01 Jan Antonio Carlos Junior signs with PFL for Season 3, meets fellow UFC vet Tom Lawlor
UFC veteran Antonio Carlos Junior is the latest to sign on to the PFL roster for its Season 3 tournament.
Junior, the winner of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 heavyweight tournament, will step in for Jordan Johnson to fight fellow octagon vet Tom Lawlor at a PFL event scheduled for April 29. Johnson was forced to withdraw from the event for unknown reasons.
Junior joins a field of nine competitors fighting it out for a shot at the title and a $1 million tournament prize. His signing was confirmed to MMA Fighting by his manager, Ali Abdelaziz.
Junior was among several cuts to the UFC roster made this past month. A three-fight skid, including a decision loss to veteran Brad Tavares at UFC 257, preceded his pink slip.
In a previous interview with MMA Fighting, Junior said he was “relieved” to be moving on from the UFC, citing more latitude with contract negotiations and sponsorships. The 30-year-old Brazilian was with the promotion for seven years and earned 7-5 record with one no-contest. In his time in the octagon, he picked up wins over vets Marvin Vettori and Tim Boetsch.
“In business, we have to be happy with what we have, and I felt for some time that they weren’t satisfied,” Junior said of his exit. “I think the UFC wants a type of fighter that isn’t who I am. I’m not the type of guy that talks too much, so I felt they were unhappy, and that makes me unhappy, too. Other places might have what fits better with who I am.”
The current field in Junior’s PFL division includes Chris Camozzi, Cezar Ferreira, Marthin Hamlet, Jordan Johnson, Tom Lawlor, Smealinho Rama, Dan Spohn and Jordan Young. Season 2 tournament winner and champion Emliano Sordi will return to defend his belt, as MMA Fighting previously reported.