Antonio Caruso’s return to competitive MMA was not a successful one with the South Australian coming up short in his Professional Fighters League Challenger series debut.
Caruso took on Canadian Anthony Romero and was attempting to book a ticket into the PFL regular season. He hadn’t competed in MMA since October 2020 where he scored an impressive win against Eduard Folayang at One Championship.
Unfortunately for the Aussie, Romero looked a step ahead of Caruso and came close to nearly finishing the contest, stumbling Caruso with a right cross. Caruso showed heart to stay in the contest but took punch after punch. While attempting to get up, Romero tried to lock up a rear-naked choke that was escaped by Caruso with the use of the cage. The referee docked him a point.
Knowing he needed a finish, Caruso had his best exchanges early in the third round though Romero’s grappling came to the fore as he attacked with more submissions against a tiring Caruso who showed heart to survive an entertaining contest.
In the end, the judges all agreed and scored the bout to Romero 30-26.
Romero would miss out on a ticket to the regular season with undefeated lightweight Elvin Espinoza claiming that spot.
It’s now two contender series events that Romero has missed out on a position, having previously won on Dana White’s Contender Series but also not punching his way into the UFC.
- Elvin Espinoza def. Damir Ferhatbegovic via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Rd 2, 1:53
- Manoel Sousa def. Paulo Henrique via Decision (Split)
- Anthony Romero def. Tony Caruso via Decision (Unanimous)
- Charlie Decca def. Jose Aguayo via Decision (Unanimous)