Big things are happening in PFL with Bruno Cappelozza and Renan Ferreira

MMA

ATLANTA — Proper now, there’s an unmistakable buzz happening behind the scenes on the PFL.

It is a buzz that has nothing to do with the promotion’s most established, recognizable expertise. It is unbiased of something to do with Kayla Harrison, Anthony Pettis, Rory MacDonald or fan favourite Clay Collard. And it might mainly be summarized by one query.

Man, what’s gonna occur when Bruno Cappelozza fights Renan Ferreira?

The heavyweight division takes heart stage on Friday, because the common season continues at PFL 5 inside Time beyond regulation Elite Area (8 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+, with prelims at 6 on ESPN+). And to be honest, this division is greater than merely two males. Particularly, Croatia’s Ante Delija deserves quite a lot of respect on his title, as he took Cappelozza to the brink of defeat within the 2021 finals and is off to a different sturdy begin in 2022.

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However a possible matchup between 2021 champion Cappelozza (15-5), who faces Matheus Scheffel on Friday, and Ferreira (9-2), who meets Klidson Abreu, is one which simply feeds the creativeness. Even amongst the storylines surrounding greater names equivalent to Harrison, Pettis and MacDonald, this potential heavyweight matchup within the playoffs — which comply with these second regular-season bouts — could be probably the most intriguing factor in PFL all 12 months.

“Bruno and Renan nonetheless have some work to do to safe their spots within the playoffs, however I can not wait to see these guys sq. off in what will likely be the most effective heavyweight bouts of the 12 months if every part comes collectively,” stated PFL president Ray Sefo. “Both means, I am certain it is a battle we’ll find yourself seeing ultimately.”

The sight of Bruno Cappelozza throughout the cage has meant bother for PFL heavyweights. Cooper Neill/PFL

In the intervening time, Ferreira leads the way in which within the heavyweight standings with 6 factors. Cappelozza additionally has 6 factors however is barely behind, as his first-round knockout in April wasn’t as fast as Ferreira’s. Though neither has clinched a spot within the playoffs, they’ll earn their means in at PFL 5.

The rationale why this matchup could be so intriguing begins with Cappelozza, 33, who has knocked out 4 of the 5 opponents he is confronted since becoming a member of the PFL in 2021. Initially from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Cappelozza has mimicked the model of one other all-time nice Brazilian heavyweight, former UFC champion Junior dos Santos, whom he skilled with briefly in 2015.

“Bruno is understood for quick arms, however what I keep in mind most about our sparring is his leg kick,” dos Santos informed ESPN. “He brings quite a lot of stress and his arms are very quick, however when he hit me with that leg kick I stated to myself, ‘Oh, I do not wish to get hit by that once more.’ I knew he would ultimately accomplish nice issues on this sport.”

Cappelozza is a plus athlete, and any comparisons to dos Santos often begin with the hand velocity. He bought into karate at age 7, and his mother and father supported his development to MMA.

His story is significantly completely different from that of Ferreira, who grew up in poverty within the agricultural Brazilian city of Porangatu. Ferreira stands 6-foot-8 and weighs 260 kilos. He possesses freak athleticism, as seen when he celebrated his most up-to-date win in April by performing a one-legged entrance flip contained in the cage.

Ferreira did not even begin coaching in martial arts till 2013, when a social venture in his city allowed him to become involved in Brazilian jiu-jitsu for free of charge.

“I performed basketball and ran observe once I was younger, but it surely was solely the social venture in my hometown that bought me into jiu-jitsu,” Ferreira stated. “The selection to pursue MMA was principally about alternative. Sports activities typically in Brazil, there is not quite a lot of assist — so, while you see an space the place there’s assist, you wish to benefit from it.

“MMA was a faster path to change into one thing, reasonably than attempt to get on a basketball membership in Brazil. That may have taken my very own funds to chase, as a substitute of somebody supporting me.”

Ferreira has mainly been a phenom since he started. He began preventing repeatedly solely in 2016, however has rapidly earned a knockout artist status. His final two fights have led to 31 and 25 seconds. 5 of his 9 skilled wins have come by first-round knockout.

“I really feel like there’s undoubtedly a shock issue when preventing me, and it comes from two sides,” Ferreira stated. “One is my measurement and physicality, but it surely’s additionally the outcomes I have been accruing.”

In MMA, sure athletes simply stand out to the bare eye, and because the second spherical of fights within the PFL common season will get underway, Cappelozza and Ferreira could be one of the best examples of that throughout the complete promotion. Each say they do not look too far forward, whereas every additionally acknowledges he has sized up the opposite. They are not blind to the very fact this battle feels inevitable.

What’s going to occur when these two battle? It is too early to ask … however that is not stopping anybody in Atlanta from doing so.

“The factor with Bruno is he’s so quick for a heavyweight,” Sefo stated. “His punches are heavy and correct, and if you cannot again him up, he’ll knock you out. Renan is a bodily specimen and, together with his peak and size, can ship energy photographs whereas his opponents are effectively out of vary. Each are able to doing injury towards any heavyweight on this planet, and I imagine they’ll proceed to enhance and present they’re amongst one of the best heavyweights competing within the sport immediately.”

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