Carlos Leal got the opportunity to participate in the 2022 PFL regular season after a first-round finish of Korey Kuppe and a split-decision win over Chris Brown during the 2022 Challenger Series. After scoring a late-notice upset of former champion Ray Cooper III, Leal made the postseason, where he fell to eventual champion Sadibou Sy, which snapped an 11-fight win streak for Leal. Leal — a former LFA welterweight champion and Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion — scored a first-round TKO of David Zawada in April to get a big start to his 2023 season.
After his appearance in the 2022 PFL Challenger Series, Dilano Taylor’s regular season saw him earn a decision over Joao Zeferino but get stopped by Magomed Magomedkerimov. But on short notice, Taylor earned the biggest moment of his career — and arguably the Upset of the Year in MMA — when he finished Rory MacDonald in the first round of their semifinal bout. Taylor then fought for PFL gold but came up short against Sy. A former Titan FC welterweight champion, Taylor was stopped by Magomed Umalatov in the first round of their regular-season bout in April.
Leal will earn a playoff spot with any kind of win, while Taylor is unable to make the playoffs due to missing weight.
The two trading strikes very early on in this fight. Taylor lands a couple of left hands. Leal lands a combination, but Taylor lands a sharp counter right. Taylor gets another right hand. The two trading leg kicks. Taylor with a combination. Leal coming inside and Taylor using his reach to his advantage.
Leal initiates a battle in the clinch, with one man landing a knee to the body. Leg kick and a short combination from Taylor. One-two from Leal doesn’t land. Taylor misses the right straight. Leal tries for a choke but Taylor scrambles. Taylor tries to come forward, but Leal fires off a flurry that drops Taylor’s mouthpiece out. The two get into a firefight, as Leal is now the aggressor and coming inside on Taylor.
Taylor worked the left hand and a low kick. Taylor comes in with a small combination. Leal with a low kick, and Taylor responds with a powerful right punch. Leal comes in close on Taylor, and he lands a right that rocks Taylor and sends him into retreat. Leal firing off a couple of more shots. A left hook knocks Taylor out on his feet! A few more shots, capped by a right hook, and Taylor drops to the floor as the referee stops the fight!
THE LION!! Carlos Leal puts Taylor on Ice Skates and gets the finish!— PFL (@PFLMMA) June 24, 2023
Carlos Leal is going back to the #PFLPlayoffs!#PFLRegularSeason LIVE NOW
🌎 https://t.co/jPNvomD5xg pic.twitter.com/8bmUEfQtzD
Carlos Leal (quite literally) punches his ticket to the playoffs!
Carlos Leal defeats Dilano Taylor by 2nd round KO (1:13) earning 5 points and clinching a playoff spot in the PFL Welterweight Division