Who is Luis Pajuelo?

Luis Pajuelo makes his UFC debut at UFC Vegas 89.
Luis Pajuelo
Luis Pajuelo /

Luis Pajuelo might not be a household name in UFC circles, but he's a featherweight dynamo inside the cage.

Pajuelo will face Fernando Padilla in his UFC debut on March 23. In August, he earned a shot in the UFC via Dana White's Contender Series with a wild knockout of Robbie Ring.

Pajuelo has won five fights in a row entering his UFC debut and is one of the top Peruvian prospects the promotion has ever had on its roster. 7 of Pajuelo's 8 career wins have finished by TKO/KO and he's looking to earn another highlight finish against Padilla.

Pajuelo grew up in Tingo María, Peru, a city with just under 50,000 residents. He found fighting at a young age when he would get into brawls with kids at school and in the streets.

Pajuelo's fighting tendency led to him learning how to box. He fell in love with training so much that he eventually moved full-time to MMA to pursue a professional career.

Luis Pajuelo is Peru's next potential MMA star

Pajuelo's troubled childhood made him tough and disciplined as an adult. He fights with a controlled chaos that has given his opponents fits inside the cage.

After a 6-1-0 amateur MMA career, Pajuelo proved he was ready for the bright lights of the professional scene. He won his first three professional fights before a split decision loss to Mike Davidson in Dec. 2021.

Pajuelo's first MMA setback has led him to put on some of the most dominant showings of his young career. After going 4-0 in FFC, he attracted the UFC's attention in 2023 and received an invite to compete for a contract on DWCS.

Pajuelo didn't let the DWCS opportunity fall from his grasp. He took on a highly-touted prospect, Ring, who he smothered in the first round with a knee and ground-and-pound.

As Pajuelo looks ahead to his UFC debut, he'll face a veteran with nearly twice his professional experience. Padilla knocked out Julian Erosa in his UFC debut in April 2023 before a unanimous decision loss to Kyle Nelson in September.

Padilla and Pajuelo both earned UFC contracts with Dana White sitting cage-side. Padilla knocked out Cameron Graves at Fury FC 46 before earning a contract backstage from White in May 2021.

Pajuelo is a significant reason for Peru's growing MMA scene. Fighters such as UFC veteran Claudio Puelles and Pajuelo have helped put Peru on the MMA map and grow combat sports in the region.

Pajuelo usually opts to fight inside the pocket instead of point-fighting from the outside, making him an exciting athlete to watch in the cage. If his recent performances are any indication, Pajuelo's UFC debut could potentially be another short night in the cage.

Luis Pajuelo highlights

Pajuelo earned a UFC contract by smothering Ring on DWCS. After landing a brutal knee, he closed the show with ground-and-pound to secure a shot in the promotion. Pajuelo entered the fight as a betting underdog against the hyped prospect Ring.

Pajuelo put on a 'Fight of the Year' contender before he made it to the UFC. He and Heber Federico Pereyra had a firefight at FFC 59, featuring a wild second round with punches in bunches. While Pereyra landed plenty of damaging shots, it was Pajuelo who won the first midway through Round 2 by TKO.


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