Two fighters with Ohio Valley ties are set to compete this year in the Professional Fighters League, as Dan Spohn (16-5) and Jason Butcher (11-2) will make their debuts at PFL 2 on June 21 in Chicago.
Spohn is set to face Bazigit Ataev (17-1) while Butcher will take on Maxim Grishin (26-7).
Spohn resides in Columbus where he represents Ronin Training Center. Since competing on The Ultimate Fighter 19, he has posted an 8-1 record, including a first round submission over Angel DeAnda at Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series 2 last summer.
Ataev is a Russian who is known for his sanshou kickboxing career as well as MMA. His only loss in MMA came against Alistair Overeem at Pride 24 in 2002. He returned from an 11-year layoff in 2017 to knock out Jeremy May at an event in China.
A seven-time Bellator veteran and West Virginia native, Butcher is the current King of the Cage light heavyweight champion. After being cut by Bellator in 2015, he’s won three straight bouts under the KOTC banner. His most recent outing was a TKO victory over Jesse Murray to defend his title at KOTC: Locked In in October.
Grishin is also a native of Russia who spent time early in his career training in Ohio with Strong Style Fight Team. He posted a 3-0 record for the Ohio-based NAAFS promotion from 2012-14, and has won 14 of his last 15 fights.
The PFL is from the owners of the World Series of Fighting, and bills itself as the “true sport” version of MMA, with a regular season featuring individual fighters followed by a playoff before crowning champions in each weight class at the end of the year.
Former four-time All-American wrestler at Ohio State and WSOF featherweight champion Lance Palmer will compete at PFL 1 on June 6, as he faces Bekbulat Magomedov at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
PFL 2 takes place at the Chicago Theater and airs live on NBC Sports Network and Facebook.