Global MMA

PFL announces 2023 PFL Challenger Series Welterweight competitors

The first set of Welterweight Challenger Series contestants for 2023 was revealed today by the Professional Fighters League (PFL). The eight-night competition will only be broadcast live on Fubo Sports Network, the leading sports-first live TV streaming platform owned by FuboTV Inc. (NYSE: FUBO).

Beginning on January 27 in primetime and continuing through March 17, the Challenger Series will be broadcast live on Friday evenings. Fighters will be vying for a PFL contract, the chance to compete for a world championship, and a $1 million prize pool.

The headline event of the 2023 PFL Challenger Series Welterweight programme will feature Brazilian Jiu Jitsu champion Lucas "Hulk" Barbosa, who has a victory over Gilbert Burns in a grappling match. Barbosa plans to switch to mixed martial arts. Itso Babulaidze, who made his PFL debut via knockout and trains out of Renzo Gracie Philadelphia, is standing across from him in the PFL SmartCage.

“The 2023 PFL Challenger Series provides world class talent a path to the PFL,” said PFL President of Fighter Operations Ray Sefo. “The Challenger Series continues the PFL’s commitment to finding the best talent in MMA around the world.”

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“Each of the PFL Challenger Series fighters has a unique story our audience cares about,” said Pamela Duckworth, head of Fubo Networks and originals, FuboTV. “Each week, they bring unmatched energy and passion to keep fans tuning in for more. We can’t wait to see what the Welterweights bring to the cage and kick off another PFL Challenger Series on Fubo Sports Network.

Eric Alequin, the unbeaten CFFC Welterweight Champion, will compete against Thad "Silverback" Jean. With a triumph over former PFL Challenger Series contract winner and 2022 PFL Challenger Series alumni Dilano Taylor, Jean, who is also unbeaten, has participated in CFFC and LFA.

Quemuel "Manumito" Ottoni, the only fighter to defeat current UFC Middleweight Champion Alex Pereira, defends his title at Jungle Fights Welterweight while attempting to extend his winning streak to five matches against Jozef Wittner. Wittner comes into the SmartCage with a record of 11 knockouts and a four-fight winning streak.

Mostafa Rashed Neda, a judo expert with a three-fight winning run, will compete against Nicholas Alley, a fighter with an 86% stoppage record who has won 5 of his 7 career fights via submission.

Each week, fighters from all over the world will compete for a contract with the PFL for the 2023 PFL Regular Season or sign up for the league's developing programme in the hopes of playing in a future PFL Regular Season.

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A panel of judges made up of famous guests and combat sports champions will choose the PFL contract winners.