We open the main card with a rubber match between Chris Wade and Bubba Jenkins. Wade was dominant in the pairs first bout in the 2021 PFL semi-finals. Jenkins and Wade both enter the 2023 Regular Season with World Championship aspirations and both enter this matchup with bad blood and bad intentions to kick off the first main card of the PFL Regular Season
The bell rings and there’s no touch of gloves as Jenkins throws a high kick that’s blocked with a big hook behind it that also misses. Jenkins changes levels off the miss and secures the takedown, controlling the hips and legs of Wade against the fence to prevent Wade from getting back to his feet.
Wade throws some short punches before Jenkins adjusts and gets in deeper on the position, but Jenkins has yet to do much with the position. Just like that, Wade attempts to explode up and Jenkins takes the back as we see some high level wrestling that eventually ends with Wade on top.
Jenkins reverses position back, digging underneath the leg of Wade and sprawling hard on top of him, making Wade carry his weight while Jenkins throws knees at the body. Jenkins makes a miscalculation and knees Wade in the head while grounded, but upon further review the knee seems to have landed mostly in the chest as Wade composes himself.
Referee Chris Tognoni consults the replay official and after careful deliberation gives Jenkins the same position back and restarts the fight with just over two minutes to go in the first round. Jenkins takes the back as Wade attempts to and eventually does get back to his feet, but not before Jenkins takes him right back down on the back and begins to attack the rear naked choke.
Wade is defending well, using the fence and turning away from Jenkins but he winds up in Jenkins’ full back mount with 40 seconds remaining, a precarious spot indeed as Wade is forced to bear the entirety of Jenkins’ weight to end the round.
Round two begins with a high kick from Wade but Jenkins quickly answers with a right hand and a double leg takedown attempt. Wade goes to the front headlock, adjusting to a guillotine choke but Jenkins defends excellently, getting off to side control and negating the danger of the choke and landing in dominant position.
Jenkins is using heavy shoulder pressure to stay on top of Wade, controlling the torso and underhooking the far leg to keep Wade on his back as Jenkins racks up control time and balloons to -320 on the live line. Jenkins slickly takes the back of Wade getting a hook in about halfway through the round.
Jenkins lands some nice ground and pound and stays heavy on top as Wade manages to turn his hips into Jenkins and negate any danger of chokes from the back. Jenkins is doing an excellent job of controlling the wrists of Wade and not allowing him to build a base and get back to his feet.
Wade needs to make something happen here as a second round slips away, but Jenkins is absolutely smothering with his wrestling right now as Wade attempts to walk the wall to get back to his feet but is quickly shut down by Jenkins who passes to half guard. The 10 second clapper hits and Jenkins postures up, landing some nice hammer fists to punctuate a dominant round.
The final round begins with a foul as Jenkins pokes Wade in the eye and the referee calls time. On replay, it appears it was the knuckle that landed on the eye and Jenkins has been unjustly penalized for a second time. Jenkins wastes no time at the restart, sprinting at Wade and having some fun in there, landing a pair of big straight rights before shooting in deep on a single leg.
Wade again tries to defend the takedown with a guillotine but cannot secure the submission as Jenkins steps directly into mount and then takes the back with plenty of time to work. Jenkins is a bit high on the back of Wade with about three and a half minutes to work. Wade is busted up at this point, bleeding from his nose as he attempts to break the grip of Jenkins and get back to his feet.
Halfway through the round, Jenkins is taking Wade for a ride, in deep on the back with one hook in. One would like to see a little more activity from Jenkins with such a dominant position, but he is stifling Wade so badly he doesn’t really need to worry about output.
Wade works back to his feet with 90 seconds remaining but again Jenkins changes levels and hits the mat return, instantly taking Wade back down to the canvas. Wade is once again attacking an arm in the guillotine but doesn’t seem to have the grip as the clock has become his enemy at this point. Jenkins is content to ride out the fight on top, landing a few big left hands to put an exclamation point on the fight.
Bubba Jenkins pitches a shutout to beat his rival Chris Wade and earn three points to open the 2023 PFL Regular Season
Bubba Jenkins def. Chris Wade by Unanimous Decision (30-27 3x)