The Professional Fighters League (PFL), the first organization ever to present MMA through a regular season, playoffs and championship, is set to launch across ESPN platforms on Thursday, May 9, LIVE from NYCB, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, in Long Island, N.Y. PFL’s 2019 season kickoff will be highlighted by the debut of the Women’s Lightweight Division, headlined by two-time U.S. Olympic Judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison taking on Brazil native, and jiu jitsu specialist, Larissa Pacheco who enters the season with 11 career wins, all by stoppage.
PFL 1 Welterweight and Women’s Lightweight action begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+, then the action continues on ESPN2 and the ESPN App in Spanish at 9:00 p.m. ET. All matches on ESPN+ are also available in Spanish.
This season, the PFL will further integrate its SmartCage and Cagenomics technology to the broadcast experience, delivering dynamic, real-time data and analytics on fighter performance that will bring fans inside the cage like never before.
Fans will witness the 2019 season debuts of Kayla Harrison, and former Strikeforce and Invicta FC Bantamweight champion, Sarah Kaufman, in MMA’s first-ever Women’s Lightweight division. Kaufman squares off against Morgan Frier, who enters the PFL season on a four-fight win streak.
2018 PFL Welterweight champion Magomed Magomedkerimov will begin his title defense against Boston native John Howard, who is moving down in weight to compete in a stacked division. Additionally, a Hawaiian rivalry will be settled as 2018 PFL breakout star Ray Cooper III takes on his cousin, and fellow Hawaiian, Zane Kamaka.
ESPN’s official coverage of fight week kicks off Tuesday, May 7, with a replay of two PFL Original Productions – “The Selection,” which offers a behind-the-scenes look into the highly competitive selection process for the 2019 PFL roster and “PFL Best of 2018: Through the Eyes of Champions,” which highlights the biggest moments and best stories from the inaugural 2018 PFL season, through the eyes of three of last season’s champions. The shows will air across ESPN2 several times throughout fight week.
ESPN+ will feature the exclusive PFL 1 Pre-Show on Wednesday, May 8 at 6:30 p.m. ET, to prepare fans for all of Thursday’s regular season action. ESPN+ will also feature the exclusive PFL 1 Post-Show, live immediately following the event.
Calling the live action for PFL 1 will be play-by-play announcer and 2018 PFL Light Heavyweight champion, Sean O’Connell. Alongside O’Connell serving as color analysts will be UFC Hall-of-Famer, Randy “The Natural” Couture, and former UFC Lightweight, Yves Edwards. Caroline Pearce will host the nights action, and former WWE Ring Announcer Lilian Garcia will introduce fighters to the cage as the In-Cage Announcer of the PFL.
ESPN.com coverage of PFL 1 includes a feature story on Kayla Harrison from Myron Medcalf, a breakdown of the contenders and sleepers in every PFL division and a video feature from Ariel Helwani explaining the PFL’s is distinctive competition format. ESPN.com will be on site on Thursday and providing live recaps and results as the fights take place.
MMA fans can sign up for ESPN+ at www.espnplus.com or through the ESPN App.