”

“I never put too much pressure on myself. I always kind of laid it out the way it needed to be laid out for me, and kind of always understood the position that I’m in — in every situation, in every scenario, so it’s never too much pressure, no.”

One thing the welterweight finalists have in common — neither is thinking about the money just yet. Both men are more focused on the win, and the chance to become a champion, million dollars or not.

Sadibou Sy meets Dilano Taylor in the welterweight season final at the PFL 2022 World Championship card on November 25, 2022 in New York, NY at the Hulu Theatre.