PFL 1’s Valentin Moldavsky Downplays Rivalry Between Fedor, Cro-Cop Trained Fighters

Former Bellator MMA interim heavyweight champ Valentin Moldavsky returns to action and makes his promotional debut atop Thursday’s PFL 1 card in San Antonio, where he’s been paired up with ex-PFL champ Ante Delija.

For the Russian, the PFL format in particular has plenty of appeal, as it’s expected to keep him busy in 2024.

“One of the main things I like is that I’m going to be more active. Because in Bellator, I became a heavyweight champion, I fought a lot of the best guys out there at heavyweight. But I would get with Bellator let’s say two fights a year,” Moldavsky (12-3, 1NC) explained during this week’s PFL 1 media day. “But here, provided you keep winning, with the tournament format you’re going to have four fights a year.  For me, that’s what I’m looking for. I’m trying to stay active, and yeah I like PFL’s format.”

While he likes the tournament format, there is the potential of landing a big-money fight with Francis Ngannou still looming. The former UFC champ, dabbling in boxing of late, secured a guaranteed purse of $2 million USD for his next opponent under the PFL banner.

“We all try to improve and are looking for better opponents in our future. Facing Francis at some point would be great, but now I have to focus on what I have in front of me,” replied Moldavsky when asked about a potential Ngannou fight. “I want to focus on this fight. As we say, you do not start cutting bears until you kill the bear.”

Much has been made of Moldavsky representing Fedor Team and the legendary Fedor Emelianenko, while opponent Deilja trains under another heavyweight legend and Fedor rival, Mikro Cro-Cop. Fedor defeated Cro-Cop in a battle that was deemed Fight of the Year in 2005, and Fight of the Decade by some publications.

Moldavsky, however, downplayed the rivalry between teams this week.

“Of course we represent our gyms, the people we train with, and I’m thankful for all my team. But after everything, I’m the one who’s fighting. I never try to think about anybody else. I’m responsible for myself, for my previous experience. I know that he trains with Mirko, and obviously you know the people I represent. But one we’re there- People like to bring this up just maybe to have something extra to discuss. While we’re there, there’s just two of us so I don’t get attached to this part.”

Watch the full PFL 1 media day appearance by Valentin Moldavsky above.