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Brendan Loughnane, Rob Wilkinson pick up dominant victories in PFL’s 2023 season debut

Brendan Loughnane
Cooper Neill, PFL

2022 PFL champions Brendan Loughnane and Rob Wilkinson were victorious in the first PFL card of the year.

The PFL kicked off its 2023 regular season with featherweights and light heavyweights competing Saturday night in Las Vegas, and in the main event, Loughnane’s leg kicks were too much for former UFC title contender Marlon Moraes.

Moraes entered the bout on a five-fight losing skid, all by knockout, but appeared comfortable on the feet in the opening round. The tide began to turn, however, when Loughnane’s kicks started to damage Moraes’ right leg.

Moraes answered the bell for round two despite a possible injury and rushed forward like a maniac, throwing punches and kicks in search of a Hail Mary knockout, however Loughnane eventually landed another brutal leg kick that dropped Moraes one final time.

In the co-main event, Wilkinson, the light heavyweight champion in the PFL with four straight knockouts in 2023, took on former UFC title contender Thiago Santos and wanted no part of “Marreta’s” striking, using well-timed takedowns over three rounds to stop Santos’ momentum on the feet and control the action to earn a decision victory.

Also in the light heavyweight class, former Bellator fighter Will Fleury edged UFC veteran Krzysztof Jotko via split decision in a close contest. Movlid Khaybulaev and Bubba Jenkins displayed highly effective offensive wrestling to dominate Ryoji Kudo and Chris Wade, respectively, to each earn three points in the featherweight standings.

The preliminary portion of the card featured five other regular season bouts, and light heavyweights Marthin Hamlet and Josh Silveira made short work of their opponents with first-round submissions to score six points each and lead the 205-pound race.

Alejandro Flores, Gabriel Braga, and Ty Flores also won decisions to pocket three points each in their respective weight classes.

Click here for complete 2023 PFL 1 results.

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