Tomorrow night in the main event of the 2023 PFL World Championships, the lightweight title is on the line. 2022 lightweight champion Olivier Aubin-Mercier (20-5) will look to make it two in a row as he takes on striking expert and fan favorite Clay Collard (24-10).
Collard suffered a split decision loss in the regular season last year to Alex Martinez which derailed his championship hopes. However, Collard has been sensational on his run here in 2023. After defeating Yamato Nishikawa in the opening round, he starched Stevie Ray before having a fight of the year candidate against Shane Burgos. He edged out Burgos to earn this spot in the finals.
There is not one fighter in the PFL who has been as dominant as Olivier Aubin-Mercier. Aubin-Mercier is a perfect 9-0 since joining the promotion back in 2021. In 2022, he ran through the competition and won the championship with a knockout of Stevie Ray. So far this season, he’s had two finishes and a dominant decision win over Shane Burgos.
PFL Championship Prediction
This is your classic striker versus grappler matchup. Aubin-Mercier is one of the best grapplers in the promotion and if he gets on top of you, it’s hard to get him off. Meanwhile, Collard is one of the best boxers in the promotion and even spent time away from MMA to focus on his professional boxing career.
So, who is going to win the 2023 PFL lightweight title? It’s going to come down to where the fight takes place. Can Clay Collard keep the fight on the feet or will OAM be able to take him down at will. I think it’ll fall somewhere in the middle. I expect Collard to defend some early takedowns, but he won’t be able to have enough success on the feet to keep OAM away.
OAM will continue to put pressure on Collard and as the fight goes on, Aubin-Mercier will start to dominate. In the fourth round, I expect Aubin-Mercier to get the back of Collard and find a submission to win the 2023 PFL lightweight championship.
Prediction: Olivier Aubin-Mercier by Submission – Round 4