The Professional Fighters League capped off its 2023 season with the PFL Championship on Friday, and it was Gabriel Braga and Jesus Pinedo facing off for featherweight gold in Washington, D.C.
The fight was a rematch as well as a title fight, with Braga coming away with a split decision win in the pair’s first meeting.
The first of six championship bouts on Friday saw some early feeling out, with both Jesus Pinedo and Gabriel Braga firing low kicks and looking to find their distance. Pinedo went from a few long, straight punches to a left high kick that was blocked. Braga would find a home for his right hand, and employed frequent stance switches; his forward pressure had Pinedo backing up, but not for long.
As the round wore on, Pinedo began to connect more frequently, apparently having found his range. At the end of the frame, Pinedo caught a kick, looking to dump Braga; at the horn, the pair squared up, both refusing to back down til the ref sent them to their respective corners.
In the second, there were plenty of exchanges early, and soon enough, Braga was showing some damage to the face. Pinedo stayed outside, but had the edge in volume. Braga continued with the stance switches and was firing with some pop behind his shots, but more often than not Pinedo wasn’t there to be hit.
Early in the second, Jesus Pinedo removed any question as to who would go home with a million dollars. Pinedo landed a left hand that hurt Gabriel Braga, then fired a switch knee. From there, he unleashed a flurry of strikes that led to a stoppage in quick succession, securing the stoppage with Braga still on his feet.
Loss to Braga avenged, Jesus Pinedo captured both the PFL lightweight crown and million dollars in prize money with the win. And while there might be some concern about the stoppage being quick, Pinedo appears to be on his way to a win regardless. He also became the first man to defeat Gabriel Braga on Friday night.
Following the win, Bellator featherweight champ Patircio Pitbull entered the cage for a staredown with Jesus Pinedo. The pair are expected to face off as part of the PFL vs. Bellator champion vs. champion card next year.