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Defending PFL champion Antonio Carlos Junior injured, out of 2022 playoffs

Antonio Carlos Junior
Cooper Neill, PFL

PFL light heavyweight champion Antonio Carlos Junior is no longer in the running for $1 million in 2022.

The company announced Friday that “Cara de Sapato” is out of the semifinal bout with Omari Akhmedov, which was scheduled for PFL 7 on Aug. 5 at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. Carlos Junior will be replaced by Josh Silveira. All three fighters are members of American Top Team in Florida.

MMA Fighting has learned that Carlos Junior has suffered an ACL injury that will require surgery, keeping him sidelined for the rest of the year.

Silveira, son of ATT head coach Conan Silveira, is 9-0 as a professional and a former two-division champion under the LFA banner. The 29-year-old prospect has won two in a row since joining the PFL, stopping Mohamed Juma and Marthin Hamlet.

Akhmedov (23-7-1) is a longtime veteran of the UFC who was victorious in his past two fights, finishing Viktor Pesta and Teodoras Aukstuolis. The Dagestani fighter also holds victories over the likes of Ian Heinisch and Tim Boetsch and fought to a draw with Marvin Vettori in the UFC.

The other light heavyweight semifinal bout features Rob Wilkinson vs. Delan Monte.

PFL 7 will also crown the lightweight finalists, with former UFC and WEC champion Anthony Pettis competing with Stevie Ray for one of the spots to battle the winner of Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Alexander Martinez.

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