Jeremy Kennedy couldn’t have asked for a better matchup to kick off this year’s PFL playoffs.
Langley, B.C.’s Kennedy (14-2) will face Luis Rafael Laurentino (34-2) in the featherweight quarterfinals of the 2019 PFL playoffs Thursday night in Las Vegas, NV.
Earlier this year, Kennedy, 27, and Laurentino met during the PFL regular season where Laurentino scored the quick first round knockout, a bout that was confirmed just 24 hours prior to fight night due to both of their original opponents missing weight.
With how the first meeting transpired and finished, Kennedy said he’s thrilled to have the second chance to show why he’s the better fighter.
“I’m focused on one fight, one person, and redemption. I’d do this fight for free,” said Kennedy in an interview.
“I’m just blessed to have it line up this way where I get him first round. For my own career, my record, my legacy, this is perfect because I do feel I’m the better fighter and I got the wrong end of the stick before. To be able to right this wrong is what’s super important to me.”
And while revenge is high on the priority list for Kennedy, the stakes in the rematch are also much higher, with the winner advancing to the semi-finals and one step closer to the million dollar final bout.
Although it can be hard not to think about the possibility of winning $1 million dollars with three straight wins, Kennedy said it’s the last thing on his mind at this time.
“I can’t even think about the New Year’s Eve show; I can’t think about the finals because I’m not there yet. I haven’t earned it,” said Kennedy.
“I’m just thinking about beating these guys and taking it as it comes. Right now, what’s in front of me is a chance to win a portion of that million by beating two guys. For me, right now, I still have three wins ahead of me.”
Double The Action
With how the PFL playoff format is set, Kennedy is poised to fight twice in one night if he defeats Laurentino, taking on the winner of Movlid Khaybulaev and Daniel Pineda in the semi-final with a victory.
Kennedy said, with the possibility of a second fight on the same night, the first matchup will be a matter of picking and choosing his spots, but still coming away with the win no matter what.
“Once you get in there for that second fight you can let everything go, but that first fight you have to protect some of your tools,” said Kennedy.
“You have to preserve yourself in the first fight, but you can’t fight differently. It’s just picking and choosing some of the tools you use, but getting a win at all costs.”
The first meeting between Kennedy and Laurentino ended rather quickly, with the latter scoring the knockout just 23 seconds into the first round.
But this time around, with a full training camp to prepare for and study Laurentino, Kennedy said he knows exactly what to expect in the rematch.
“I find he slows down. He’s very flashy and spinny in the first round, but that stuff kind of goes away as the fight plays out,” said Kennedy.
“He’s more of a jiu-jitsu guy at the end of the day, and I think my style matches up great against him. I believe I’m an all-around better and more complete fighter than he is.”