Atlanta"s Overtime Elite Arena serves as the site for the back-end of the 2023 PFL season. This week, featherweights and light heavyweights get their chance to book a playoff spot in PFL 4.
Live coverage of the event begins Thursday evening at 6:30 pm ET/ 3:30 pm PT on ESPN+. Main card action begins at 10 pm ET/ 7 pm PT on ESPNproper.
All told, PFL 4 features a full 12-fight card. Highlighting the night is a fighter getting top billing for the second time this season in the PFL 4 main event versus a man battling for his playoff life.
Loughnane and Pineda to Square Off Thursday Night in Atlanta
Brendan Loughnane (27-4 MMA, 1-0 PFL 2023, five points in the standings) tries to secure a playoff berth when he fights Jesus Pinedo (20-6-1 MMA, 0-1 PFL 2023, zero points in the standings). Currently, thePFL featherweight standingsshow that if the regular season were to end right now, Loughnane would be the No. 1 seed in the bracket.
As with all PFL regular season and semifinal bouts, the PFL 4 main event will be an advertised maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round to close out the show.
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PFL 4 Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds
Heading into the PFL 4 main event on Thursday night, Jesus Pinedo stands as the taller man at six feet even, while Brendan Loughnane counters at 5-foot-9. In addition, Pinedo owns a 3 1/2-inch reach advantage (74 1/2 inches to 71 inches even) and a three-inch leg reach advantage (41 inches to 38 inches) over Loughnane.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the oddsmakershave Brendan Loughnane installed as a -549 favorite on the money line, while Jesus Pinedo is a +400 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening over the weekend, please wager responsibly.
Brendan Loughnane Looking to Build Off of Second-Round Knockout in PFL 4 Main Event
Brendan Loughnane has posted a record of 5-0 in his last five fights dating back to April of 2022. He"s won his last two fights by knockout, including his most-recent bout on April Fools" Day versus Marlon Moraes(23-12-1 MMA, 0-1 PFL 2023, zero points in the standings during the PFL 1 main event (second-round knockout: leg kick.)
After the win, Loughnane talked about his efforts with Sean O"Connell. He mentioned that aggression was on the menu that Saturday night.
“I just wanted violence," Loughnane began. “I sat in the back falling asleep watching the other fights, like ‘What the (expletive deleted)"s going on? I"ve got to go out and save the day'".
Save the day, he did. Thanks to his win two months ago, Brendan Loughnane"s got the most comfortable road to the playoffs of any of the featherweights competing this week.
Make no mistake, however: This is a guy who wants to notch his sixth victory in a row. Tune into the PFL 4 main event to see if he does.
Jesus Pinedo Looks to Get Back in Win Column in Critical Fight
In the other corner, Jesus Pinedo enters the PFL 4 main event having gone 4-1 in the past five fights, seeing his four-fight winning streak snapped on April 1 versus Gabriel Alves Braga (10-0 MMA, 1-0 PFL 2023, three points in the standings) by split decision. This is Pinedo"s highest-profile fight in over four years.
Between November of 2018 and March of 2019, he competed in the UFCand went 1-1. Upon a defeat to John Makdessi(18-8 MMA, 11-8 UFC) in Nashville, he was cut.
Since that time, Jesus Pinedo has worked his way back to major MMA, but now finds himself one loss away from seeing his season end. With Loughnane proving to be a tough opponent, can Pinedo pull off an upset?
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the PFL 4 main event is another toss-up. Both of these men are strikers by trade. Who has the crisper punches?
Look Out for Loughnane"s Kicking Game
If you saw Brendan Loughnane"s last fight against Moraes, you already know that he has crisp kicks. During round two of the battle, with Moraes" legs already compromised as-is from the onslaught in round one, the latter was forced to throw punches right out of the gate.
Although Moraes managed to throw a knee strike of his own, it ultimately proved immaterial, with Loughnane connecting on a leg kick to send him down and out. If Loughnane can chop up Pinedo"s legs in the PFL 4 main event, it"s his world.
Pineda Vicious With Punches
In the other corner, Jesus Pineda is nasty when it comes to throwing the punches. Kiao Tavaresfound this out firsthand three years ago.
Although the fight was scheduled for three rounds at five minutes per round, Pineda needed less than half of one to write a finish to the story. He pieced Tavares up with a flurry of punches and kicks to force the latter to back up to the cage fence.
Once the fight got to the mat, it was only a matter of time before it was over. Pinedo grappled with Tavares to try to lock up a submission, yet the fight returned to a stand-up battle, albeit briefly.
Tavares landed a few punches, but Pinedo was clearly the aggressor by this stage, ending the fight with a burst of ground and pound shots. If Jesus Pinedo can get off to a quick start in the PFL 4 main event, he can throw Brendan Loughnane off his gameplan and score the knockout.
Crunch time has arrived for these two men as we head into the PFL 4 main event. Any room for error is gone.
Prediction: Brendan Loughnane by First-Round Knockout.
Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew enjoys a good game and a better fight. When he's not writing, you can find him playing video games and listening to music.