2021 PFL heavyweight champion Bruno Cappelozza’s best day of his MMA career was also the worst in his personal life.
Cappelozza’s first season in the PFL wrapped up with an exciting win over Ante Delija at the 2021 PFL Championships. After a back-and-forth war, Cappelozza won the fight via unanimous decision to earn the heavyweight belt and the $1 million grand prize.
But disaster would strike for Cappelozza and his family amidst the chaos and celebration at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL.
Cappelozza’s father, Joao, passed away before the event started. His family withheld news of his passing from Cappelozza so he could focus on the biggest fight of his MMA career.
During his PFL 2 pre-fight media day, Cappelozza was asked if he has more motivation following the death of his father.
“Absolutely,” Cappelozza said. “My Dad was always my biggest fan, my biggest supporter. So I’m here to keep following my dream, the dream of my family, and his dream as well. I know that wherever he’s at, he’s following me closely and what I’m achieving. My dreams are his dreams as well.”
Cappelozza was just minutes removed from winning the title when he got word that his father had passed away in his native Brazil. He was able to work through the whirlwind of emotions by relying on those closest to him.
“It was the happiest and saddest day of my life,” Cappelozza admitted. “My Dad is everything for me and for my family and we’re still mourning him. But I’m certain of his place in heaven. We all are. I’m just happy to provide for my family and happily represent them.”
Cappelozza will make his 2022 debut against British prospect Stuart Austin at PFL 2 on Thursday night. He’s won four-straight fights after a loss to current UFC light heavyweight contender Jiří Procházka at RIZIN 11.
Cappelozza will look to become the first back-to-back PFL heavyweight champion in the league’s history and will use the lessons and love his father provided him with to continue on his path to success.
Do you think Bruno Cappelozza will repeat as PFL heavyweight champion in 2022?