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Ali’s grandson to fight locally as PFL commits to Las Vegas

Almost a year after his boxing brother debuted locally, former Bishop Gorman football star turned mixed martial artist Biaggio Ali Walsh is making his local debut.

Ali Walsh, the grandson of the iconic former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, is fighting April 7 inside the Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas on the second of three local cards promoted by the Professional Fighters League, with which he signed an amateur contract last fall.

His opponent has not yet been determined.

PFL is also promoting cards at the venue on April 1 and April 14, marking its return to Las Vegas for the first time since Oct. 31, 2019, when it contested its postseason at Mandalay Bay — and signifying a long-term commitment to Las Vegas, according to CEO Peter Murray.

“When you think about the amount of product we have and how Las Vegas fits into not only the ecosystem of MMA but boxing and broad sports — this is not just we’re going to dip our toe back in and see what we can do,” Murray said, noting the promotion has an office in Las Vegas.

“Las Vegas will be part of the rotation for sure each year,” he added.

PFL is the fastest growing company in mixed martial arts, boasting broadcast deals with ESPN and ESPN+. Its seasonal format features standings, a regular season and a postseason, differentiating it from other promotions.

The cards at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas maintain for the property a developing presence in combat sports since its reopening in 2021. Top Rank — which promotes Ali Walsh’s brother, Nico — has staged boxing cards inside the hotel formerly known as Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, as has Premier Boxing Champions.

“We have a unique production for the live events with our smart cage and staging and light show. It’s pretty dramatic,” Murray said. “We’re looking forward to our smart cage build out within the venue. … The sound in the venue is incredible. The sight lines for every ticket holder are fantastic. Then an incredible VIP experience in and around the cage of course.”

Contact Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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