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Lightweight Slate Set for 2023 PFL Challenger Series Event on Feb. 17



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The fourth episode of Professional Fighters League’s Challenger Series in 2023 will carry with it several extremely promising 155ers.

Via press release on Thursday, the PFL has announced its fourth week of matches for the upcoming Challenger Series season. This episode on Feb. 17 will feature lightweights, including two highly touted undefeated up-and-comers as well as those that have appeared on Dana White's Contender Series and One Championship thus far. The fight card, like all others in this year’s Challenger Series, will take place at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., and it will air on Fubo Sports.

The main attraction in this four-fight show comes between unbeaten finisher Elvin Espinoza (7-0), who has already fought twice for PFL, and 2022 Challenger Series alum Damir Ferhatbegovic (6-2-1). Espinoza celebrates an evenly distributed method of finish, with half of his stoppages coming by rear-naked choke and the other due to strikes. His foe Ferhatbegovic, fighting out of Tennessee by way of Bosnia, vied for a contract last season, and he did what he could by starching B.J. Bland in the first round but did not get signed.

The remaining three bouts, which all take place at 155 pounds, are as follows: recent PFL International Qualifier Series victor Paulo Henrique Laia (14-5) vs. the unbeaten finisher Manoel Sousa (9-0), One Championship vet Antonio Caruso (8-1) vs. Fury FC and Legacy Fighting Alliance upstart Anthony Romero (11-1) and American Top Team’s Charles Decca (4-2-1) vs. Nick Diaz Academy rep Jose Aguayo (5-2).

The winner of the show, which operates with a celebrity judging panel to determine which victor is picked up, may earn a place in the 2023 season. The division, which started with back-to-back triumphant seasons in 2018 and 2019 for Natan Schulte, has since seen some movement with multiple high-profile free agent pickups and an influx in young talent. In 2021, Raush Manfio came out of nowhere to claim the million-dollar prize, while 2022 featured the dominant presence of former UFC fighter Olivier Aubin-Mercier running the table to win the go
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