In a rare decision on the PFL 4 2019 card on Thursday night in Atlantic City, Joao Zeferino came out on top on the scorecards against Bojan Velickovic.
Former UFC welterweight Bojan Velickovic was back in action under the PFL banner on Thursday. PFL 2019 Week 4 edition had Velickovic taking on Joao Zeferino, a Brazilian who also had a couple of UFC fights to his name. Zeferino was stepping into the PFL cage for the first time in 2019. He replaces Gamzat Khiramagomedov. Zeferino won both of his PFL bouts in 2018, but was forced out of the playoffs last fall due to injury.
Velickovic fell to Handesson Ferreira back in May at the first event of the season. Velickovic was the seventh seed in last year’s playoffs, but lost to eventual champion Magomed Magomedkerimov in the second round. In the UFC, Velickovic was 2-3-1 with losses to Jake Matthews and Darren Till prompting an exit from the promotion.
The second fight in on Thursday’s main card saw Zeferino connect with a counter left that landed flush in the opening exchange. Velickovic would later fire off a few leg kicks, while Zeferino went to the body with a kick of his own. Another combo from Zeferino followed, and he landed a couple of decent shots before Velickovic returned fire. Zeferino then changed levels along the cage, looking for a takedown. Soon enough, he’d drag Velickovic to the ground. While Velickovic would escape back up in time, he was again getting pieced up by Zeferino, proving nowhere was safe. Velickovic for his part fired a high kick, and at least had more of a fighting chance in the stand-up. A nasty leg kick put Zeferino off-balance to end the round, which might have been Velickovic’s best moment.
Round two saw Velickovic back up his opponent early with his jab and kicks. Zeferino could stand for a bit, but eventually opt to drag Velickovic from the back. Transitioning to side control, Zeferino was all sorts of smothering. Velickovic was having no luck escaping, the but ref opted to stand them up when Zeferino failed to improve position.
For just the second time to that point in the night, a fight went to the third round at PFL 4 2019. There, Velickovic and Zeferino traded early, with Velickovic backing his opponent up. Zeferino battled back, clipping Velickovic then shooting for a takedown. He’d complete it, but was in cramped quarters by the fence, allowing Velickovic to muscle his way to his feet. Another takedown attempt by a tired Zeferino then backfired, giving Velickovic control of the back. A choke wasn’t forthcoming, and Zeferino was able to reverse, taking Velickovic’s back and locking on a body triangle. He’d try to slip an arm under Velickovic’s chin, but ultimately was too tired, and the fight went to the judges for the first time that night.
Joao Zeferino def. Bojan Velickovic by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)