The Professional Fighters League returns for its fourth event of the 2023 season on Thursday evening with the festivities set to go down from the Theater at Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta, Ga.
The show will be headlined by a featherweight regular season bout between defending league champion Brendan Loughnane and upstart Jesus Pinedo. In addition to the featherweight division being featured, the light heavyweight division will also be in action as the push toward the 2023 PFL Playoffs continues.
Fight fans can catch PFL 4 streaming live on ESPN+ for the prelims beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. The main card is set to get underway at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and will also air live on ESPN.
Main Event — Loughnane vs. Pinedo
Loughnane, who finished former UFC bantamweight title challenger Marlon Moraes with leg kicks in the second round of his last fight, probably doesn’t need much to secure a trip back to the PFL Postseason. The Manchester, England native and Dana White’s Contender Series reject is a complete striker who has shown an ability to mix it up at will against most opponents he’s faced in the PFL SmartCage. He has a killer instinct few members of the 145-pound division can measure up to and only looks to be coming into his prime as a mixed martial artist.
𝗛𝗨𝗡𝗧 𝗢𝗥 𝗕𝗘 𝗛𝗨𝗡𝗧𝗘𝗗. The 2022 PFL Featherweight World Champion versus Peru's own trying to take it all@BrendanMMA 🆚 Jesus Pinedo
— PFL (@PFLMMA) June 8, 2023
Pinedo meanwhile is one of a small handful or promising Peruvian fighters working their way up the world rankings, but actually already has a short stint in the UFC under his belt in which he went 1-1. He has looked borderline unstoppable when fighting in his home country, but dropped his PFL debut back in April and will now need to shock the world against the returning PFL champion to give himself a chance to make the postseason. Pinedo has shown a level of comfort everywhere at different points of his 31-fight career, and he himself is still just 26-year-old. However, Loughnane’s power and ability to dictate where the fight takes place validates his status as a heavy favorite.
Co-Main Event — Khaybulaev vs. Diamond
Movlid Khaybulaev, the 2021 PFL featherweight champion, is looking secure a postseason tournament spot in a deep featherweight field and currently stands as a sizable favorite over the tricky Tyler Diamond for good reason. Khaybulaev a well-rounded, but leans on his strong offensive grappling to overwhelm the opposition. His strong wrestling has perhaps caused some of his opponents to underestimate him on the feet, as he’s got big power in his 5-foot-6 frame and capable of putting up some lopsided scorecards because of it.
Diamond, meanwhile, is also well-rounded. The Team Alpha Male product showed an incredible chin and gas tank when he fought Loughnane in 2021, but that fight happened nearly two years to the day in which he’ll be making his return to PFL. It will be telling to see how quickly Diamond is able to shake off the rust, as while he is a more than capable wrestler in his own right, the matchup could allow Khaybulaev to demonstrate the levels of wrestling at MMA’s highest level. The onus will be on Diamond to take the fight to Khaybulaev before he takes the fight to him and overwhelms him with pressure.
Rest of the Card
In addition to the main event and co-main event, three more exciting fights in the 145 and 205-pound divisions. PFL mainstay Marthin Hamlet will take on Sam Kei in the featured fight in the light heavyweight division. The 31-year-old Norwegian wrestler seems like a good bet to book another trip to the PFL Playoffs, as he is coming a first-round face crank submission in his first fight of the regular season against Mohammad Fakhreddine.
Fight day is 𝑭𝑰𝑵𝑨𝑳𝑳𝒀 𝑯𝑬𝑹𝑬. Weeks of preparations has led to Thursday Night.
— PFL (@PFLMMA) June 8, 2023
Another PFL vet, Bubba Jenkins, is also set for action against Jo Sungbin, while Josh Silveira takes on Delan Monte in the main card opener. Jenkins successfully held off Chris Wade in a rematch from 2021 in his first fight of the season, but could use a finish to secure his return to the PFL Playoffs. Speaking of early finishes, Silveira won his opening fight in emphatic fashion, and is thus likely to advance, particularly if he can defeat Monte on Thursday.
Traveled MMA veteran Marlon Moraes will headline the preliminary card against unbeaten Brazilian Gabriel Braga. Moraes has been finished by strikes in each of his last six, and retirement could be looming if he can’t right the ship against Braga. Light heavyweights Ty Flores and Dan Spohn are also scheduled to collide, while Wade looks to get back on track against Ryoji Kudo out of Japan.
Meanwhile, former UFC standouts Impa Kasanganay and Andrew Sanchez are scheduled to compete in separate fights at 205 pounds. Kasanganay is currently lined as a heavy favorite to defeat Tim Caron, while Sanchez will take on Taylor Johnson. Mexican prospect Abigail Montes is also scheduled for a showcase bout with Brandy Hester, while Alexei Pergande, a winner on last year’s PFL Challenger Series episode for debuting fighters, looks to make it 3-0 against Akeem Bashir.
As always, fights are subject to change at a moment’s notice, so be sure to keep it locked in to MMASucka for up-to-the-minute updates.
PFL 4 Results
Jesus Pinedo def. Brendan Loughnane via TKO (punches) at 1:33 of Round 1
Movlid Khaybulaev def. Tyler Diamond via Submission (Arm Triangle) at 4:20 of Round 2
Marthin Hamlet def. Sam Kei via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Bubba Jenkins def. Jo Sungbin via Submission (RNC) at 1:26 of Round 1
Josh Silveira def. Delan Monte via TKO (Injury) at 1:30 of Round 1
Gabriel Braga def. Marlon Moraes via Knockout (Right Straight) at 3:00 of Round 1
Ty Flores def. Dan Spohn via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Chris Wade def. Ryoji Kudo via Submission (Guillotine) at 4:19 of Round 1
Impa Kasanganay def. Tim Caron via Submission (Arm Triangle) at 3:52 of Round 2
Andrew Sanchez def. Taylor Johnson via Split Decision (29-27, 27-29, 29-27)
Abigail Montes def. Brandy Hester via TKO (strikes) at 3:00 of Round 1
Alexei Pergande def. Akeem Bashir via Submission (D’Arce Choke) at 3:40 of Round 1