Iowa Approves New MMA Wager In Time For Next PFL Matches

Written By Russ Mitchell on June 15, 2021
pfl betting in iowa

The Professional Fighters League (PFL) takes a different approach to MMA — and Iowa sportsbooks are catching up to some of the changes.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission added PFL bets to the list of approved wagers in April.

IRGC administrator Brian Ohorilko said:

“Yes, it is professional fighting very similar to MMA. But it was different so we did think it needed approval separately. And, so did BetMGM. They made that request.”

The league is different than what bettors might find at UFC or Bellator:

  • Athletes earn points during a two-fight “regular season” in April, May and June.
  • Fighters earn regular-season points based on their performance, with three points for a win.
  • Athletes earn bonus points for knockouts and submissions.
  • PFL seeds fighters for playoffs in one of the six weight classes.
  • The PFL World Champion in each weight class earns $1 million.

PFL season continues Thursday in New Jersey

Welterweights and light heavyweights are next up for the PFL’s regular season.

Prelims start at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 17, and are carried on the ESPN+ streaming service:

  • Antonio Carlos Junior — Brazil (12-5-0) vs. Vinny Magalhaes (left in the picture above) — Brazil (19-12-0)
  • Marthin Hamlet — Norway (7-1-0) vs. Cory Hendricks — USA (7-3-0)
  • Joao Zeferino — Brazil (25-9-0) vs. Jason Ponet — France (20-13-1)
  • Magomed Magomedkerimov — Russia (26-5-0) vs. Curtis Millender — USA (18-7-0)
  • Tom Lawlor — USA (10-8-0) vs. Jordan Young — USA (11-1-0)
  • Sadibou Sy — Sweden (8-5-2) vs. Aleksei Kunchenko — Russia (20-2-0)

The main card begins at 8 p.m. on ESPN2:

  • Rory MacDonald — Canada (22-6-1) vs. Gleison Tibau —  Brazil (35-15-0)
  • Ray Cooper III — USA (21-7-1) vs. Nikolai Aleksakhin — Russia (24-5-0)
  • Emiliano Sordi — Argentina (23-8-0) vs. Dan Spohn — USA (18-8-0)
  • Cezar Ferreira — Brazil (14-8-0) vs. Chris Camozzi — USA (25-15-0)

BetMGM favors MacDonald to win the welterweight championship at +100. He’s followed by Cooper III (+375), Zeferino (+700) and Magomedkerimov (+750).

Carlos Jr. is favored among light heavyweights at +275. He’s not a runaway favorite, however. Ferreira (+375), Hamlet (+500) and Sordi (+525) are close behind.

BetMGM strikes partnership with league

PFL and BetMGM worked with regulators to bring its MMA betting to Iowa in April. Looking back, that Iowa work was a preview to a June 9 announcement.

The Professional Fighters League named BetMGM a “US authorized gaming operator of the PFL” last week. The agreement means BetMGM can use the league’s logo offer and special promotions.

PFL CEO Peter Murray said:

“We’re excited to partner with BetMGM to evolve our premium betting experiences for the millions of passionate sports fans across the country. … Our fighters are facing win-or-go-home matchups in the remaining regular season events. And expanding our sports betting offerings delivers another thrilling component to our league.”

Photo by Gregory Payan / AP
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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell has been covering news and sports in northwest Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most acclaimed community newspapers in the state. He looks forward to keeping readers up to date on the growing sportsbook industry in Iowa.

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