PFL’s heavyweight and featherweight lineups will take the stage on Thursday night at the eSports Stadium in Arlington, Texas, USA. In the main event, 2021 PFL Heavyweight Champion Bruno Cappelozza will kick off his new year with a fight against Stuart Austin.
Lower on the card, two-time champion Lance Palmer will attempt to bounce back from a rough 2021. He starts his 2022 against fellow PFL veteran Chris Wade.
Follow along throughout the evening for updates on the event.
Preliminary Card (6:30PM EDT / 5:30PM CDT) (ESPN+ / TSN Direct)
Main Card (9:00PM EDT / 8:00PM CDT) (ESPN2 / TSN 2)
Bout 10: Bruno Cappelozza (14-5) vs. Stuart Austin (15-7) (Heavyweight)
Defending Champion Cappelozza Stops Austin Early With Punches
2021 PFL Heavyweight Champion Bruno Cappelozza made a big step toward becoming a two-time champion on Thursday night, scoring six points with a first-round finish win over Stuart Austin.
Cappelozza dropped Austin in the first round with a left hook to the head. Later in the round he took full mount against Austin, allowing him to posture up and unload with ground and pound shots until the fight came to an end.
Cappelozza went undefeated in the 2021 PFL Season, scoring four wins in the year. After finishing his first three opponents in that run, he went five rounds against Ante Delija to win in the grand final.
Austin’s previous PFL bout before Thursday was a 31-second loss to Renan Ferreira.
Bout 9: Lance Palmer (22-5) vs. Chris Wade (20-7) (Featherweight)
Wade Defeats Two-Time Champion Palmer In Decision
PFL veteran Chris Wade started his 2022 season with a big win, defeating two-time champion Lance Palmer in a unanimous decision result (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).
Wade had the better striking in a three-round battle, landing the more impactful shots and having a higher output overall.
The fight kept Palmer’s losing streak going into the new year. He didn’t qualify for the playoffs last year after going winless in his two regular season bouts.
Palmer was the king of PFL’s featherweight division in earlier years, remaining undefeated in 2018 and 2019.
Wade has reached the playoffs in his three previous PFL years, but has never won the grand final.
Bout 8: Brendan Loughnane (21-4) vs. Ryoji Kudo (10-2-1) (Featherweight)
Loughnane Earns Technical Decision Against Kudo
A close featherweight fight between Brendan Loughnane and Ryoji Kudo came to an end in the third round due to an accidental clash of heads. Because of this result, the bout went to a technical decision that went the way of Loughnane (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
A clash of heads caused a cut on the head of Kudo, eventually causing the bout to get called off late. Since the fight went as late as the third round, the bout ended as a technical decision instead of a no contest or disqualification.
Kudo earned a round early, scoring a knockdown on the feet against Loughnane. Later rounds went the way of Loughnane, who was able to up his output of strikes and control the fight in clinch positions.
Loughnane now has three points to start his year. He was eliminated in the semi-finals of the playoffs last year, getting eliminated by Movlid Khaybulaev.
Kudo, a former Shooto Japan title challenger, was making his PFL debut.
Bout 7: Renan Ferreira (8-2) vs. Jamelle Jones (12-7) (Heavyweight)
Ferreira Stops Jones In Just 25 Seconds
Renan Ferreira scored a win in under a minute against Jamelle Jones, earning six points with a quick finish win.
Ferreira first dropped Jones hard with a front kick to the head. The shin of Ferreira connected from that strike, causing Jones to fall forward.
Ferreira then finished the fight with a series of punches to the head.
Ferreira now has six points in total, which is more than the combined four points he scored in the 2021 season. In that run, Ferreira didn’t qualify for the playoffs.
Jones made the playoffs last year after stopping Klidson Abreu in the first round of a fight. He was later eliminated in the semi-finals by Bruno Cappelozza.
Bout 6: Denis Goltsov (27-7) vs. Cody Goodale (8-5) (Heavyweight)
Goltsov Reaches Top of PFL Heavyweight Ranks Following Win Against Goodale
Denis Goltsov shot to the top of the PFL heavyweight rankings on Thursday night, scoring a first-round finish win against Cody Goodale.
Goltsov got Goodale down early in their fight with a takedown. In a controlling position, Goltsov landed damaging ground and pound punches to the head of Goodale. After causing bleeding and swelling on the face of Goodale, Goltsov picked up a finish win to earn six points in the PFL heavyweight ranks.
Goltsov made it to the playoffs in both of his previous PFL runs, but has yet to make the grand finals of a season.
