Brendan Loughnane vs. Marlon Moraes, Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Shane Burgos among fights announced for PFL in 2023


The PFL officially returns April 1 for a new season with the main and co-main events for the first three cards announced Thursday via a press release.

The three events will all take place at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

2022 featherweight champion Brendan Loughnane headlines the first card on April 1 as he faces former UFC title challenger Marlon Moraes. The co-main event pits 2022 light heavyweight champion Rob Wilkinson against ex-UFC fighter Thiago Santos, who also signed with the PFL after reaching free agency this past year.

Loughnane looks to build off a successful campaign in his second year with the PFL, which was capped off with a dominant win over Bubba Jenkins to claim the featherweight title and the $1 million grand prize. Meanwhile, Moraes suffered a knockout loss to Sheymon Moraes in his PFL debut this past November, which extended his losing streak to five in a row overall including four fights in the UFC.

The first card of the year for the PFL airs on ESPN.

The second card, which airs on ESPN2, takes place April 7 and is headlined by 2022 PFL heavyweight champion Ante Delija as he takes on UFC and Eagle FC veteran Yorgan De Castro in the main event.

The co-headliner features 2022 women’s lightweight champion Larissa Pacheco taking on Julia Budd in the new 145-pound division that will be featured for the first time in the PFL. Pacheco is coming off a stunning upset win over Kayla Harrison this past November as she handed the two-time Olympic gold medalist her first loss in MMA.

The third and final card announced on Thursday takes place on April 14 and airs on ESPN2 with 2022 PFL men’s lightweight champion Olivier Aubin-Mercier welcoming UFC veteran Shane Burgos to the promotion for his debut fight.

Burgos signed with the PFL as a free agent after completing his contract with the UFC this past year. He was originally scheduled to debut last November but an injury prevented Burgos from competing.

Following Thursday’s press release, First Round Management’s Malki Kawa — who represents Burgos and Loughnane — took to Twitter to dispute the fight announcements, writing, “The PFL went and announced a bunch of fights that have [not] been agreed to. So hold up before you get excited about anything.”

The April 14 co-main event sees 2022 PFL welterweight champion Sadibou Sy take on Jarrah Al-Silawi, who returns after a 2-1 campaign with the promotion this past year.

The full card for all three events will be announced at a later date.

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