Antonio Carlos Junior saw his moment to snatch a choke, and with it a $1 million prize, in the 2021 PFL light heavyweight championship bout Wednesday in Hollywood, Fla.
In front of a passionate crowd in his adopted home state of Florida, Junior (13-5) submitted Norway’s Marthin Hamlet (8-3) with a rear-naked choke at 3:49 of Round 1.
2021 PFL Championship took place at Seminole Hard Rock Casino & Hotel. The main card aired on ESPN2/ESPN+ after prelims on ESPN+.
After a handful of patient sequences from both men, Junior resorted to his bread and butter: the ground game. A successful takedown attempt from “Shoeface” landed him on the back of Hamlet. As Hamlet attempted to spin out of the body lock, he stood up.
That proved to be a mistake as Junior, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt maintained control and sunk in a standing rear-naked choke. The two fighters tumbled backward and the choke became deeper. Hamlet tapped shortly thereafter.
— PFL (@PFLMMA) October 27, 2021
Junior, 31, wins a PFL title and a $1 million prize in his first season with the promotion. Prior to his UFC departure in early 2021, Junior competed 13 times under the promotion’s banner and compiled a 7-5 record with one no contest.
Once in PFL, Junior defeated Tom Lawlor and competed in a “no contest” against Vinny Magalhaes which ended in a groin strike. In the opening round of the playoffs, Junior defeated Emeliano Sordi via unanimous decision.
As for Hamlet, the 29-year-old went 1-1 in the 2021 PFL regular season before he won in the playoff semifinals against Cezar Ferreira, a fight that ended in controversial fashion.
The up-to-the-minute 2021 PFL Championship results include:
Antonio Carlos Junior def. Marthin Hamlet via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:49
Jordan Young def. Omari Akhmedov via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 1:32
Don Madge def. Nathan Williams via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:15