Goodale was a short-notice replacement for Sam Kei, the original opponent for Goltsov. He now has a record of eight wins and six losses.
Bout 5: Ante Delija (19-5) vs. Matheus Scheffel (15-7) (Heavyweight)
2021 Finalist Delija Stops Scheffel For Five Points
Ante Delija became the first fighter to score bonus points in the heavyweight division, earning five points with a second-round finish win over Matheus Scheffel.
Delija floored Scheffel with an overhand right early in the second round. Scheffel fell hard due to this strike, causing the referee to step in just moments after to stop the bout.
Delija had success earlier in the fight as well, scoring a knockdown against Scheffel in the opening round.
Delija made it to the grand finals of PFL’s heavyweight season last year. In that fight, he went five rounds against Bruno Cappelozza for a decision loss.
Scheffel was making his first appearance on a PFL card. The former “Dana White’s Contender Series” competitor was coming off a finish victory that he scored late last year.
Bout 4: Kyle Bochniak (11-5) vs. Bubba Jenkins (16-5) (Featherweight)
Jenkins Earns Decision Win Against UFC Vet Bochniak
Bubba Jenkins started his second quest towards a PFL title with a win, defeating Kyle Bochniak via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
Jenkins had the sharper striking in the fight, scoring numerous knockdowns against Bochniak due to punch combinations.
Jenkins absorbed some strikes throughout the fight as well. He most notably suffered a swollen right eye late in the bout, with the injury causing his eye to completely shut after the fight concluded.
Jenkins was a semi-finalist in the 2021 PFL Featherweight Season, getting eliminated in the tournament by veteran Chris Wade.
Bochniak joined the PFL roster after a strong run in regional promotion XMMA, scoring four wins for them from 2021 to 2022. His previous fight was just last month, defeating Carlton Minus on scorecards.
Bout 3: Klidson Abreu (15-5) vs. Adam Keresh (5-0) (Heavyweight)
Abreu Hands Keresh First Pro Loss
Klidson Abreu handed heavyweight Adam Keresh his first pro loss on Thursday night, defeating him via unanimous decision for three points in the PFL standings (29-28, 30-27 & 30-27).
Abreu used a mix of grappling and strikes to defeat Keresh. He notably took Keresh down many times in the fight, using these positions to land strikes or briefly attempt submissions.
Abreu’s best position came early, as he took Keresh down and unloaded with punches from a crucifix position.
Keresh joined the PFL roster on their “Challenger Series” earlier this year, scoring a first-round finish victory against Chad Johnson for his fifth pro win.
Abreu lost his PFL debut in 2021, getting finished within a round by Jamelle Jones. The performance on Thursday was Abreu’s first pro win since his UFC run in 2019.
Bout 2: Sheymon Moraes (13-5) vs. Boston Salmon (8-3) (Featherweight)
Moraes Guts Out Decision Win Against Salmon
Sheymon Moraes started his second PFL run with a decision victory, beating fellow UFC alum Boston Salmon on scorecards (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).
Salmon opened the fight strong with some aggressive striking. However, Moraes was able to shut down his attacks with clinch positions. Moraes started to open up with his own striking in the second round, connecting to the head and body of Salmon. By the end of the fight, Moraes had a much higher overall volume of strikes landed than Salmon.
Moraes continued to use his wrestling and striking to succeed against Salmon in the final round.
Moraes fought in the 2021 PFL season, but didn’t qualify for the playoffs after scoring one win through two fights. He now has three points in the 2022 standings, which is a good start but isn’t enough to secure him a playoff spot yet.
Salmon earned a 2022 PFL contract through their “Challenger Series” show, which aired last month.
Bout 1: Alejandro Flores (20-3) vs. Saba Bolaghi (14-2-1) (Featherweight)
Flores Takes Decision Win Against Bolaghi For Three Points
Alejandro Flores used his striking skills to open the season with a win on Thursday night, defeating Saba Bolaghi via unanimous decision after three rounds (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).
A high output of strikes from Flores allowed him to take all three rounds against Bolaghi. He had quick flurries of shots late in the fight that backed Bolaghi up and overwhelmed him at times.
Bolaghi used his wrestling skills to stop the offence of Flores briefly, taking him down a few times in the fight.
Flores made his PFL debut last year in a non-tournament bout, defeating Carl Deaton III via split decision. He now has three points to start his 2022 run.
Bolaghi was making his first PFL appearance. He entered the promotion after scoring two wins in 2021.