After three opponent changes, Yorgan De Castro makes his PFL debut tonight against 2023 PFL Challenger Series alum Danilo Marques. After leaving his native Cape Verde in pursuit of a better life, De Castro wound up becoming a training partner of Heavyweight champion Jon Jones ahead of his first PFL Regular Season. De Castro always brings the fun and this fight should be no different as Marques looks to spoil the party.
Our first Regular Season Heavyweight bout is underway as Marques lands a nice outside leg kick followed by a heavy teep that causes De Castro to stagger backwards before resetting. De Castro seems to be feeling out his range here as most of the offense so far has come from the kicks of Marques.
A minute and fifteen seconds in and De Castro has yet to throw a strike, an intriguing strategy. Finally De Castros explodes forward throwing two overhand bombs but he’s unable to connect with Marques who moves laterally out of the way. De Castro blitzes again but can’t land clean as Marques is doing a good job with his footwork and lateral movement, landing another heavy outside leg kick as he dances around the outside of the SmartCage.
De Castro throws a leg kick of his own, landing right by the knee of Marques about halfway through the round. Again, Marques lands a heavy outside kick on the calf of De Castro who seems to be starting to favor his rear leg a bit. De Castro lands a big right hand to the body of Marques who returns fire with a teep that doesn’t connect.
De Castro lands another jab to the body followed by a heavy outside leg kick of his own as Marques returns fire with a high kick that De Castro is able to block. Marques lands a teep and that leg kick again and Marques is doing a great job feinting level changes to keep De Castro guessing.
With 30 seconds to go, De Castro may be picking up a little bit of steam but that round will likely go to Marques as neither fighter does much with their striking as the round winds down and comes to a close.
We begin the second round and De Castro opens with his own leg kick this time and again Marques returns fire with a leg kick and the teep. De Castro puts his head down and bullrushes Marques, landing some glancing blows but nothing very clean or flush.
De Castro goes back to the body jab as this is quickly becoming a war of attrition, and it seems the winning fighter may just be whoever’s lead leg holds up the longest. De Castro seems to be settling in here as he’s not biting on the feints of Marques as hard and continues to land big outside leg kicks, this time getting a grimace from Marques.
Marques has done a good job moving laterally all fight and not letting De Castro just walk him down as Marques continues to feint level changes. Marques lands another big leg kick followed by a teep and a roundhouse, and De Castro now appears a bit compromised as he moves a bit more slowly and with more labor.
De Castro lands a big lunging left hook, his best strike of the fight so far with about 90 seconds remaining in the round. Marques again circles out and lands a teep to the body of De Castro. With a minute remaining in the round De Castro is going to need to be careful as he’s beginning to drop his left hand a bit as he moves forward.
This has been a low volume affair so far, and the final 30 seconds of the round will be a lot of circling and staring and not a lot of striking and grappling. We head to a third round and it’s anybody’s guess how the judges have this scored so far.
Our final round begins and FPR has the second round for Marques as De Castro comes out a bit more urgent here, plodding forward and throwing some big overhand rights behind his jab. Marques continues to land leg kicks and body kicks that have clearly had an effect on De Castro.
Marques continues his excellent lateral movement as he slowly begins retaking the center of the SmartCage. De Castro lands a heavy leg kick and that has been the majority of his offense so far. With three minutes remaining, this fight is still up for grabs and both men need to show some urgency.
Right on cue, Marques lands another massive low kick that gets a big reaction out of De Castro. Marques looks for the low kick again and this time De Castro times him up, landing a nice left hook on the way in. The corner of Marques is calling for volume here which could very well be the difference in such a close fight. Marques throws a spinning back kick that doesn’t connect as both fighters trade low kicks and De Castro is forced to switch stances.
Once more Marques lands a nice teep kick with 30 seconds remaining and De Castro is going to need to do something here as Marques seems to have landed the better strikes this round. The final bell rings and we’ll see what the judges have to say.
Danilo Marques steps in as an alternate on short notice and spoils the debut of the UFC vet!
Danilo Marques def. Yorgan De Castro by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)