The sixth week of the 2023 Professional Fighters League Challenger Series continued live from Universal Studios, in Orlando, Florida, and featured a four-fight card with eight fighters from the Featherweight division. At the conclusion of the evening, the all-star judging panel consisting of Tyron Woodley, Megan Anderson and Tim Kennedy helped award the sixth contract of the 2023 Challenger Series to Brahyan Zurcher.
Zurcher joins Women’s Flyweight Desiree Yanez, Heavyweight Abraham Bably, Women’s Featherweight Amanda Leve and Welterweight Thad Jean, as PFL Challenger Series contract winners this year. The event was streamed exclusively on Fubo Sports, the live, free-to-consumer TV network from FuboTV Inc. (NYSE: FUBO), the leading sports-first live TV streaming platform.
Zurcher and David Evans headlined tonight’s Featherweight card. Zurcher kept his undefeated streak intact with a rear-naked choke submission win over David Evans. The finish came at the 1:37 mark of the second round. The victory improved Zurcher’s career record to 5-0, including three wins inside the PFL SmartCage.
The co-main event of the night featured Ireland’s Nathan Kelly, who collided with Zack Hicks, a High School teacher in Nashville, Tennessee. Kelly, who fights out of the famed SBG Ireland gym in Dublin, needed just 2:30 to finish off Hicks by arm-triangle choke submission. The win is the seventh straight for Kelly.
“Tonight the Featherweight division put it all on the line at 2023 PFL Challenger Series, in the hopes of earning a life changing PFL contract,” said Ray Sefo, President of Fighter Operations of PFL. “Congratulations to Brahyan Zurcher on an outstanding performance, welcome to the PFL.”
Further action saw Ago Huskic, who took Brendan Loughnane the distance in the 2022 PFL Regular Season, face off with Brazilian Gabriel Braga, making his U.S. debut. Braga put on a dominant showing, as he cruised to a unanimous decision victory, 30-25, 30-27, 29-28. Braga remains undefeated in his career at 9-0.
Kicking off the Featherweight card, Vikas Singh Ruhil, the PFL’s first-ever fighter from India, matched up with American James Gonzalez. Ruhil entered the bout having won seven of his last 10 fights, while Gonzalez had never been finished in 14 career fights. Gonzalez dropped Ruhil late in the first round and overwhelmed him with strikes from the mount position to secure a TKO finish at the 4:20 mark of Round 1.
The PFL Challenger Series returns to Universal Studios next Friday night, March 10, with the Light Heavyweight division. All PFL Challenger Series events stream live on primetime, exclusively on Fubo Sports leading up to the 2023 PFL Regular Season.
PFL is the #1 fastest growing company in MMA and the #2 MMA company on a worldwide basis. PFL is the only league in MMA with the sports-season format, where individual fighters compete in sports-season “win and advance” meritocracy like all other major sports. The PFL fighter roster is global and world-class, with fighters from over 20 countries and 25% independently ranked in the top 25. PFL leads in technology and innovation, with its proprietary PFL SmartCage powering real-time betting and next-gen viewing experience. PFL is aired primetime live in the U.S. on ESPN and ESPN+ and in 140 countries via 25 leading broadcast and streaming partners.