PFL Challenger Series Week 1 Prediction, Vegas Odds, and Picks (Jan 27)

  • PFL Challenger Series kicks off on January 27.
  • We’re going to see PFL welterweight fighters fight in Week 1.
  • Four fights are on the program and we’re going to preview all of them!

If you’re looking for some PFL Challenger Series Week 1 predictions, look no further, because Vegas Odds has you covered.

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The Professional Fighters League (PFL) is coming back with a brand-new season of Challenger Series, in which rising MMA stars will get a chance to win $1 million. Eight consecutive weeks of fighting await us in 2023, starting with Week 1 which is on the program on Friday, January 27.

There are four fights on the program, each featuring welterweight fighters. We will now analyze each matchup, sharing our top PFL picks along the way.

Schedule and How to Watch

  • Where: Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida
  • When: Friday, January 27, at 9 p.m ET
  • How to Watch: Fubo Sports

PFL Challenger Series Week 1 Predictions

Lucas Barbosa vs Itso Babulaidze

FighterVegas Odds
Lucas Barbosa-225
Itso Babulaidze+205

The main event of PFL Challenger Series Week 1 is a fight between Lucas Barbosa and Itso Babulaidze. Barbosa is 2-1 in his professional MMA career, with his most recent fight happening a decade ago. The reason why the Brazilian decided to take an MMA hiatus is so that he could focus on BJJ.

Saying that Barbosa is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert would be an understatement. He’s a true great of the sport, who’s won numerous awards over the last couple of years. Nicknamed Hulk, the BJJ black belt (under Andre Fabiano) is a five-time world champion in events organized by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation.

His first MMA fight in 10 years is against Georgian fighter Itso Babulaidze. Although he’s turning 30 this year, he only made his professional MMA debut in 2022. It was a successful one – he defeated Jorge Molina by a decision at CFFC 106. In his second pro fight, he defeated Mahmoud Fawzy Sebie by technical knockout in the first round.

Knowing this, it’s clear that Barbosa won’t have an easy job on Friday, but he is still a huge favorite in our eyes. It’s just that he’s a much better fighter than Babulaidze, especially on the ground.

PFL Predictions:

Eric Alequin vs Thad Jean

FighterVegas Odds
Eric Alequin+178
Thad Jean-218

The co-main event is a duel between two undefeated fighters from Florida. Eric Alequin is 7-0, with his most recent win bringing the CFFC welterweight title his way. Apart from fighting in the MMA universe, he’s also famous for doing great in various grappling events.

Meanwhile, Jean is more of a striker, who likes finishing his fights early. He’s 4-0 in his MMA career, with three of those fights finishing before the final bell (two of those were first-round wins). Can he add another win inside the distance to his name? We think he might!

PFL Predictions:

Zach Juusola vs Jozef Wittner

FighterVegas Odds
Zach Juusola-250
Jozef Wittner+200

Originally, Jozef Wittner was supposed to fight Quemuel Ottoni in the first PFL Challenger Series event of 2023. However, Ottoni had to withdraw due to injury. As a result, Wittner now has a new opponent to face – Zach Juusola.

READ MORE: Six Nations 2023 Predictions, Preview, Vegas Odds & Picks

Wittner should have a fairly easy job on Friday against the backup fighter. The Slovak fighter is already an MMA veteran despite still being in his 20s. He’s 16-2 in his pro career with his most recent win being a KO win over Chris Astley (15-2) at RFA 4 last October.

Zach Juusola too is a veteran fighter (12-9), but he’s been in horrible shape in recent times. In fact, he’s 0-3 in his previous three bouts.

PFL Predictions:

Mostafa Rashed Neda vs Nick Alley

FighterVegas Odds
Mostafa Rashed Neda-202
Nick Alley+180

Mostafa Rashed Neda is a Saudi judoka, well-respected in his own country. He also has a decent record in pro-MMA with 7 wins and 3 losses and is 3-0 in his previous three. The problem, however, is that he hasn’t fought in more than two years.

His opponent – Nick Alley – also took a break from MMA last year. He’s 7-5 overall with two straight losses, the most recent of which happened in November 2021.

Literally, anything can happen in this fight, but our vote goes to Neda. We think he’s going to win, probably by decision.

PFL Predictions:

Annie is a seasoned veteran in sports betting and has been working in the industry for over 7 years. Her goal of educating others and sharing her knowledge on the topic has brought her to VegasOdds.com where she regularly contributes to our cornerstone guides and news to help readers improve their sports betting game. If you don’t find her writing, you can bet she’ll be studying sports stats!

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