Marlon Moraes will be reporting for kick off duty with the Professional Fighters League.
The 34-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC title challenger (23-11-1) will fight Brendan Loughnane (26-4) in April to open the PFL‘s 2023 regular season.
The season encompasses six weight classes: heavyweight, light heavyweight, welterweight, lightweight, featherweight and women’s featherweight.
The first round of season matchups will take place across three events scheduled on April 1, 7 and 14.
All three main and co-main slots feature the PFL’s returning 2022 champion.
The featherweight bout between Loughnane and Moraes will headline the first event. In the co-main event, Rob Wilkinson (17-2) will meet another former UFC title challenger in Thiago Santos (22-11).
On April 7, heavyweight Ante Delija (23-5) will meet Yorgan De Castro (9-3). Larissa Pacheco (19-4), who upset two-time women’s lightweight champion Kayla Harrison in the 2022 finals, will take on former Bellator MMA champion Julia Budd (16-5) in the new women’s featherweight division.
Capping off the first round on April 14, lightweight Olivier Aubin-Mercier (17-5) will take on free agent acquisition Shane Burgos (15-3). Welterweight Sadibou Sy (13-6-2) will face Jarrah Al-Silawi (18-4).
The PFL is the only major MMA promotion to follow a regular-season format, which includes single-elimination playoffs and finals. Additionally, the PFL hosts its Challengers Series for up-and-coming prospects and a recently announced pay-per-view division, which includes professional boxer Jake Paul.