PFL Challenger Series 2023: Week 1 + Weekly MMA Report

UFC 283 was an event to remember. So many great finishes, plus two legends of the sport, Shogun Rua and Glover Teixeira, hung up their gloves and called ends to their careers.

The Fight of the Night award went into the hands of Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill, who took part in the fantastic five-round 205-pound belt combat, where Hill outworked Glover for a decision win. Unfortunately, most of the Brazilian crowd didn’t wait for Glover’s last fight, and the majority of them walked out of the hall before the end of the main event. It was such a disrespectful move toward one of the greatest legends of the UFC light heavyweight division.

The Performance of the Night award was given to Ismael Bonfim, who destroyed Terrance McKinney in the second round, and Jailton Almeida, who destroyed Shamil Abdurakhimov with a great ground performance.

There will be no UFC this week, but PFL kicks off its 2023 run with the first qualifying tournament. The clash between Lucas Barbosa and Itso Babulaidze will headline the PFL Challenger Series 2023: Week 1 event, which takes place on Friday, January 27th, 2023, and kicks off at 9 PM ET.

PFL challenger series Lucas Barbosa vs Itso Babulaidze_edited

Image source: @PFLMMA Twitter

Barbosa is known for excellent pressure, superb submissions, and lovely transitions and sweeps on the ground. His cardio rocks thanks to spending endless hours in the gym, and he’s not going to gas out in the later rounds. Barbosa’s ground game is outstanding thanks to his BJJ background so Babulaidze might have to keep it standing if he wants to secure a victory.

An undefeated Itso Babulaidze is an expert in top control and submission game, but he has never faced a cardio beast like Barbosa. Itso should finish the fight in the first two rounds, or he might have a hard time dealing with Barbosa’s superb endurance.

Prediction: the fight starts round 3

The co-main event is reserved for the clash of two undefeated fighters, Eric Alequin and Thad Jean. Both of these fighters like to control the central line and throw heavy bombs on their opponents, so this could turn into a violent toe-to-toe brawl. One way or another, someone should get finished. Alequin’s ground game is better, that’s true, but Jean’s right hand is extremely dangerous.

Prediction: the fight will not go the distance

Please check the whole PFL fight card here, but also check the topology link due to potential last-minute changes.

Welterweight: Lucas Barbosa (2-1-0) vs. Itso Babulaidze (2-0-0)

Welterweight: Eric Alequin (7-0-0) vs. Thad Jean (4-0-0)

Welterweight: Quemuel Ottoni (12-3-0) vs. Jozef Wittner (16-2-0)

Welterweight: Mostafa Rashed Neda (7-3-0) vs. Nick Alley (7-5-0)

Please check my predictions for the upcoming PFL event here:

Please be patient and enjoy the PFL tour, as the UFC gets back with another lovely event on February 4th! Yes, it kicks off a bit late for the American time, but there are so many Asian fighters on the roster, this might be a lovely event!

1 Comment
  1. […] last week’s PFL Challenger Series was stacked with many decision victories, but a miracle happened in the case of Kendley St. Louis, […]

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