PFL vs Bellator puts disappointed Saudi fight fans out of misery after Fury vs Usyk cancellation

Riyadh Season's February highlight: PFL vs Bellator champions clash in a groundbreaking MMA event, promising action and star power to compensate for the boxing main event delay.


PFL vs Bellator puts disappointed Saudi fight fans out of misery after Fury vs Usyk cancellation

PFL vs Bellator card saves Riyadh Season after Oleksandr Usyk vs Tyson Fury fight cancellation (Image via: Instagram)

Riyadh Season has made the capital of Saudi Arabia an international sports hub. The main beneficiaries of the annual state-funded entertainment and sports festival were Boxing and Football. One of the highlights of the 2023/2024 Riyadh Season was the now-cancelled boxing match between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury. The fight was set for 17th February 2024 at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

ADVERTISEMENT

However, Fury suffered a nasty cut. Turki Alalshikh, the mastermind behind Riyadh Season, has confirmed the fight has moved to 18th May 2024 with a $10 million fine if it doesn’t happen. Even though the Usyk vs. Fury cancellation was a big blow, the PFL vs Bellator card has softened the blow. Moreover, there is a chance that it could exceed expectations. Alalshikh greatly expects the highly anticipated MMA card on February 24, 2024. This is what Alalshikh had to say about the card.

Riyadh Season is putting on some of the biggest fight events around, and the PFL Champions vs Bellator Champions certainly belongs in that category.
Turki Alalshikh on PFL vs. Bellator Super Card

With the backing of the Saudi government, the PFL now has the finances to compete with the UFC. The UFC is, without a doubt, the global powerhouse of MMA. The UFC had plans to do a Fight Night event in Riyadh on March 2nd, 2024. However, the UFC has recently announced that they had a change of plan. The proposed event will now happen in June. Rumors are that the power brokers in Saudi felt disappointed by the UFC’s fight card. The fight card, indeed, did not have any big names.

Ariel Helwani was the one who first stated the reason. However, UFC CEO Dana White vehemently denied Helwani’s statements. Nonetheless, it is safe to assume that the rumors hold some weight. This is due to the Saudi government’s propensity to make only big fights happen. Rumors suggest the Saudi people want superstars like Islam Makhachev and Khamzat Chimaev on the fight card. Makhachev had already revealed his plans to fight in June, which sparked many fan theories.

ADVERTISEMENT

How PFL vs Bellator saved Riyadh Season in February?

PFL vs Bellator: Champs will be the first PPV event for the PFL since its acquisition of Bellator MMA. The PPV has four co-main events, a first in any mainstream MMA promotion. In addition to three title fights, the event has two Bellator champions take on big names in the PFL in the main card.

There is also a fight between ex-UFC title challengers too. Moreover, two-weight undisputed boxing champion Claressa Shields will fight on the preliminary card, where Biaggio Ali Walsh, the grandson of Muhammad Ali, will make his professional debut.

PFL announced the bouts between their champions and the Bellator champions in Saudi Arabia
PFL announced the bouts between their champions and the Bellator champions in Saudi Arabia (via MMA Fighting/Yahoo Sports/WKYC)

Almost all the big names in MMA are with the UFC. However, the PFL vs Bellator card has star power, as it certainly did save the Riyadh Season in February. Even though the now-canceled Ring of Fire had Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury in the main event, the undercard, though talented, did not have that much star power. Jai Opetaia vs. Mairis Briedis, Joe Cordina vs. Anthony Cacace, Sergey Kovalev vs. Robin Sirwan Safar, and Isaac Lowe vs. Hasibullah Ahmadi were the undercard fights for Ring of Fire.

By contrast, the PFL vs Bellator has Ryan Bader and Renan Ferreira in the main event, with the winner potentially fighting Francis Ngannou. The co-main event fights are Impa Kasanganay vs. Johnny Eblen, Jesus Pinedo vs. Patricio Pitbull, Ray Cooper III vs. Jason Jackson, and Bruno Cappelozza vs. Vadim Nemkov. Many consider Pitbull, Eblen, Jackson, and Nemkov the best in their weight class.

ADVERTISEMENT

Moreover, the fight between Thiago Santos and Yoel Romero also has the ingredients for an action-packed fight. Furthermore, the Clay Collard vs AJ McKee can potentially steal the show. From the aforementioned fight itself, the PFL vs Bellator card saved the Riyadh Season in February. Now, the only thing left is for the fighters to navigate the coming week without injury.

In case you missed it!