Lucas ‘Hulk’ Barbosa has just had his debut for PFL booked for January 27th at the 2023 edition of the PFL Challenger Series. The ATOS black belt has a decent amount of MMA experience already, as he currently holds a 2-1 professional record in the sport. The last time Barbosa competed in MMA was all the way back in 2012 however, as he spent all of his time over the last decade focusing on reaching the highest levels of professional grappling competition instead.
Barbosa has been preparing for his return to MMA for quite some time and originally planned to launch his comeback in 2021. Things didn’t go quite as planned however and Barbosa’s return was delayed, but he no doubt continued training in this time and developing his striking to go along with his already phenomenal grappling talent. It wasn’t long before he actually signed a professional contract with PFL, and the promotion got to work in setting up his first fight. Lucas ‘Hulk’ Barbosa was originally scheduled to make his promotional debut back in 2022 at PFL 7, although his fight against Elmar Umarov fell through at the very last minute for undisclosed reasons.
Now Barbosa is set to face Itso Babulaidze on January 27th at the 2023 edition of the PFL Challenger Series. Babulaidze is a product of Renzo Gracie Philadelphia and has already had his first fight in the PFL cage, winning it by knockout. The pair are among eight men in welterweight fights on the night and each of them are competing for a PFL contract and the potential to fight in the promotion’s regular $1,000,000 season in 2023. Barbosa is still undoubtedly one of the best grapplers on the planet in his weightclass so it’ll be interesting to see if he manages to make the transition to MMA effectively, and what his striking looks like.
The news that Lucas ‘Hulk’ Barbosa is due to make his PFL debut in the 2023 edition of the PFL Challenger Series on January 27th was announced in a post to the promotion’s official Instagram account: