PFL’s sensational Champ vs Champ card uplifts Saudi Arabia’s vision to become the new fight capital of the world

Saudi Arabia's Riyadh Season elevates its status with major sports events, setting the stage for PFL vs. Bellator and aiming to surpass Las Vegas as the fight capital.

PFL’s sensational Champ vs Champ card uplifts Saudi Arabia’s vision to become the new fight capital of the world

PFL vs Bellator: Champs headlined by Ryan Bader and Renan Ferreira on the Kingdom Arena (Image via: Instagram)

The sports community has found a new hub in Riyadh. It is due to the Saudi Arabian government’s annual state-funded entertainment and sports festival, the Riyadh Season. Turki Alalshikh, the Chairman of the General Authority for Entertainment, is the mastermind behind the Riyadh Season. Alalshikh is also an adviser in the Royal Court of the Saudi Arabian government. MMA promotion PFL became the talk of the town for saving the day with their PFL vs. Bellator card.

The 2023 Riyadh Season has already overtaken the success of the previous three installments. Saudi Arabia hosted football, tennis, professional wrestling, and boxing events that featured the biggest sporting superstars. An important boxing bout was set to happen in February. Undefeated Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk would have unified their titles if it weren’t for an injury. Turki Alalshikh postponed the entire fight card, leaving only the PFL vs. Bellator super card remaining in February. This proves one thing. His Excellency believes immensely in the sensational PFL card.

On February 24, the first MMA event of Riyadh Season, PFL vs. Bellator: Champs, will make its way. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund had already made a $100 million investment in PFL. Many view the investment as a testament to the belief in the potential success of the promotion.

PFL vs Bellator card aligns with Saudi’s vision

Turki Alalshikh has already made it obvious that the Saudis only want to make big fights happen. They have the ambition to become the world’s fight capital, a title Las Vegas presently holds. The Riyadh Season recently hosted some of the biggest heavyweight boxing fights.

Francis Ngannou took on Tyson Fury, billed as ‘Battle of the Baddest,’ in the first event of the 2023 Riyadh Season. In the second boxing event, billed as ‘Day of Reckoning,’ Anthony Johsua faced off with Otto Walin. The co-main event featured big names like Joseph Parker, Dmitry Bivol, Deontay Wilder, and Daniel Dubois, among others.

PFL vs Bellator Champs
PFL vs Bellator Champs (Image via: Instagram)

The PFL vs. Bellator card aligns with Saudi vision to become the fight capital of the world. The PPV has seven fights in the main card and 5 in the preliminary card. Of the fighters in the main card, 8 are current champions in PFL or Bellator, 3 are former champions, and 2 are ex-UFC title challengers. The fight card is the first of its kind. The message is clear with the fight card itself – they want big fights to happen in Riyadh.

The UFC will put on an event in Riyadh in June, and it would not be easy to match the PFL vs Bellator card. The Saudis have allegedly said no to a weak Fight Night event that the UFC proposed. Renan Ferreira and Ryan Bader in the main event with Impa Kasanganay and Johnny Eblen are massive fights. Jesus Pinedo vs. Patricio Pitbull and Ray Cooper III vs. Jason Jackson have excitement written all over it. Thiago Santos vs. Yoel Romero, Bruno Cappelozza vs. Vadim Nemkov, and Clay Collard vs. AJ McKee are also fan-friendly matchups.

PFL MENA to launch in 2024 with the backing of SRJ Sports

The PFL acquired the Bellator with the backing of SRJ Sports Investments, a Saudi Arabian investment group funded by the Public Investment Fund of the government of the country. The investment company will spearhead the promotion expansion in the MENA region – The Middle East and North Africa.

Jerome Mazet
Jerome Mazet (image credit- citybiz)

Jerome Mazet, the former Head of Commercial & Marketing of UAE’s Etihad Arena, became the General Manager of PFL MENA in January 2024. The hiring of Mazet is a move to consolidate the MMA market in the region. Ever since the success of Khabib Nurmagomedov and African fighters, the MENA region witnessed a spurt in MMA talent. PFL MENA aims to showcase those talents on a worldwide stage.

The PFL Africa League is another similar ambitious plan of the PFL. It aims to nurture the talents coming out of the continent of Africa. Francis Ngannou is the chairman of the PFL Africa League. Ngannoy is also part of the PFL’s global advisory board. With PFL MENA and PFL Africa League, the promotion could get a stranglehold of a very populated MMA market.

In case you missed it!