The Professional Fighters League will have one opening prelim on its New Year's Eve event before the title fights.
On Thursday, the promotion announced via press release that Brendan Loughnane (18-3) will be squaring off with David Alex Duarte (11-4) at featherweight on the lone prelim of the 2019 PFL Championship. The two will square off on ESPN+ that evening, prior to the main card airing on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The event will take place at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York on Dec. 31. All six finals will take place on the card, with six title fights starting at heavyweight and ending with women's lightweight.
Loughnane earned a spot on the PFL roster after a successful outing against Bill Algeo on Dana White's Contender Series. His performance was lauded but derided by Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White, who claimed Loughnane's takedown attempt at the end of the fight cost him another chance to fight with the Las Vegas-based promotion. He made his UFC debut in 2012, and dropped a decision at UFC on FX 6 to Mike Wilkinson. The Absolute Championship Akhmat veteran made his successful PFL debut in a dominant performance over Matt Wagy at PFL 7 in October.
Duarte has lost his last two this year, dropping a doctor stoppage loss to Bellator MMA vet Carrington Banks. The loss, his first by knockout or technical knockout, was followed by a split decision defeat at the hands of fellow Brazilian Bruno Tavares in June. This skid for "Valente" the longest of his career, although the Teixeira MMA & Fitness representative sports a finish rate of 82 percent, with eight of his 11 victories coming by knockout.
PFL CEO Peter Murray was elated about this bout, claiming, "We're thrilled to have a fighter of Brendan Loughnane's caliber on our 2020 roster. Next year Brendan will have the opportunity to fight his way to the championship, the biggest MMA event of the year that is quickly becoming synonymous with New Year's Eve in New York City, and compete for the featherweight title and million-dollar prize."