Oleg Popov currently finds himself on the longest active win streak out of all MMA heavyweights, coming out victorious in his last 15 fights in a row. Popov, who has 12 finishes to his credit, is a veteran of the Russian MMA scene, having won a regional heavyweight title in his home country. After defeating Gokhan Saricam in his lone Bellator appearance in February 2023, Popov had a successful PFL debut in April, scoring a second-round finish of Steve Mowry.


After competing in football and wrestling during college, Davion Franklin had been recruited by WWE, but he ultimately chose to go the MMA route. Receiving the Mata Leon scholarship at Jackson-Wink MMA, Franklin made his professional MMA debut in 2020 with no amateur experience. Franklin went 6-2 with Bellator, most recently losing against Slim Trabelsi at Bellator 300 due to a leg injury.


A win for Popov will clinch him a playoff spot; meanwhile, Franklin, who didn’t compete in April, needs a first or second-round finish for any hope of a postseason berth.


Note: Davion Franklin will be deducted one point in the standings for missing weight in this fight



Round 1


Popov comes forward and gets a takedown right away. Franklin gets back to his feet, but Popov has control of him against the fence. Popov gets another takedown, but Franklin gets control of his hips to get back to his feet right away. Franklin gets out of his grasp. Left hand from Popov. Right hand lands for Popov. Right hand by Popov. Low kick by Popov. Franklin defends another takedown and throws a flying knee! Popov absorbs it. Popov shoots in for the takedown. Popov ends up going over Franklin, but he pursues again and gets another takedown!


Popov gets in a crucifix. Popov figure-fours one of Franklin’s arms. Popov locking in an Americana. Popov cranks, but Franklin tries to power out. Popov landing several ground shots to the head of Franklin. Franklin gets an arm free, but it’s quickly re-trapped by Popov. Popov floats over and takes Franklin's back. Franklin gets back to his feet – only for Popov to take him right back down. Popov unsurprisingly ends the round on top.




Round 2


Right hand from Popov. Franklin landing a couple of leg kicks. Body kick from Popov. Popov pursues another takedown, and Franklin is trying to defend with some help from the fence. Popov scores the takedown but Franklin gets back up – only for Popov to bring him back down. Popov landing a few left hands. Popov getting to Franklin’s back and working him over. Franklin unable to handle the pressure.


Franklin getting back to his feet with about 90 seconds left. Franklin brings this fight back to the center of the PFL SmartCage, but Popov gets the fight back to the ground. Popov trying to get the hooks in.



Round 3


A couple of strong uppercuts from Franklin to start things off, but Popov pushes forward and presses Franklin into the fence before bringing him down once more. Popov has one of Franklin’s legs trapped, landing left hand after left hand on Franklin. Franklin seemingly trapped and unable to grab a hold of the left hand.


Franklin gets his back to the mat, but Popov remains on top in half-guard. Popov’s shots aren’t strong, but his pressure is overwhelming. Popov in complete top control until the bell.





Oleg Popov defeats Davion Franklin by unanimous decision (30-27x2, 30-25) in the PFL Heavyweight Division.

  • Popov clinches a playoff spot in his first PFL Season
  • Popov extends his winning streak to 16 straight wins – the longest active streak at Heavyweight in all of MMA
  • Popov moves his career record to 18-1
  • MMA Legend Fedor Emelianenko was in Popov’s corner