PFL 5 Recap: Heavyweight and Women’s Featherweight Playoffs Set

2023 PFL 5: Atlanta at the OTE Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, Friday, June 16, 2023. (Cooper Neill / PFL)

Over the weekend, we saw PFL’s 5th event of the 2023 season. There were a lot of eyeballs on the event and the event featured the heavyweights and women’s featherweight division. In the main event, 2022 champion Ante Delija (24-5) was making his return against Maurice Greene (11-8).

Due to an injury, Delija wasn’t able to compete in the first event of the 2023 season. Because of that, the 2022 PFL heavyweight champion was going to need a miracle to make the playoffs. Maurice Greene scored five points in his first fight of the season so defeating the 2022 champion by any measure would earn him a spot in this year’s playoffs.

Both men went after it and Delija came close to finishing the fight. However, he wasn’t able to finish the “Crochet Boss” in their fight. As a result, Delija earned himself a decision win, but the win only earned him three points which was not good enough to make the 2023 playoffs. Denis Goltsov (31-7) knocked out Yorgan De Castro (9-5) in 18 seconds earning him his second 6-point finish and the top spot in the playoffs.

Here is the heavyweight playoff contenders:

  • Denis Goltsov – 12 points
  • Renan Ferreira – 9 points
  • Marcelo Nunes – 6 points
  • Jordan Heiderman – 6 points

PFL’s Women’s Featherweight Playoffs

In the co-main event of the evening, 2022 lightweight champion Larissa Pacheco (21-4) was taking on fellow finisher Amber Leibrock (7-5). While Pacheco was still a huge favorite, many had their eyes on Leibrock who had four straight first round finishes entering PFL 5 2023.

This fight would also end in the first round. However, it was the 2022 lightweight champion who got the job done. She just completely overwhelmed Leibrock in the first round and the fight was stopped in less than one minute. Pacheco’s dominant performance secured her six points and a spot in the playoffs.

Aspen Ladd (11-4) was a big signing for the promotion last year coming off her run in the UFC. Ladd won her debut against Julia Budd last year, but lost her first fight of the season this year against Olena Kolesnyk. Because of that loss, she needed a big performance.

She did get a finish at PFL 5, but it wasn’t enough. She secured a second round submission which earned her 5 points. That pulled her into a tie with Kolesnyk for the final spot, but because Kolesnyk holds the head-to-head win, she moves on into the playoffs.

The full list of the playoff contenders can be seen here:

  • Larissa Pacheco – 9 points
  • Marina Mokhnatkina – 8 points
  • Amber Leibrock – 6 points
  • Olena Kolesnyk – 5 points