Former UFC heavyweight contender Justin Willis has signed a new contract with PFL and will be part of the promotion’s next heavyweight tournament.
Willis signing with PFL was first confirmed by MMAjunkie.com. “Big Pretty” is expected to make his promotional debut later in the spring when their next heavyweight tournament begins.
Willis (8-2) was surprisingly cut by the UFC last year after a loss to Curtis Blaydes at UFC Nashville last March. Overall Willis had a strong 4-1 record in the UFC with wins over Mark Hunt, Chase Sherman, Allen Crowder, and James Mulheron, with his lone loss coming against the top-five ranked Blaydes.
After being cut by the UFC for reportedly turning down a fight with Walt Harris, Willis tried to get back into the good graces of the UFC brass and get another shot inside the Octagon. But things never worked out for Willis and he ended up as a free agent looking for work. Nearly a year after his last fight, the 32-year-old American has finally found a new home.
PFL promised that it would be making a number of notable free-agent signings after inking Rory MacDonald and Willis is another big name for the promotion as it heads into its third season. Willis immediately becomes one of the favorites to win the promotion’s heavyweight tournament based on his wrestling alone.
This is a homecoming of sorts as Willis previously competed in WSOF, the promotion which later became PFL. His lone WSOF fight came back in 2016 when he defeated Julian Coutinho. After that fight, the UFC liked what they saw from Willis and signed him to fight inside the Octagon. At one point in time it sure looked like Willis was going to be a dominant heavyweight in the UFC for years to come, but ultimately he just didn’t see eye-to-eye with the matchmakers and was deemed expendable.
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