PFL 3: Fabricio Werdum vs. Renan Ferreira preview and predictions
The first stages of the 2021 PFL season will come to a close on May 6, as the heavyweight and women’s lightweight divisions take to the stage for PFL 3, topped by former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum making his promotional debut against Renan Ferreira.
Werdum competed twice for the UFC in 2020 following a return from a two-year suspension. He most recently fought in July, impressing with a first-round submission of Alexander Gustafsson at UFC Fight Island 3.
Ferreira hasn’t fought since August 2019, submitting current UFC heavyweight Jared Vanderaa at LFA 74.
Who will win at PFL 3: Fabricio Werdum or Renan Ferreira
The co-main event of the evening will see arguably the face of the PFL, defending women’s lightweight champion Kayla Harrison, take on Mariana Morais.
PFL 3 will also feature Mohammed Usman vs. Brandon Sayles and Larissa Pacheco vs. Julija Pajic.
Let’s take a look closer at all these bouts.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Renan Ferreira preview and prediction
Werdum competed twice for the UFC in 2020, following a two-year layoff due to suspension from a USADA run-in. Werdum dropped a split decision to Aleksei Oleinik at UFC 249 but scored a first-round submission of Alexander Gustafsson at UFC Fight Island 3.
Ferreira, who sports a 6-2 record, only started to fight more actively in late 2016, but he hasn’t fought since 2019, when he competed three times. Ferreira comes into the PFL season off a two-fight stint in the LFA, where he was disqualified against Brett Martin at LFA 70 for illegal punches to the back of the head and submitted current UFC heavyweight Jared Vanderaa at LFA 74.
One of the things that has some people afraid to go with Werdum as quickly for the pick here is that Ferreira is 6’10” with an amazing 83.5-inch reach, giving him a six-inch advantage in both departments over the former UFC champ.
Werdum has a clear experience advantage, an obvious better competition advantage. But he is 43, in addition to dealing with the physical battle. Some people may express concern over Werdum’s last two UFC bouts (the bout with Oleinik was lackluster and Gustafsson was a light heavyweight stepping up a division), but it’s hard to pick against him when there’s not really a lot of credentials to Ferreira’s name, as opposed to Werdum’s fame and skillset.
Prediction: Werdum via first-round submission
Kayla Harrison vs. Mariana Morais preview and prediction
After using the PFL in 2018 to adjust from her jump to MMA from judo, Kayla Harrison scored wins over Larissa Pacheco and Morgan Frier in the 2019 regular season, Bobbi Jo Dalziel in the semifinals and Pacheco again in the finals to become 2019 PFL women’s lightweight champion. With the PFL not holding a season in 2020, Harrison was allowed to take a fight in Invicta FC, finishing Courtney King in a featherweight bout at Invicta FC 43 in November.
Mariana Morais, who has competed in MMA since 2012, has been in competition with the likes of Roxanne Modafferi, Jennifer Maia, Ariane Lapinski, Vanessa Porto and Vanessa Melo. Morais will be riding a three-fight win streak into this bout, most recently defeating both Dayana Silva and Bianca Daimoni at Shooto Brazil: Grand Prix in March 2020.
Harrison will have a four-inch height edge, but their reaches are going to be similar here. Funny enough, it’s Morais who has the experience edge here — not just in terms of longer career, but also fighting some noted women’s MMA names over the years.
At the same time, however, Morais often stumbles when getting that step-up in competition, and Harrison’s Olympic-level judo may be all too much for her. A win here for Harrison should be able to further raise her stock.
Prediction: Harrison via second-round submission
Mohammed Usman vs. Brandon Sayles preview and prediction
The brother of current UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman, Mohammed Usman enters the PFL off a four-fight win streak in Titan FC. There, he scored wins over Frank Tate, Alexis Garcia, Reggie Cato and Terrance Hodges. The Hodges fight was his only of 2020, with the PFL granting Usman a fight in Titan FC during the PFL’s 2020 hiatus.
Sporting a 5-1 record currently, Brandon Sayles hasn’t competed since January 2018, when he scored a second-round finish of Dexter Carthon at NFC 103. Sayles’ best win came with a second-round finish of Adrian Henderson at Conflict MMA 43 in June 2017 (Henderson hasn’t fought since). Sayles was supposed to fight Greg Hardy on season two of Dana White’s Contender Series before being forced to withdraw.
The Tale of the Tape has Sayles with the physical advantages, including weight, but the inactivity is going to hurt him really bad here. It doesn’t help Usman’s brother is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, welterweights in the world right now.
Mohammed Usman is a name to watch not just in the PFL, but MMA in general. Except this to be the start of a very successful, potentially championship, season for him.
Prediction: Usman via second-round KO/TKO
Larissa Pacheco vs. Julija Pajic preview and prediction
After losing to eventual The Ultimate Fighter 28 winner Macy Chiasson, Pacheco joined the PFL, and after dropping her debut to Kayla Harrison, Pacheco submitted Bobbi-Jo Dalziel and upsetting Sarah Kaufman before losing to Harrison again in the finals.
Julija Pajic has just three fights on her record, submitting Sanja Ristic in September 2019, and finishing both Marina Mihajlicin and Marija Torlakovic in December 2019.
Pajic may have five inches in height on Pacheco, but that’s not going to be enough to help her with the experience edge that Pacheco holds by a mile.
Not a whole lot needs to be said here. They’re taking Pajic, whose whole MMA career so far is three late 2019 MMA fights, all against winless competition, and putting her in the cage with last season’s runner-up, one who has TUF experience.