PFL Challenger Series 2023

PFL Challenger Series 2023: Week 1 + Weekly MMA Report

UFC 283 was a great pay-per-view event with lots of finishes. It will also be remembered by the retirement of two big legends, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Glover Teixeira, who officially hung up their gloves.

The main event of the evening brought an amazing five-round light heavyweight title war between Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill. The American outworked Teixeira after five rounds of amazing exchanges and bombs on both sides. The two earned the Fight of the Night bonus.

Unfortunately, Glover retired in front of the empty arena, as many Brazilian fans didn’t wait for the last fight of his career to end. It was such disrespectful behavior towards one of the greatest legends of this sport.

The Performance of the Night award was given to Ismael Bonfim, who annihilated Terrance McKinney with powerful shots, and Jailton Almeida, who destroyed Shamil Abdurakhimov with powerful hooks of the back mount and won the fight despite a huge difference on the scale.

There will be no UFC this week, but the PFL Challenger Series 2023: Week 1 event takes place on Friday, January 27th, 2023, and kicks off at 9 PM ET. It is headlined by the fight between BJJ phenom Lucas Barbosa and very dangerous top control expert Itso Babulaidze.

Barbosa is known for lovely transitions and sweeps on the ground.  His submission game is outstanding, he’s a BJJ black belt with 10+ years of experience. Barbosa is also a cardio machine, a very durable fighter. Babulaidze will have to try to keep this combat standing if he plans to win.

Interestingly, Itso is known for ground-and-pound shots and great top control, but he’s a better Striker than Almeida. His angles are excellent and he likes to connect powerful punches. Itso’s takedown defense is solid, he should be safe as long as he keeps the combat on the feet.

Prediction: fight starts round 3

Eric Alequin and Thad Jean are going to square off in the co-main event of the evening. Thad is known for powerful right-hand and violent shots, while Alequin’s ground game and submission skills might give him an advantage if the combat gets dragged to the canvas. One way or another, this will hardly last for 15 minutes.

Prediction: the fight will not go the distance

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

https://www.tapology.com/fightcenter/events/95439-pfl-challenger-series-9

Welterweight (170 pounds): Lucas Barbosa (2-1-0) vs. Itso Babulaidze (2-0-0)

Welterweight (170 pounds): Eric Alequin (7-0-0) vs. Thad Jean (4-0-0)

Welterweight (170 pounds): Quemuel Ottoni (12-3-0) vs. Jozef Wittner (16-2-0)

Welterweight (170 pounds): Mostafa Rashed Neda (7-3-0) vs. Nick Alley (7-5-0)

You can check my picks for the upcoming PFL event here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hbq4TEoJckM

This PFL tour should be a great intro into the next week’s UFC event, which is headlined by the combat between the two knockout artists, Derrick Lewis and Serghei Spivac. Please, be patient and enjoy the PFL on Friday, you might see some really good combats!

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has been training in the art of kickboxing for over seven years, holds a Taekwondo black belt, and has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. He's a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster.
Article by

Vladimir Vladisavljevic