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Brendan Loughnane: PFL Format a ‘Whole Different Ball Game’ Than UFC



Brendan Loughnane (27-5) believes the Professional Fighters League tournament format isn’t meant for everyone and claims to know a lot of Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters that agree with him.

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Loughnane will take on Justin Gonzales (14-4) in the main event at PFL 6 2024 Regular Season, featuring featherweights and welterweights on June 28 at Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The 2022 PFL featherweight champion has been with the promotion since 2019 and is no stranger to the unique format.

The PFL season consists of two regular season matches across six weight classes to decide who proceeds to the playoffs based on a points system scored by the method of victory. The playoffs feature semi finals and a final with $1 million on the line.

This, combined with the league’s pay-per-view cards, keeps a PFL fighter busier compared to most other organizations. Loughnane notes that the PFL tournament format can be quite taxing, factoring in injuries, weight cuts and travel. According to Loughnane, he knows of several UFC and Bellator MMA fighters who would agree that the PFL season is a whole different ball game. However, the Manchester native himself claims to have taken up to the tournament format like a duck to water.

“The main thing I will say, it's a marathon, not a sprint,” Loughnane said during a media call. “That's what I always tell people about the PFL. It's a long, old year; starts in April and ends in November. So, it's just a long old time and it's very hard to gauge when to put your foot on the gas and when to pull back. And I think not everybody's built for tournaments. Tournaments are its own thing. I know plenty of fighters that agree in the UFC and Bellator and all that; put them in this it's a whole different ball game. And I really believe that I am a tournament fighter. Every fight that I have signed up for, I've turned up to and fought my ass off and never missed weight, never pulled out and always turned up. And it's really difficult to do with this format with injuries and weight and days of coming from Thailand to America. It's like, it's a lot that I have to do, but I take it in the stride and I'm a veteran of this thing.”

Having fought in the PFL for so long, Loughnane doesn’t think he could return to fighting once or twice a year.

“I don't think I could go back to normal fighting now, normal fighting I call it, regular fighting once, twice a year, it's just not me anymore. I'm in shape all year round, I know how to look after and maintain my body now, my mind.”

Apart from the PFL’s tournament format suiting him well, Loughnane has developed a great relationship with the league as they have admittedly taken good care of him.

“Listen, I'm the biggest PFL… I love PFL. PFL changed my whole life, changed my family's life, gives me regular competition, puts me on ESPN…I know it gets my brand out there. I think they do a great job. They're only growing now. And Pete [Murray] and Eduardo [Cunha Lima] and even Song and everyone on the back staff, great people. I'm so glad to see the success that they're having as a company now.”

Loughnane started his 2024 season with a first-round knockout win over Pedro Carvalho in April which saw him bounce back from a first-round KO loss against 2023 featherweight champ Jesus Pinedo.
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