President Ray Sefo 'couldn't ask for a better start' to season leading up to tonight's PFL 4

It took a couple of tries for Ray Sefo to be able to get Professional Fighters League’s (PFL’s) ambitious format off the ground. But now that it’s in full swing, heading into the fourth card of its regular season, the PFL president is quite happy with how things have been unfolding.

“I couldn’t ask for a better start,” Sefo told MMAjunkie Radio. “Because all the PFL fighters have come out and showed not only to themselves, but the world, that PFL is here to stay. The way these guys are fighting, the way they’re looking to finish – I couldn’t be more proud for these guys. They’re really putting it all on the line.”

PFL 4 takes place tonight, at NYCB LIVE’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. The first six bouts stream live on Facebook while the final five air on NBCSN.

PFL’s format rewards fighters with points not only for wins, but for when those wins happen; a first-round finish, for instance, is worth three points more than a three-round decision win. Add to it that there’s a $1 million prize waiting for each division winner at the finish line, and you’d expect fighters to come out hunting for stoppages.

That’s certainly what Sefo has been able to observe so far. While it’s not an official number, he’s heard something about its first three events amounting to a “great and amazing” finish rate of about 80 percent.

For that, Sefo can only thank PFL’s roster of fighters for responding to the very idea behind the tournament. But then, of course, there are the drawbacks that come with that type of mindset.

“What I’ve learned is that, in the fighters doing so, there are a lot of finishes, stoppages – and also there are a lot of suspensions that come along with it,” Sefo said. “Thank goodness that we have four, five alternates that can fill that spot until the guy’s suspension is down or his injury is fine.”

But finishes aren’t the only good thing coming out of PFL’s regular season. Take this month’s PFL 3 event, for instance. Both the main and co-main events featured huge favorites in Abubakar Nurmagomedov and Jake Shields, respectively. Both suffered second-round losses.

Now, here’s when perspective comes in: For some, this might seem like a blow to a promotion and some of its biggest stars. But Sefo chooses to focus on what this means when it comes to victorious underdogs Pavel Kusch and Ray Cooper III.

“(Shields and Nurmagomedov) are veterans, and they’re great at what they do,” Sefo said. “I’m assuming they’re going to adjust and come back stronger, but we just found two new stars in the course of the last show.”

Tonight’s event features featherweight and heavyweight participants in their second regular-season bouts, hoping to add points (and thus, better tournament seedings) en route to playoff portion that begins in October. Some fighters, such as Brazil’s Bruno Santos, have done their math and believe that, finish or not, wins on both their matches at this stage should carry them through the next.

Sefo, however, warns them not to get so comfortable.

“Somebody had asked me, ‘Well, I thought that they win and they just go through,’” Sefo said. “I said, ‘Well, you can’t rely on that. Because you’re going to have a guy who wins two regular-season fights by decision, vs. a guy that comes out and finishes two fights in the first round and the second round. Now he’s got two points.

“You know what I mean? That six points might not carry you through to the playoffs. So you can’t let your guard down, and you can’t just rely on the fact that you just won.”

For more on PFL 4, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go towww.mmajunkie.com/radio.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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