Jake Paul and the PFL broke the big news on Thursday, agreeing to a two-part exclusive deal that would make Paul the first to join the new Super Fight division. In the new installment, the fighters will earn 50 percent of pay-per-views revenue, and Paul will also be the “head of fighter advocacy” of the PFL.
The PFL Super Division will be an independent event, separate from the league season. This is a unique way to grow the PFL brand as well as attract bigger MMA stars who would otherwise not be interested in the promotion’s multiple fight format. Making Paul the first signer is an intriguing choice.
While the concept of the Super Fight division has potential, Paul will remain important in the cage as long as he keeps winning. However, this seems very unlikely. Just like when CM Punk entered the UFC, fighters will be salivating for the chance to earn a solid paycheck and beat Paul. He’ll need the right opponent in his first fight or two (or three) to make sure it doesn’t go off the rails too soon.
When we spoke in October, Paul mentioned the idea of a middleweight fight.
“I could be somewhere between 170 and 185,” said Paul SI. “Somewhere. I have wrestling experience. I know a little jiu-jitsu. I think it would be fun.
Switching from boxing to MMA is an incredibly smart decision for Paul. He’s put himself in a position where he helps the fighters backstage, which is also great, but the likelihood of success in the cage is very unlikely.
Next week’s UFC card has no Sizzle
It’s not about how you start, but how you finish.
Perhaps you know this expression. This is undoubtedly important, but the meaning changes a bit when finances are involved. The first UFC Fight Night event takes place next week on ESPN+, and the card is a disappointing way to kick off the new year.
That’s not to say Kelvin Gastelum and Nassourdine Imavov won’t team up to deliver a solid main event. But the card as a whole, including this header, has no significant star power. With UFC’s recent price hike on ESPN, more emphasis needs to be placed on filling the pay-per-view cards with big names. The same principle should be applied to Fight Night cards, especially with the fight on top. With a roster of fights including Dan Ige-Damon Jackson, Ketlen Vieira-Raquel Pennington, Punahele Soriano-Roman Kopylov and Umar Nurmagomedov-Raoni Barcelos, this just isn’t the case.
While many cards this year generate legitimate interest ahead of time, this one won’t be one of them.
Bellator 290 airing on CBS should catch viewers’ attention
A little calmer, Bellator 290 in less than a month.
The card will air on CBS on February 4 and will feature three fights, two of which are title fights.
Sadly, Vadim Nemkov dropped out of his light heavyweight title defense against Yoel Romero, but the main event is still Fedor Emelianenko vs Ryan Bader for the heavyweight title. Bader has already knocked out the great Emelianenko once, and this fight is advertised as Emelianenko’s final fight, which adds more tension to the matchup. While unlikely, does anyone really believe that Emelianenko won’t have at least one more fight in Russia? – that should be captivating anyway, especially if Emelianenko wins and decides to defend the belt.
The second title fight on the card is Johnny Eblen, who defended his middleweight title for the first time against Anatoly Tokov. The opening bout is Sabah Homasi against Brennan Ward, with its ups and downs being a particularly gripping story.
The UFC will have a Fight Night card later this evening, but Bellator should have enough interest in the card to keep viewers.
Pick ‘Em section
Last week: 3-2
2022 record: 149-83