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.