The Professional Fighters League (PFL) is coming off a truly historic 2023, which was highlighted by numerous big-name signings and the groundbreaking acquisition of Bellator MMA.
Now, the United States-based mixed martial arts (MMA) league is looking ahead to 2024, which is shaping up to be even bigger than the previous year. With the addition of Bellator, the PFL has formed a new global MMA powerhouse, and could definitely change the landscape of the sport.
The coming year could also be a breakout year for a number of the PFL’s fighters, opening the door for them to become household names, or even legitimate PFL stars.
Let’s take a look at who can make the jump in the PFL in 2024:
Cedric Doumbe’s PFL debut was nothing short of spectacular. The French kickboxing superstar made his PFL debut in the main event of PFL Europe: Paris, and made an immediate statement, knocking out fellow highly-touted French debutant Jordan Zebo in just nine seconds. Doumbe, who’s undefeated in five professional MMA bouts so far, will likely make the jump to the PFL’s global roster, where he’ll be competing for a million-dollar purse and a chance at a PFL Championship. If his debut is any indication of how his career will go, it’s highly likely that the PFL has another hard-hitting star in their hands with “Le Meilleur”.
England’s Dakota Ditcheva has been competing under the PFL banner for a while now, but it was during the inaugural season of PFL Europe that the stunning striker really began to make a name for herself. Another former kickboxer-turned-MMA fighter, “Dangerous” Dakota blasted through PFL Europe’s women’s flyweight division en route to becoming the league’s first-ever PFL Women’s Flyweight Champion. This year, the 8-0 Ditcheva could transition into the global million-dollar tournament and showcase her skills on the global stage.
For all intents and purposes, Impa Kasanganay is already a star in the making – at least. The former UFC standout arrived in the PFL last season and immediately put on impressive outings in the PFL Challenger Series, which he was able to carry over to the 2023 PFL Season. “Tshilobo” defeated the likes of Cory Hendricks, Tim Caron, Marthin Hamlet, and Josh Silveira on his way to becoming the 2023 PFL Light Heavyweight Champion. In 2024, Kasanganay should be the odds-on favorite to retain the title and join an elite list of two-time PFL titleholders.
With the PFL making a strong push in the Middle East in 2024, all eyes will be on Saudi’s Abdullah Al-Qahtani. The featherweight standout turned in an impressive maiden campaign in the PFL in 2023, with standout wins over Lamar Brown and David Zelner. In 2024, Al-Qahtani could be the face of the PFL’s off-shoot league in the Middle East, or he could chase gold and glory in the 2024 PFL Regular Season. Either way, “The Reaper” is primed for stardom in 2024.
Biaggio Ali Walsh
Arguably the most recognisable name on this list, the PFL has done an excellent job of building up Biaggio Ali Walsh, the grandson of boxing legend Muhammad Ali. Ali Walsh joined the PFL on an amateur deal back in 2022, and he has been impressive since, scoring five consecutive wins by way of knockout. His most recent win came at the 2023 PFL World Championship, which could likely be his springboard into the professional ranks. If Ali Walsh decides to take the leap, he’ll likely be a regular on the 2024 PFL Regular Season’s featured bouts. If he continues his impressive run, it’s likely that he’ll be a big name even before he tries his luck in the million-dollar PFL tournament.