Closing out the opening portion of the PFL World Championships card will be the first of our six $1 million championship fights of the evening.
Coming into this bout unbeaten at 12-0, Gabriel Braga’s journey to tonight’s title fight began on the PFL Challenger Series this year, earning a unanimous decision win over Ago Huskic. Originally trained in Muay Thai and the son of Diego Brava Alves, Braga scored a split decision win over Jesus Pinedo and sent Marlon Moraes into retirement with a first-round stoppage to earn the No. 2 seed in the featherweight postseason. Braga edged out PFL veteran Chris Wade in a split decision in the semifinals to earn a spot in tonight’s title fight.
Pinedo, meanwhile, comes into tonight looking to complete arguably the biggest underdog story in the MMA world this year. After dropping the previously mentioned decision to Braga, Pinedo shocked the world by knocking out last year’s PFL Featherweight World Champion, Brendan Loughnane, in the final featherweight fight of the regular season to jump him and Wade for the No. 4 seed. Pinedo then caused more jaws to drop in the semifinals when he knocked off the top-seeded Bubba Jenkins to move into tonight’s fight.
Who will be the featherweight world champion and become $1 million richer?
Braga with a couple of leg kicks to start things out. Braga focusing on this leg kick attack. Pinedo responds in kind. Kick to the body by Braga. Braga trying to work the left hand. Braga blocks a kick from Pinedo. Kick up top by Braga. Pinedo tries to come in on Braga with a small flurry. Front kick by Braga is blocked. Right hand by Braga. Front kick by Braga. Low kick from Pinedo after a small combination. Right hand by Braga. Pinedo with a right hand that is blocked. Braga with a couple of jabs. Right hand again by Pinedo.
Body kick by Pinedo. Small combination by Pinedo coming forward. Low kicks from Braga. Right hand by Pinedo. High kick by Pinedo. Pinedo tries to target the body, but Braga with good defense. Low kick by Braga. Pinedo backs Braga up with a combination. Braga lands upstairs, but Pinedo targets the body in retaliation. One-two by Pinedo. Pinedo catches a kick from Braga and lands several left hands before the bell.
Braga controls the center as the two feel each other out early in the second. Pinedo throws a high kick, but Braga blocks it. A high kick and a low kick from Braga, followed by a one-two. Pinedo with a combination. Front kick by Pinedo. Low kick by Pinedo. Another low kick from Braga. Body kick by Braga, and the two trade combinations. Low kick by Braga. He and Pinedo exchange kicks. Braga with a right hand to the body. Pinedo works Braga inside with some dirty boxing.
Low kicks by Braga. Right front kick by Braga. Pinedo with another combination to the body. Pinedo with a kick to the body and another combination. Front kick by Braga. High kick by Braga. Combination by Pinedo. Right hand by Pinedo. Front kick by Braga. Low kick by Braga. Kick to the body by Braga. The two trade combinations. Pinedo’s knee is blocked. Pinedo flurrying. Low kick by Braga as Pinedo appears to be in control. Pinedo with a left, and Braga answers with another low kick. Another knee by Pinedo is blocked. Both landing kicks to the body. Small combination by Pinedo. Incredible striking between these two as they go back-and-forth!
Front kick by Braga starts the round, but it misses. Braga coming forward as Pined circling. Low kick by Pinedo. Low kick by Braga, but Pinedo counters with a right. Pinedo cracks Braga with a right hand! He lands with a switch knee and gets to work with Braga against the cage! The referee stops it!
Jesus Pinedo becomes the first Peruvian World Champion in a major MMA organization.
Jesus Pinedo def. Gabriel Braga via third-round TKO (knee and punches, 0:58)