The Professional Fighters League has revealed the second round of its 2019 tournament roster, including several 2018 favorites as well as newcomers ranging from Ultimate Fighting Championship veterans to promising prospects.
On Thursday, the promotion in its official press release announced an additional 29 members of the 2019 tournament season across its remaining five weight classes. Each of its men's divisions will hold 12 total fighters, with the weight classes this year to include featherweight (145), lightweight (155), welterweight (170), light heavyweight (205) and heavyweight (206+). The PFL already announced the entirety of its women's lightweight division earlier this month.
Some noteworthy returning competitors are semi-finalists Smealinho Rama at light heavyweight, Alex Nicholson at heavyweight, Chris Wade at lightweight and Andre Harrison at featherweight. In all, 17 of the newly-announced fighters competed in the 2018 tournament, with the remainder hailing from all across the globe.
Leaving the UFC to join this tournament, Jordan Johnson is unbeaten as a professional and left the promotion of his own accord. Zane Kamaka, cousin of 2018 welterweight finalist Ray Cooper III, is also competing at welterweight. Brazilian prospect Luis Rafael Laurentino is entering the featherweight tournament, with an impressive record of 33-1 and a banner year in 2013 where he competed 21 times and won them all, with 18 finishes. Additional new participants include Denis Goltsov, Ante Delija, Ben Edwards, Viktor Nemkov, David Michaud, Yincang Bao, Loik Radzhabov, Nate Andrews and Alex Gilpin.
President of PFL Fighter Operations Ray Sefo commented on these signings, saying, "We are proud that PFL is the organization fighters want to be part of, as these guys have the talent and star-power to have chosen any MMA organization." He continued, "PFL has only 68 slots this year for fighters, and the harsh reality is it is highly competitive to get into this league. Fighters from around the world want to control their own destiny, and after seeing six of their peers last year cash $1 million checks and win championship belts, they have come hungry to compete. Storylines are forming, rivalries are brewing, training is starting…and we're not done yet. We will continue with round 3 of 'The Selection' as we finalize the PFL 2019 roster."