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Fabricio Werdum signs with PFL, will join 2021 heavyweight season

Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum will have his next career chapter take place with the PFL.

Werdum (24-9-1) has signed a deal to join PFL’s heavyweight division for the upcoming 2021 season, which begins April 23, the promotion announced Monday.

Following a lengthy UFC stint that saw him wear gold, Werdum completed his contract this past July with a submission win over Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on ESPN 14. After that win, Werdum called for a rematch with Fedor Emelianenko, whom he defeated 10 years ago in Strikeforce. Werdum’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz of Dominance MMA, had been in discussions with Bellator to potentially set up the Emelianenko rematch, but ultimately it didn’t materialize.

Now Werdum is with PFL, and the organization is ecstatic to have him.

“I am excited to announce Fabricio Werdum, the Tom Brady of MMA, has signed with the Professional Fighters League,” PFL CEO Peter Murray said in a statement. “Fabricio is one of the greatest heavyweights of all time and knows when he steps into the PFL cage this coming season, it is more than a fight. The PFL sport season format provides an opportunity to control his destiny, like all PFL fighters, with a transparent shot to earn another major global title and the PFL million dollar champions belt.”

According to a report from PFL broadcast partner ESPN, one of the major factors that attracted Werdum to PFL is the season format. Werdum will have to compete and win five times in 2021 to earn the $1 million prize.

That’s good news to the Brazilian, who will have fought just twice in three years by the time he makes his debut, largely because he served a suspension from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

“Adding a fighter at the world champion caliber of Fabricio Werdum is next level for the Professional Fighters League,” said Ray Sefo, President of PFL fighter operations. “I know the rest of the league’s heavyweight fighters are as excited as I am with Fabricio joining the PFL for the 2021 season starting in April.”

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