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Heavyweights and featherweights sit atop the marquee as the

Professional Fighters League
on Thursday returns to Esports
Stadium in Arlington, Texas, for its second regular-season event of
2022. The lineup includes defending heavyweight champion Bruno
Henrique Cappelozza
at the top of the bill, as he attempts to
repeat his remarkable 2021 run in a matchup with Stuart
Austin
. Meanwhile, two-time PFL champ Lance
Palmer
will look to regain some of his mojo following a winless
2021 campaign when he locks horns with featherweight finalist
Chris
Wade
in an intriguing co-feature.
PFL 2
includes other notables such as Renan
Ferreira
, Bubba
Jenkins
and Brendan
Loughnane
. The main card airs on ESPN2 and streams to ESPN+ at
9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, while the prelims stream to ESPN+ at 6 p.m.
ET/3 p.m. PT.

Now to the PFL 2 “Cappelozza vs. Austin” preview:

Heavyweights

Bruno
Henrique Cappelozza
(14-5, 4-0 PFL) vs. Stuart
Austin
(15-7, 0-1 PFL)

BETUS
ODDS
:
Cappelozza (-650), Austin (+425)

Cappelozza is another example of the career-resurrecting power of
the PFL. The former Jungle Fight champion entered the 2021 season
having not competed since a July 2018 loss to Jiri
Prochazka
under the Rizin Fighting Federation banner, and the
Brazilian proceeded to roll through Ante Delija,
Muhammed
DeReese
and Jamelle
Jones
before surviving a back-and-forth battle in a rematch
with the former to claim the PFL crown. Perhaps the most impressive
aspect of Cappelozza’s championship run was his five-round win over
Delija, as it showed that the Corinthians MMA product is able to
survive adversity and continue into deep waters when the accustomed
quick knockout does not arrive. For the most part, however,
Cappelozza is a fearsome finisher who has earned 13 of his 14
professional triumphs by knockout or technical knockout. He will
use heavy leg kicks to immobilize his foes at range before picking
his spot to unload heavy power punches. Once he senses a finish is
imminent, Cappelozza will flurry with rapid-fire shots in a display
that is not totally unlike Vitor
Belfort
in his heyday. Cappelozza’s menacing power is backed by
a solid sprawl and an ability to do damage with ground-and-pound
when he secures top position.

Austin, a onetime Elite MMA Championship and British Association of
Mixed Martial Arts titleholder, had a PFL debut to forget, as he
was starched by the aforementioned Ferreira in just 31 seconds.
That continued a troubling trend in which the London native has
been finished in short order by the majority of his high-level
opposition. All told, six of his seven career defeats have come via
knockout or technical knockout, which is not only the nature of the
heavyweight division but also evidence of Austin being relatively
hittable. Austin’s greatest claim to fame is a heel hook submission
of UFC heavyweight prospect Tom
Aspinall
under the BAMMA banner in 2015—still the only
legitimate defeat on Aspinall’s resume. Like any most any decent
heavyweight, Austin has flashed knockout power on the regional
circuit, but he also possesses a judo background and likes to
execute throws and trips from the clinch. With that said, Austin’s
title-winning victory over Satoshi
Ishii
at EMC 5 was controversial in large part because the Team
Titan representative was controlled and outgrappled by the Japanese
judoka for significant portions of the fight.

There is always the possibility that Austin is the next Cappelozza,
set to put together life-changing run through the PFL for $1
million. However, a more likely outcome here is that “He-Man” will
be outgunned on the feet and will not be able to wade through heavy
fire to put his judo to use. Cappelozza by KO/TKO is the pick.

Continue Reading »
Wade vs. Palmer

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