This past Friday night at the 2023 PFL World Championships, six champions were crowned and six one million dollar checks were given out. While this was a night of stars in regards to the promotion, arguably the biggest breakout star and the biggest story of the 2023 season was on the featured prelim of the evening.
That star is featherweight Jesus Pinedo (23-6-1). The Peruvian featherweight was signed by the PFL prior to the 2024 season. Pinedo had a cup of coffee in the UFC back in 2018-2019 where he only got the chance to fight with them twice. He went 1-1 in those two bouts before being let go.
From there, Pinedo went on a roll winning four straight regional fights all by stoppage to earn a contract with the PFL. To start the 2024 season, he took on Gabriel Braga (12-1). In that first fight of the season, Pinedo lost by a very close split decision. Likely the right call, but it was very close.
That loss turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to Pinedo. Because of that loss, Pinedo’s next fight came against promotional star and 2022 featherweight champion Brendan Loughnane. Pinedo was a huge underdog but scored a first round knockout over the former PFL champion.
Following that knockout, he took on the man who many thought was the favorite to win the championship in 2023 in Bubba Jenkins. Once again, Pinedo showed out and dominated the fight. Ultimately, he stopped Jenkins in the second round to earn a rematch with Braga for the 2023 championship.
PFL’s Breakout Star
While some betting lines had Pinedo as the underdog against the undefeated Braga, I thought he’d get it done this time around. The stars were aligning for Pinedo and he just seemed unstoppable ahead of the 2023 PFL World Championships.
Turns out, my hunch was correct. In the third round, Pinedo blasted Braga with a counter left that hurt him bad. He swarmed him against the fence and scored the standing TKO to win one million dollars and the 2023 featherweight champion. From losing his first fight to avenging that loss and winning the championship was the perfect way to cap off the historic season for Pinedo.
Following that, Pinedo got he opportunity to square off against Bellator featherweight champion Patricio Pitbull (35-7). While Pitbull has lost two straight, it’s worth noting that one was at bantamweight and the other was catchweight bout on literally a days’ notice. Pitbull has only one loss at featherweight since 2015 and that’s a loss he’s avenged.
He’s the most decorated fighter in the history of Bellator. Now, the 2023 PFL champion has the opportunity to make more history. Whenever the champions versus champions card occurs, Pinedo has the opportunity to take his star to the next level if he’s able to defeat the Bellator GOAT. The Peruvian is already a breakout star in my opinion and if I was the casual fan, I’d buy stock now.