Antonio Carlos Junior eager to make a comeback after injury and controversy

April 12, 2023
From: Spartacus

Antonio Carlos Junior, who earned the prestigious PFL light heavyweight championship in one impressive outing, is itching to get back in the ring later this year. Known to fans by his moniker “Cara de Sapato,” Junior has been making waves recently after his controversial stint on the Brazilian reality show, Big Brother Brasil, where he was accused of sexual harassment and subsequently left the show. However, Junior is putting that drama behind him and is fully concentrating on his recovery from a debilitating knee injury that forced him out of the 2022 season.

The MMA community is eagerly anticipating Junior’s return to the octagon, but his focus is on rehabilitating his injury and regaining his strength. Despite the ongoing investigation into the harassment allegations, Junior is determined to come back stronger than ever and prove himself as one of the top fighters in his weight class.

Speaking to MMA Fighting, Antonio says, “I’m super happy to be back to training. I missed this so much. I was trying my best to continue my rehabilitation [on the show]. My physical therapist and coach told me, ‘OK, you’re going [to Big Brother Brasil], but you have to work there a little bit, so you’re not back to square one when you leave.’”

Junior has had an impressive run since leaving the UFC and joining PFL in 2021. He has been undefeated since then, putting an end to a three-fight skid with victories over top fighters such as Emiliano Sordi, Tom Lawlor, and Delan Monte. The Brazilian has certainly proved his worth in the cage, and his fans can’t wait to see him in action once again.

Interestingly, PFL is planning to hold its first-ever pay-per-view card in 2023, although the exact date and location are yet to be determined. This was news to Junior, who was surprised to hear about it during a recent interview. He expressed his interest in participating in the pay-per-view event, saying “that could be an option” depending on the date. It remains to be seen whether the Brazilian will make his return on the PFL’s biggest stage, but one thing is certain – he is ready to get back to fighting and prove his worth once again.

Antonio said, “I volunteered to PFL to fight later this year, maybe in the year-end card. The 2023 PFL Championship card is set to take place Dec. 8 in Dublin, Ireland. “I told my manager Ali [Abdelaziz] to inform them I’ll be ready to represent Brazil in the PFL.”

On April 14, 2023, The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, played host to the third mixed martial arts event of the 2023 season of the Professional Fighters League, known as PFL 3.

The Professional Fighters League (PFL) is all set to host its third event of the 2023 season, with the first half of the league’s regular season coming to an end. Titled 2023 PFL 3, the upcoming event promises to be an action-packed affair, with both welterweight and lightweight fighters gearing up to step inside the cage for the first time this year.

As with all PFL events, the stakes are high for the fighters competing in this card, as they vie for a chance to advance to the playoffs and eventually compete for a championship title. The PFL has already seen some explosive action so far this season, with fighters going all-out to secure victories and earn valuable points towards the playoffs.

As the league approaches the halfway point of its regular season, fighters are aware that every win is crucial in their quest to make it to the postseason. With the PFL’s innovative format, where fighters compete in a regular season, followed by playoffs and ultimately a championship bout, every single bout holds significant importance.

As such, the fighters competing at 2023 PFL 3 will be aiming to make a strong statement with their performances, hoping to earn vital points and gain momentum for the second half of the regular season. Fans of MMA can expect an action-packed night of fights, with some of the sport’s most exciting prospects looking to make their mark in the PFL.

PFL 3 Full fight card


  • Sadibou Sy vs. Jarrah Al-Silawi
  • Ben Egli vs. Magomed Magomedkerimov
  • Stevie Ray vs. Natan Schulte
  • Raush Manfio vs. Alexander Martinez
  • Shane Mitchell vs. Nayib Lopez
  • Ahmed Amir vs. Bruno Miranda
  • Brandon Jenkins vs. Zach Juusola


  • Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Shane Burgos
  • Clay Collard vs. Yamato Nishikawa
  • Patrick Brady vs. Denis Goltsov
  • Carlos Leal vs. David Zawada
  • Dilano Taylor vs. Magomed Umalatov
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