Our main event of the evening will see undefeated prospect Elvin Espinoza who boasts a 2-0 record in Showcase bouts under the PFL banner taking on “The Bosnian Barncat” Damir Ferhatbegovic. Espinoza is a prolific finisher, finishing six of his seven pro bouts with half by knockout and half by submission. Ferhatbegovic is also no stranger to the SmartCage, winning his bout on last year’s PFL Challenger Series and being selected as a finalist for a contract before losing the tiebreaker vote. Ferhatbegovic has also secured finishes in four of his six pro victories so this fight will certainly entertain, and seeing that Ferhatbegovic missed weight he will really need to impress to earn a contract.
The bout begins with Damir throwing an inside low kick as both fighters feel each other out and Espinoza lands a stiff jab. Espinoza follows it up with a lead hook that lands before deciding to shoot on a double leg, driving Damir back into the fence before hitting a nice outside trip to get the fight to the mount.
Espinoza attempts to pass to mount but gives Damir the opening he needs to explode back to his feet as Espinoza grinds him down along the SmartCage. The fighters break before Espinoza reshoots a double leg behind a lead hook and finishes it with ease.
Espinoza is on top in half guard with half a round to work as he looks to improve position and set up submissions. Espinoza is constantly looking to better position but Damir is defending transitions well as the round winds down. Damir uses a single leg to wrestle up with a minute remaining and he’s coming forward now, surely knowing he’s well behind in the round so far.
Once again Espinoza lands a jab with a lead hook behind it and he certainly seems to be the faster fighter as Damir lands a cheeky spinning backfist to close the round.
As round two begins Espinoza is able to take the center of the SmartCage and land two quick snapping jabs before once again taking Damir down and landing on top in full guard. Damir is in the closed guard, indicating he’s just looking to stay put and keep Espinoza from advancing, but he won’t be able to escape from here.
Damir does a good job of working his way to the cage but Espinoza is blanketing him, taking the back in a scramble as Damir attempts to work back to his feet. Espinoza explodes and snatches Damir’s neck early in the second round! That rear naked choke is in DEEP as Damir attempts to fight the top hand and he’s unsuccessful! Damir taps and we have our sole finish of the night!
THE CROWD GOES WILD! ELVIN ESPINOZA GETS THE FINISH IN THE 2ND ROUND!#PFLonFubo LIVE NOW | @fuboSports— PFL (@PFLMMA) February 18, 2023
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Elvin Espinoza improves to 8-0 by submitting Damir Ferhatbegovic in a dominant statement performance!
Elvin Espinoza def. Damir Ferhatbegovic via 2nd Round Submission (Rear Naked Choke, 1:53)