Europeans Clean House At 2023 PFL 1

The start of the PFLs 2023 season saw three European fighters on the card win their bouts, securing victories across the featherweight and light-heavyweight divisions. 

Only a week after an array of Europe’s hottest prospects went to war at PFL Newcastle, three established European MMA veterans found success in the hostile territory of Las Vegas at 2023 PFL 1. 

The opening card saw Norway’s Marthin Hamlet take on PFL debutant Mohammad Fakhreddine, who looked to extend his two-fight win streak put together in BRAVE Combat Federation. It took the Norwegian little over a minute to find the finish. Hamlet was able to take Fakhreddine down with ease twice, leading to a back take that enabled him to submit his opponent with a neck crank.

Europe’s next representative on the card was Tipperary’s Will Fleury, who currently trains out of SBG Ireland. Originally scheduled to face PFL 2022 finalist Omari Akhmedov, Fleury’s opponent was changed to the equally tough Krystof Jotko who looked to make a statement victory in his PFL debut.

Although the high pace of the fight seemed to take somewhat of a toll on both men, the back-and-forth affair proved to be a great display of grit and persistence over the course of three hard-fought rounds. Fleury’s relentless grappling offence and statistical edge in striking volume saw him earn a split decision victory on the scorecards, edging out the Polish native for the biggest victory of his career. 

The evening’s main event saw PFL 2022 featherweight champion Brendan Loughnane take on former UFC bantamweight title challenger Marlon Moraes. Despite being on a five-fight losing streak and not having seen a win inside the sport since 2019, fans know that Moraes still possesses the sheer skill to go head-to-head with any man in front of him. Loughnane on the other hand has found considerable success as of late, most recently finishing Bubba Jenkins to put an exclamation mark on his incredible run in 2022. 

Loughnane was the biggest betting favourite on the card and proved why in a dominant fashion. Utilising successive debilitating leg-kicks, Loughnane was able to disable the movement of Moraes within a single round – knocking him down multiple times and rendering him barely able to get up off of the floor at the end of the first.

To the credit of Moraes who was clearly compromised, he returned for round two after a brief check by the doctor. Moraes came out with intent, swinging with powerful shots and even landing some before being caught with another inevitable leg kick that dropped him and ended the fight. Loughnane landed 18/18 of his leg strikes in the contest, strikes that led him to extend his winning streak to five in a row.

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