PFL 5 goes down on Thursday, June 17th from Atlantic City, New Jersey. Can MacDonald take out Tibau as a massive favorite?
- Welterweights and light heavyweights have their second and final regular-season fight on Thursday
- UFC veterans in Rory MacDonald and Gleison Tibau headline the card
- See the odds, picks, and betting preview for the full 2021 PFL 5 main card, below
The Professional Fighters League is back on Thursday, June 17, for their fifth event of 2021. The promotion sees one of their marquee signings in former UFC title challenger and Bellator champion Rory MacDonald fight after a successful debut. He’s heavily favored to defeat fellow UFC veteran Gleison Tibau in the main event.
For those that might not know, PFL is a regular-season and playoff format like stick and ball sports. A decision win nets you three points, a first-round finish gets you six, a second-round finish gets you five, and a third-round finish nets you four. The winner of the tournament also gets $1 million at the end of the year.
PFL 5 main card airs live on ESPN2 at 9 PM EST on Thursday, June 17th, 2021, from Atlantic City, New Jersey. The table below shows odds for the main card at DraftKings followed by best bets.
PFL 5 Odds
|Fighter||Odds at DraftKings|
|Ray Cooper III||-106|
Odds as of June 15
Can Tibau Pull Off The Upset?
Rory MacDonald earned a first-round submission over Curtis Millender and can lock in a playoff spot with a win. Gleison Tibau, meanwhile, lost a decision to Joao Zeferino and will likely need a first or second-round finish to advance to the playoffs.
MacDonald & Tibau Recent Fights
|Curtis Millender, win by submission||Fight 1||Joao Zeferino, loss by decision|
|Douglas Lima, loss by decision||Fight 2||Will Brooks, win by submission|
|Neiman Gracie, loss by decision||Fight 3||Efrain Escudero, win by decision|
|Jon Fitch, majority decision||Fight 4||Des Green, loss by decision|
When this fight was announced many were confused as to why it was booked, as it is a unique one. Tibau is a natural lightweight who moved up to welterweight for the tournament. MacDonald, meanwhile, was considered the favorite to win the entire tournament, and if he can get past a grinder like Tibau, he would likely clinch the number one seed for the playoffs.
MacDonald & Tibau Stats
At the beginning of the fight, it will be interesting to see how Tibau will deal with a 10″ reach disadvantage. He is known for trying to get inside and use his wrestling to take his opponents down. However, if MacDonald just uses his jab and uses footwork it will make it hard for Tibau to have success. MacDonald should also be the faster fighter.
Ultimately, I expect MacDonald to just pick apart Tibau, and not let him get inside and when he does, I do think the Canadian will be able to stuff the takedowns and keep it upright. This fight really comes down to whether or not MacDonald gets the finish. For me, Tibau proved his chin was better at welterweight, and MacDonald isn’t known for his power, so I expect the Canadian to win a clear-cut decision in a rather dominating performance.
Pick: Rory MacDonald (-560)
Can Cooper III Go Back-To-Back?
Ray Cooper III made good of his first regular-season fight as he submitted Jason Ponet in the first round. Now, however, the reigning champ has a much tougher test in Nikolay Aleksakhin, who likely needs a stoppage win as he only has one point after his first fight ended in a No Contest.
Cooper III & Aleksakhin Recent Fights
|Jason Ponet, win by submission||Fight 1||Sadibou Sy, No Contest (Eye Poke_|
|David Michaud, win by TKO||Fight 2||Jesse Ronson, win by TKO|
|Chris Curtis, win by KO||Fight 3||Jonavin Webb, win by decision|
|Sadibou Sy, majority draw||Fight 4||Rodrigio Cavalheiro, win by TKO|
This is a phenomenal fight as both Cooper III and Aleksakhin are great strikers with legit one-punch KO power.
Early on in the fight, I expect Aleksakhin to come out aggressive as he looks to get an early finish to try and punch his ticket to the playoffs. I do have my concerns about Cooper III’s chin as we have seen him be rocked in a couple of fights. However, I do think he will be able to mix in the wrestling to control the fight and earn a decision in a very back-and-forth scrap.
Pick: Ray Cooper III (-106)
Other PFL 5 Picks:
- Emiliano Sordi (-400): Sordi should be able to land something big and get the KO/TKO win in the first round.
- Chris Camozzi (+245): Ferreira is too small at light heavyweight as he’s a former welterweight and middleweight. I don’t think he’ll be able to get Camozzi down who will be able to piece him up on the feet and possibly get a late stoppage. Camozzi offers great value at +245 in the PFL 5 odds.
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Cole graduated from Sheridan College in April of 2019 with a diploma in journalism. He now is a full-time freelance writer, focusing on MMA for sites like BJPENN and MMA News, while also covering the Toronto Blue Jays as a credentialed media member. At SBD, Cole covers the four major sports and MMA.