The Professional Fighters League is headed to Wales on Saturday with Canadian Rory MacDonald facing Dilano Taylor in the semifinals of the welterweight playoffs.
The PFL’s first card out of the United States has backfired as Rory MacDonald’s original opponent, Russian Magomed Umalatov, was unable to get a visa to enter the U.K. With the first two alternates unable to fight, the welterweight bout in Wales will now feature third-choice replacement Dilano Taylor. The winner of MacDonald vs. Taylor will advance to fight for a US$1 million grand prize in the PFL welterweight championship.
Rory MacDonald PFL 8 Odds
MacDonald is 23-9-1 in a professional career that dates back to 2005. He has nine wins by submission, seven by KO/TKO and seven by decision. The B.C. native is a former Bellator welterweight champion and has also spent time in the UFC. He had a 9-4 record in the UFC between 2010 and 2016, recording wins over notable fighters like Nate Diaz, B.J. Penn and Tyron Woodley. MacDonald’s biggest opportunity was challenging Robbie Lawler for the UFC welterweight belt in 2015. He would go on to lose by fifth-round knockout, earning a Fight of the Night bonus.
“Red King” jumped to Bellator in 2017 with the intent to be a two-division champion. He recorded three wins, two losses and a draw in the promotion. The 33-year-old defeated Douglas Lima by unanimous decision in 2018 to win the welterweight belt. He ultimately had two successful title defences before losing the belt in a rematch against Lima. MacDonald also challenged for the Bellator middleweight belt, but lost to Gegard Mousasi by second-round TKO.
Facing Taylor on short notice is a big break for MacDonald as he was a fairly sizeable underdog against the unbeaten Umalatov, but is now favoured to win against Taylor. It’s been a fairly rocky road since he joined the Professional Fighters League last year as he has just two wins in six fights. It’s a big opportunity for him on Saturday, however, as he’s matched up against a third-choice replacement who is fighting on short notice.
Dilano Taylor PFL 8 Odds
This is also a big opportunity for 25-year-old Taylor, who has a 9-2 record since his professional debut in 2019. He has five wins by decision, two by KO/TKO and two by submission. Taylor joined the PFL earlier this year and brutally defeated Mark Martin in the second episode of the Challenger Series after doctors stopped the fight because of a gruesome eye injury Martin suffered.
“The Postman” started as an alternate for the 2022 PFL season and took a short notice fight against Joao Zeferino at PFL 3 in March, winning by split decision. He took another short notice fight at PFL 6 in early July, but lost to Magomed Magomedkerimov by strikes in the second-round. A win on Saturday against a veteran fighter like MacDonald puts Taylor on the map.
PFL Welterweight Playoffs Prediction: MacDonald vs. Taylor
MacDonald wins by unanimous decision.