Brendan Loughnane has endured a very interesting 2019 to say the least.
His name shot to prominence after a dominant decision over Bill Algeo on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, only to be passed over for a contract by the UFC president, who berated him for a late takedown that helped secure the decision victory.
White took a lot of grief for that decision, but Loughnane didn’t cry over his lost opportunity. Instead, he inked a multi-fight deal with the PFL that kicked off with a unanimous decision victory over Matt Wagy in October.
Now, Loughnane makes his second PFL appearance opposite Brazilian veteran David Valente at the upcoming finals show on Dec. 31 from New York. A strange start to this year could net his third win and bring the chance to compete for $1 million in the next 145-pound season for the PFL.
“Absolutely the best promotion I’ve ever fought for,” Loughnane told MMA Fighting. “I can’t complain. I absolutely love fighting for them. Another guy I’m training with right now, Emiliano Sordi, he lost on the Contender Series, and now he’s about to fight for $1 million a year later. It just shows that there are options out there. It’s great that PFL is around. They made me a great offer and I’m really happy.
“A chance to win $1 million in five months, I don’t think any other promotion can offer that. I don’t think any other job can offer you that. I can’t wait to roll the dice next year against some of the best guys in the world.”
Loughnane actually tried to get a late entry into the featherweight finals this year after news surfaced that Daniel Pineda had tested positive for a banned substance and was in danger of losing his opportunity to face Lance Palmer in the finals in December.
Since then, the PFL has announced that Pineda is appealing his drug test results in mid-Decembert. But if he’s unable to compete, then Alex Gilpin will instead draw Palmer on Dec. 31 in New York.
Obviously, Loughnane understands why Gilpin was the choice as an alternate for the fight. But he’s been keeping a watchful eye on Palmer ever since he signed with the PFL in hopes of inevitably running into him at some point in the future.
“It’s all Lance Palmer right now,” Loughnane said about the reigning PFL tournament champion. “He’d probably be top-five in the UFC; he’s 9-0 in the PFL, (and) probably going to win his second million. He’s no pushover. I’m really looking forward to joining him and seeing what I can do, especially with two fights in one night.
“I tried to slide into that fight. I tried to jump in the queue, but Alex Gilpin rightly got the fight. I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be watching that with a close eye.”
Because Palmer has been so dominant through the first two seasons of the PFL format, Loughnane knows that’s exactly the fight he wants when the next tournament kicks off in 2020.
“I’m coming strong for that fight next year,” Loughnane said about Palmer. “I’ve been in training camp the whole year, this is my third fight this year and I’ll get a bit of a break in January, and then it’s go time.”
First things first: Loughnane has to get through Valente on Dec. 31. Because the only way to set the tone for PFL season 3 is by winning his second fight for the promotion later this month.
“Every fight, I’m looking to display my talents,” Loughnane said. “I just got my opponent yesterday, David Valente, he’s 11-4, he’s a striker, too, he’s got nine knockouts. We’re both exciting strikers. It’s going to be a good fight.
“He’s got everything to gain in this fight. He’s a big, experienced veteran from Brazil and this ain’t no easy fight. If you watch this guy, he can bang. I’m excited for a good fight in Madison Square Garden.”