Donn Davis: Francis Ngannou makes PFL debut ‘no later’ than September at Saudi Arabia PPV

Francis Ngannou will make his Professional Fighters League debut in 2024, and it could happen as early as the summer, according to PFL co-founder Donn Davis.

Ngannou was recently viciously knocked out by Anthony Joshua in his second pro boxing match earlier this month in Saudi Arabia. After taking lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury to the limit in his boxing debut this past October, the MMA future of the former UFC heavyweight champion, who signed with PFL as a free agent in 2023, was unknown, especially if he had a competitive contest or even picked up a win over Joshua.

Davis was well aware of that, and while watching Ngannou lose was tough, the result now leads Davis to believe Ngannou’s return to MMA will happen within the next six months.

“People asked me before the fight [with Joshua] when I was interviewed, you know, ‘Who do I think will win? Who would I want to win?’ And I obviously root for Francis all the time,” Davis said on The MMA Hour. “He’s our partner and I truly do [root for him to win his boxing matches], but he would not have fought in MMA until the first quarter of 2025 [if he won]. We talked to him about that, and I was very vocal about that, that he would have absolutely fought, but it would have been December at the earliest, more likely February of 2025.

“So he was locked in, but he would have then gone ahead [to] fight Fury, as we all said, had he won this fight. So it would have delayed [his PFL debut]. So I’m rooting for Francis all the time, but now he’s coming back early. Will it be as early as July? Maybe. Will it be as late as September? No later. But you’ll see Francis now in 2024, in PFL, against ‘La Problemo’ [Renan Ferreira] in what I believe is going to be the fight I’m looking forward to the most in the heavyweight division of all of MMA.”

Ferreira earned the right to welcome Ngannou to the PFL cage following his blistering 21-second knockout of Ryan Bader in the main event of the PFL vs. Bellator champs card in February — a performance that Davis described as “frightening.”

While details are still fluid in regards to when Ngannou’s first PFL bout will take place, Davis says the card will feature other compelling matchups that will be worth the price of admission to both ticket purchasers and those who order it at home.

“That will be a pay-per-view fight,” Davis explained. “That [event] will also have Cris Cyborg against Larissa Pacheco as the co-main fight. That [card] will also have Cedric Doumbe against somebody we’ll announce. So that [fight card] is going to be big just because of Francis, but that fight [card] will have other very compelling matchups on it.

“That fight card will take place in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, but the details in terms of the full card, the details in terms of the month and the timing, we won’t announce that for about two more months.”

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