The Professional Fighters League is reloading for 2019.
On Thursday, five of the league’s 2018 champions were announced as returning for season two following an initial report by ESPN: Heavyweight champion Philipe Lins, middleweight champion Louis Taylor (who will be competing in the welterweight division this year), welterweight champion Magomed Magomedkerimov, lightweight champion Natan Schulte, and featherweight champion Lance Palmer.
2018 PFL light heavyweight champion Sean O’Connell retired following his tournament win at the end of last season. Taylor is moving down to 170 pounds due to there being no season two middleweight tournament. A women’s lightweight tournament will take its place.
Other names announced on Tuesday were finalists Ray Cooper III (welterweight), Rashid Magomedov (lightweight), Steven Siler (featherweight) and Vinny Magalhaes (light heavyweight).
Like its inaugural season, the second PFL campaign will be comprised of a regular season in which fighters in six different weight classes will compete twice to earn points towards making the playoffs, with points being rewarded based on wins, finishes, and the round in which a finish occurs. The top eight fighters in each weight class then move on to a single-elimination playoff, with the finalists advancing to the year-end show on Dec. 31 and competing for a PFL title and $1,000,000 prize.
The PFL recently signed a broadcasting deal with ESPN to air fights Thursdays on the network’s ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes channels, and the ESPN+ streaming service.
The lightweight women’s roster is expected to be announced on March 8 (Two-time Olympic judo gold medalist and unbeaten MMA fighter Kayla Harrison has already been confirmed), with further roster reveals on March 18 and April 1.