The undefeated Gabriel Braga has certainly impressed in his first season with the PFL. Braga made his PFL debut through the Challenger Series in March, scoring a unanimous decision over Ago Huskic. The Muay Thai specialist then earned the No. 2 seed with a split decision over Jesus Pinedo and a first-round TKO of Marlon Moraes that sent Moraes into retirement.
Chris Wade has been a consistent presence in the PFL postseason but has yet to win a PFL championship. Wade competed in the 2021 PFL featherweight title fight but fell to Movlid Khaybulaev. Wade finished fifth in this season’s featherweight rankings thanks to a decision loss to Bubba Jenkins and a first-round submission win against Ryoji Kudo. Jesus Pinedo’s first-round upset win over Brendan Loughnane looked to snap Wade’s postseason streak, but Wade gets into this year’s playoffs to fill in for an injured Khaybulaev.
Who will earn the first spot in the 2023 PFL featherweight championship?
Wade coming forward right away. Braga lands a right but wade presses and pressures with combinations. Wade pins Braga against the fence briefly. Wade coming forward more, with Braga landing a right but Wade letting his hands go. Braga throws a kick to the body. Wade with a leg kick. A couple of more leg kicks by Braga. Kick fromm Wade. Braga backs Wade up but Wade comes forward with another combo. Big left hand from Braga. Wade with another low kick. High kick by Braga is blocked.
Right hand from Braga lands, followed by a kick to the body and a left. Wade with knee attacks. Right hand by Braga. Wade tried for an axe kick, but Braga blocked it and landed a couple of counter shots. Both throwing leg kicks. Wade pummels and takes Braga down! Wade gets to Braga’s back, but Braga stands up and gets out of Wade’s grasp. Both land a front kick before another leg kick by Braga. The two continue to trade until the bell.
An eye poke in the first seven seconds halts the action briefly before the second round can really get underway. Braga continues with his kicks, landing low and to the body. Combination by Wade. Braga lands a counterpunch, but Wade comes in and takes Braga down! Wade jumps on Braga and locks him in a guillotine! But Braga gets out of it! Wade still has Braga on the ground, with Braga sitting up with his back against the PFL SmartCage.
Braga gets back to his feet with about three minutes left in the round. He gets the underhooks and briefly has Wade on the fence before a break. Some single shots from Braga as he comes forward. One-two straights from Braga. Low kick from Braga. Wade with a left straight and works the right jab. The two exchange. One-two from Wade. A low kick from Wade. Braga tries to clinch up but Wade avoids it. Wade now tries but Braga avoids his level change. Braga pressing forward with leg kicks before a right hand. Wade lands a left. Both men go for a knee before the bell but can’t get it.
Wade trying to press early to take back control of the fight. Wade lands a solid right. Wade lands a solid uppercut. Wade continues to land some crisp shots. Wade checking the low kicks from Braga. The two exchange and Wade connects again. Kick to the body by Braga and Wade responds in kind. Wade misses a pair of jabs. Braga with a kick to the body. Solid right straight from Braga. Wade with a couple of oblique kicks.
The two continue to exchange in the center of the PFL SmartCage. Nasty combination from Braga. Wade barely connects with a high left kick. Quick right hand from Braga. Left kick from Braga. Wade rushes forward and presses Braga against the fence, looking for a takedown. Braga resists as Wade lands a few knees on Braga’s leg. Foot stomps by Wade to follow. They stay in a position against the fence to the bell.
Gabriel Braga def. Chris Wade via split decision (27-30, 30-27, 29-28)