Impa Kasanganay [600x400]
Impa Kasanganay [600x400] (Credit: Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

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LAS VEGAS -- On paper, the PFL's light heavyweight division looked like its marquee weight class going into the 2024 season -- and it certainly did not disappoint on Friday.

Last year's defending champion, Impa Kasanganay (16-4), led the way with a first-round knockout of Alex Polizzi in the main event of PFL 2 at The Theater at Virgin Hotel. Kasanganay hurt Polizzi several times with punches, and referee Marc Goddard eventually waved it off at the 3:29 mark, as Polizzi slumped against the cage.

In addition to Kasanganay, light heavyweights Rob Wilkinson (18-2), Josh Silveira (13-2), Antonio Carlos Jr. (16-5) and Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (22-7-1) all posted finishes in the first round. The result is a five-way tie for first place after the opening round, with all five earning a maximum six points.

The 205-pound weight class features former PFL champions Kasanganay, Wilkinson, Carlos Jr. and former welterweight champion Sadibou Sy (16-8-2). Jakob Nedoh, who lost to Yagshimuradov, is a PFL Europe champion. Silveira made it to the finals in the 2023 season.

There was added intrigue in Wilkinson, 32, who won the PFL championship in 2022 but sat out most of 2023 after failing a drug test. Wilkinson erased any doubts on how he'd look coming off a drug suspension by dispatching Tom Breese via TKO in just 61 seconds. He has finished his past seven opponents.

In the lightweight division, fan favorite Clay Collard (25-12) got his 2024 campaign off to a good start with a second-round finish of former Bellator MMA champ Patricky Pitbull. Collard will head into his second season matchup in a three-way tie for first place with Canada's Michael Dufort (13-4) and former Bellator champion Brent Primus (13-3).

The PFL's opening round matchups for its 2024 season continue next week with the welterweight and featherweight divisions in Chicago.