Professional Fighters League (PFL) is gearing up for its 2023 season. To that end, the promotion issued a press released detailing the main and co-main event of their first three events, as well as naming The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada as the location for each card.
The first three PFL regular season events will take place in Las Vegas at The Theater at Virgin Hotels, per a PFL press release.— Alex Behunin (@AlexBehunin) February 2, 2023
The first three main and co-main fights are the following: pic.twitter.com/95gvbco0Hc
The opening PFL schedule is as follows:
PFL 1 on April 1
Featherweight: Brendan Loughnane vs. Marlon Moraes
Light Heavyweight: Thiago Santos vs. Robert Wilkinson
PFL 2 on April 8
Heavyweight: Ante Delija vs. Yorgan de Castro
Women’s Featherweight: Larissa Pacheco vs. Julia Budd
PFL 3 on April 15
Lightweight: Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Shane Burgos
Welterweight: Sadibou Sy vs. Jarrah Al-Silawi
Clearly, PFL plans to hit the ground running, as the opening line up of fights features several 2022 season champions, as well as some of their more high-profile recent UFC signees in Santos and Burgos. The only problem? Some or all of these fights remain unsigned. Venerable journalist Marcel Dorff reports that multiple fighters told him these announcements are completely surprises, and meaning agreements have yet to be reached and contracts yet to be signed.
First Round Management CEO Malki Kawa confirmed as much in a Tweet too. “The pfl went and announced a bunch of fights that have no [sic] been agreed to,” he wrote. “So hold up before you get excited about anything.”
Clearly, the promotion is taking a page from the UFC playbook.
There’s also been some fan backlash to the Moraes vs. Loughnane announcement. Moraes may be the former WSOF kingpin and UFC title challenger, but the Brazilian is on a bad run. His last win came in December 2019, and it was a controversial decision to boot! Since then, he’s lost five straight fights all via knockout, and that includes his PFL debut against Sheymon Moraes.
Meanwhile, Loughnane is on the best run of his career. He’s a knockout artist who has won eight of his nine PFL bouts, including his last four to claim 2022 champion status. It certainly seems like a terrible opening fight for Moraes, who desperately needs a win to inject some confidence into his system and get back on the right track.
We’ll have to wait and see if that match up sticks around.