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PFL World Championship 2022: Brendan Loughnane wins $1M title

Loughnane became champions in his second season with the PFL

Briton Brendan Loughnane expertly dismantled Bubba Jenkins to win the featherweight title and $1 million (£840,000) at the Professional Fighters League World Championship in New York.

Loughnane, 32, wore down American Jenkins with strikes before securing a TKO in the fourth round.

The Mancunian becomes the first British PFL champion in history.

He is also only the fourth Brit to win a title in a major MMA promotion.

He follows UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards, former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping and ex-Bellator world light heavyweight champion Liam McGeary.

Loughnane’s win comes three months later Edwards’ title win, Capping a good year for British MMA.

Loughnane was once on the fringes of the UFC however, he was not offered a contract but has built a successful career in the PFL.

Now he can add a world title to his solid résumé of 26 wins and four losses.

“I’m one of the best in the world”

Dubbed the “Richest Night in MMA” by the PFL, the event at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden featured six world championship fights, each with a $1 million prize.

A number of UFC stars were at the cage to watch the event, including former two-division champion Georges St-Pierre, defending bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling, and Khamzat Chimaev.

Round one was a sign of things to come as Loughnane attacked Jenkins’ lead leg with calf kicks while fending off a series of takedown attempts from the 34-year-old.

As the fight progressed, Jenkins’ shin swelled and slowed his movement, allowing Loughane to increase the pressure and land a number of combinations.

In the fourth round, Loughnane dropped Jenkins with a straight right before the referee stopped the fight after a series of follow-up punches to the ground.

Loughane fell to his knees in tears after the win.

“Forget the belt, forget the million, it’s about the performance,” he said.

“I think I’m one of the best featherweights in the world in any organization and I proved that tonight.”

Loughnane earned £150 for his first amateur fight in 2008.

During his post-fight interview, he was joined in the cage by his mother.

“This woman here is my rock. She pushed me on when we didn’t have a pound in our backs and now look what we have,” Loughnane said.

“That’s why I’m crying. i am emotional Thank you PFL and all these people who spent their money to come here tonight. Times are tough. Covid has just ended. Everyone here, thanks.”

Scotland’s Ray comes up short

Stevie Ray addresses the media after the fightRay has won 25 of his pro fights and lost 11

In the lightweight title fight, Stevie Ray failed in his bid to become the first Scottish champion in a major MMA promotion when he lost to Canadian Olivier Aubin-Mercier.

Ray, 32, was brought down by a quick right hook near the end of the second round, prompting the referee to intervene and end the contest.

Former UFC star Ray was so stunned by the strike that he asked his former training partner Aubin-Mercier what knocked him out.

Despite the loss, Ray has had a productive season, securing back-to-back wins over former UFC champion Anthony Pettis to reach the finals when he retired from the sport two years ago.

Ray retired after parting ways with the UFC in 2020 when injuries and the coronavirus pandemic coincided, leading to a lack of fighting opportunities, but rebuilt his career when the PFL offered him an opportunity that year.

Harrison suffers a shock defeat

In the main event, Brazil’s Larissa Pacheco stunned two-time PFL champion Kayla Harrison when she clinched the women’s lightweight title with a unanimous decision win.

Pacheco, 28, was a huge underdog going into the fight with American Harrison, 32, to whom she had previously lost twice but won a back-and-forth match to convince all three judges of victory.

The loss was the first of Harrison’s 16-fight career and ended her quest to become the first three-time champion in PFL history.

Britain’s Dakota Ditcheva continued her impressive start to her career when she defeated Katherine Corogenes in the first round.

Ditcheva, 24, landed a right hand that dropped America’s Corogenes, causing the referee to wave off the fight for her second PFL win and extending her unbeaten record to seven.

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