Former UFC star and Bellator MMA welterweight champion Rory MacDonald will hope to break the current trend of favored Professional Fighters League (PFL) stars getting off to slow starts in the new season. MacDonald is set to face Curtis Millender in the main event of PFL 2 on Thursday. The action airs live via ESPN2 beginning at 9 p.m. ET from Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“I feel like this is a new era in my career, and I had a lot of time to reflect on how I want to leave my footprint on this sport, so I want to go out there and fight with no regret and go in there and finish like I have been known for in my early career,” MacDonald said per MMA Junkie.
MacDonald was one of the PFL’s many top-notch signings over the last year. MacDonald joined ex-UFC champs Anthony Pettis and Fabricio Werdum in the fray to fight all season long for coveted PFL world championships in their divisions and the $1 million prize that goes along with each.
But Pettis was shockingly defeated by Clay Collard at PFL 1 last week, and two of the PFL’s returning two-time champions, PFL featherweight champion Lance Palmer and PFL lightweight champion Natan Schulte, also suffered losses.
So MacDonald will hope to stave off the recent trend of PFL favorites losing in the opening round of the regular season.
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PFL Champs Return on Thursday
Two more returning PFL champs will join MacDonald in that same effort.
PFL welterweight champion Ray Cooper III is coming off two straight finals appearances. He lost his first try in 2018 and won PFL gold the following year. Now, Cooper will hope to grab gold again and become a back-to-back champion.
“I did this before,” Cooper III said per MMA Junkie. “You’ve just got to keep your mind off things you can’t control and focus on the task at hand.”
Cooper takes on PFL newcomer Jason Ponet. He joins MacDonald and 2018 PFL welterweight champion Magomed Magomedov to form an incredibly deep 170-pound division.
Last season’s PFL light heavyweight champion Emiliano Sordi also kicks off his new season at PFL 2. Every single one of Sordi’s wins inside an MMA cage has come via finish, and he plans on doing the same thing this weekend to former UFC contender Chris Camozzi.
“In my  professional fights, I’ve finished all my opponents, and this Thursday night I’m going to do the same,” Sordi said per Cageside Press.
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PFL Season Continues on Thursday With More Fights Coming
PFL 2 begins at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN+. The main card airs at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
You can see the scheduled line-up of PFL 2 fights below.
The remaining PFL regular-season events will take place on May 6, June 10, June 17, and June 25.
Later this year, the PFL playoffs and championship will take place at a date and venue to be determined.
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