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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Danny Segura

PFL’s Jesus Pinedo confident he can neutralize Bubba Jenkins’ wrestling: ‘It’s not going to be complicated’

Jesus Pinedo has been arguably the biggest surprise in this 2023 PFL season, and he has another chance to continue to further his underdog story.

The Peruvian fighter headlines 2023 PFL Playoffs 1 against No. 1 seed Bubba Jenkins Friday at Boeing Center at Tech Port in San Antonio. It’s a semifinal bout of the 2023 PFL featherweight season.

Once again, Pinedo (21-6-1) enters as an underdog against a fighter favored to win the entire season. In his previous bout against 2022 PFL champion Brendan Loughnane, Pinedo needed a first-round finish to qualify, and Loughnane just a win by any means.

Yet despite the odds, Pinedo got a first-round KO and punched himself a ticket to the playoffs, eliminating Lougnane. He plans on doing the same this Friday, as he fights for a spot in the final.

“This fight, I like this fight more,” Pinedo said in Spanish when asked to compare this bout with Jenkins with the previous one against Loughnane. “I think my style will be better shown. I think it sets me up to truly show my style in this fight. I know it’s going to be tough, but I know I can walk out the winner.”

Although both are well-rounded, Loughnane presented more of a striking threat, and Jenkins (21-6) wrestling. Pinedo believes Jenkins is a better matchup and is by no means intimidated by his high-level wrestling.

“They’re two completely different fighters, and the strategy changes a ton,” Pinedo said. “However, the base of my academy is wrestling, and I’ve been doing wrestling and training with wrestlers since the day I started.

“It’s not going to be complicated for me at all to fight Bubba Jenkins. It’s not that I’m underestimating him. I know it’s going to be a tough fight, but I’m totally confident in the work that I’ve been doing for many years. My academy has produced wrestlers like Claudio (Puelles), (Enrique) ‘El Fuerte’ Barzola. In all the sparring, there’s wrestling, wrestling and more wrestling. I’m used to that style.”

There’s no denying that Pinedo is going through one of the best moments in his career. He’s coming off a big upset KO win over Loughnane, and this Friday will mark his second consecutive headlining slot in PFL.

“It feels good,” Pinedo said regarding the newly added attention. “It feels good that your work is paying off. Here in Peru, this whole thing with the PFL tournament is hitting hard. We’re now in the semifinals and people are starting to recognize me in the street. Everything has changed since the Brendan fight, and even since the tournament started, things were changing.

“I know this is going to keep growing because I’m going to keep winning, and I’m going to bring back the world title to Peru. That’s what I’m in search of.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for 2023 PFL Playoffs 1.

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