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The key to the PFL’s success: The Unpredictability Factor

In only its second year, the Professional Fighters League has already given the world some moments to remember. From 40-year-old Louis Taylor winning gold to the emergence of Kayla Harrison, there have been a lot of feel-good stories. The tournament-style format works for the organization, which always makes things interesting.

With brands like the UFC and Bellator leading the way, it is sometimes hard to differentiate oneself from the rest of the pack. However, the PFL has managed to stay relevant due to its unique style. From dream matchups to tournaments with two fights in one night, anything can happen. One thing that gives the PFL that competitive edge?

The unpredictability factor of the organization.

In the blink of an eye, a fan favorite could be eliminated, just like that. Take for example last weekend’s PFL card. It was a sure thing that Kayla Harrison and Sarah Kaufman were going to meet in the PFL Finals on New Year’s Eve, right?. Kayla (6-0) faced Bobbi-Jo Dalziel (who ended up being a replacement opponent), while Sarah (21-5, 1NC) faced Larissa Pacheco. Harrison won her bout, but Pacheco was the one who dominated Kaufman.

Now, it is a totally different story. Instead of the veteran taking on the newcomer, we have Pacheco out for revenge while Harrison looks to secure her place in history. Harrison beat her back at PFL 1 in May, making this one intriguing matchup.

This week, Daniel Pineda supported that narrative. A man who did not even make the PFL’s roster in 2019, Pineda (28-13) won his only two fights with the league last night. The 34-year-old’s original opponent missed weight back in July, giving him an opportunity the PFL was made for.

A professional since 2007, Pineda made the most of the opportunity in front of him. He knocked out Movlid Khaibulaev before submitting Jeremy Kennedy. On a six-fight win streak, the former UFC and Bellator star will now get a chance to win $1 million against last year’s winner, Lance Palmer. Fans from all over will get to see if Palmer can repeat as Featherweight Champion or if the Pienda Cinderella Story can continue.

With fighters desperate for points to start the tournament, it makes it all the more entertaining. Whether a fight starts with a quick offense or a clinic by one fighter, the goal is to look unstoppable. Remember Chris Wade’s flying knee from last season? Points make matches matter, and the brackets help when it comes to future matchups. Just like the old days of the UFC, a two-fight night can bring out the best in any fighter.

Not every win is guaranteed, as we recently have seen. Journeying into the unknown is what the PFL is all about. With one more week to determine who will make it to the finals, can we expect any other surprises? For the future of the league, let’s hope so.

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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