PFL 4 Preview: Clay Collard headlines as lightweights and light heavyweights take center stage

Tonight the PFL will return for their fourth card of the year. Lightweights and light heavyweights will take center stage with the main event featuring a lightweight contest between Clay Collard (21-9) and Alex Martinez (9-2).

Both men are coming off impressive wins in their PFL season opener. For Collard, he took on UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens (28-20) in his first matchup. It was a very entertaining war that ended with Collard picking up the decision win.

That same night, Alex Martinez got a fight with Stevie Ray. In that fight, Martinez was able to pick up the decision win. Both men are needing a big win tonight to potentially secure a spot in the PFL playoffs. I’m expecting fireworks in this one.

Speaking of Jeremy Stephens, there was some controversy with him yesterday. Stephens had to shave his beard and head to make the lightweight limit. In addition, he looked like he wasn’t fully stepping on the scale when weighing in.

Nevertheless, he was said to have made weight and his fight will go on. He will be taking on Ireland’s Myles Price (11-8) in the main card opener. Both Price and Stephens lost their season opener so whoever wins needs a big performance to try and get into the PFL playoffs.

Light Heavyweights in Action at PFL 4

2021 PFL light heavyweight champion Antonio Carlos Junior (14-5) will compete in the co-main event. He will be taking on fellow Brazilian Bruce Souto (15-4). Souto was knocked out in his first appearance of the season while Carlos Junior won by submission in less than 30 seconds.

All eyes are on the defending PFL champion to get another big win tonight. Another light heavyweight matchup to watch is the featured prelim between Omari Akhmedov (22-7-1) and Teodoras Aukstuolis (11-6).

Akhmedov is a former top UFC middleweight contender. He decided to compete in PFL’s light heavyweight division and looked strong in his season debut. He will look to continue that momentum tonight.

Another big fight to watch is defending PFL lightweight champion Raush Manfio (16-3) taking on Olivier Aubin-Mercier (14-5). Manfio kicked off his season with a stoppage win over Don Mage while Aubin-Mercier defeated former PFL champ Natan Schulte.

The full PFL 4 card can be viewed below.

PFL announces second lightweight and light heavyweight card; Clay Collard headlining

Today, the PFL announced their fourth card of the season which will be a continuation for the lightweights and light heavyweights. The card will go down on June 17th and the headliner will feature Clay Collard (21-9) taking on Alex Martinez (9-2).

This fourth card of the season is pairing together many of the winners from the PFL season opener that took place last month. Clay Collard is headlining his second straight card when he meets Alex Martinez.

In the season’s first card, Collard took on Jeremy Stephens (28-20). The two men had a brutal war with Collard picking up the decision win and racking up three points. Alex Martinez also picked up a win over Stevie Ray on that card and it was also a decision win.

Heading into PFL 4, Collard is third and Martinez is fourth in the season standings. I mentioned Jeremy Stephens above, he will also be returning on this card for his second appearance of the PFL season.

After losing his first bout and getting no points, Lil Heathen will have his opportunity at retribution. He will be taking on Myles Price (11-8) to kick off the main card. Last year’s lightweight champion Raush Manfio (16-3) is also on the card as he takes on Olivier Aubin-Mercier (14-5).

Worth noting that Anthony Pettis is not on this card. Showtime is expected to be on one of the cards following this one in June.

PFL Light Heavyweights

In addition to the lightweights, the PFL light heavyweights will be back in action on June 17th. In the co-main event, 2021 champion Antonio Carlos Junior (14-5) takes on fellow Brazilian Bruce Souto (15-4).

Unlike the lightweight matchups which pairs winners against each other, we won’t see that in this one. Souto lost his first bout of the season while the defending champion scored a submission victory in 29 seconds back at PFL 1.

Omari Akhmedov (22-7-1) will be making his second appearance under the PFL banner as he takes on Teodoras Aukstuolis (11-6) on the featured prelim. The former UFC middleweight scored a first round knockout in his PFL debut back in April.

The rest of the June 17th card can be viewed in the tweet below.

PFL Announces 2022 Season Opener

The PFL is gearing up for their 2022 season and we now know that the season has an official kickoff date. The promotion sent out a memo yesterday afternoon announcing that they were returning on April 20th to kick off the 2022 season.

PFL will be kicking off the new season with lightweights and light heavyweights. There are several key bouts to focus in on, but obviously anyone is going to look straight at the main event.

2021 lightweight champion Raush Manfio (15-3) will begin his quest for a second straight title as he takes on Don Madge (10-3-1). Madge will enter the April contest riding a seven-fight winning streak including two wins in the UFC.

Last year, Madge joined the PFL and fought once scoring a submission victory. Manfio went a perfect 4-0 to capture the 2021 title which featured wins over Anthony Pettis, Clay Collard, and Loik Radzhabov in the finals.

Rest of the PFL Opener

Speaking of Anthony Pettis (24-12) and Clay Collard (20-9), they have some big fights in their 2022 season debut. Pettis is in the co-main event as he takes on Ireland’s Myles Price (11-7).

Price hasn’t fought in three years and his last fight came in Bellator where he got a win over fellow Irishman Peter Queally. Pettis is coming off of an extremely disappointing debut season with the PFL.

It was huge news for the PFL to sign a former UFC lightweight champion. However, Pettis went 0-2 in his first season. He’s hoping to bounce back and prove his worth to his new promotion in 2022.

Speaking of making their PFL debuts, former UFC lightweight and featherweight contender Jeremy Stephens (28-19) is making his debut on the card. Like Pettis last year, Stephens will be making his debut against Clay Collard. A lot of eyes will be on that matchup.

2021 light heavyweight champion Antonio Carlos Junior (13-5) kicks off his defense campaign against fellow Brazilian Delan Marte (8-1). You can view the rest of the 2022 season kickoff card here. 

PFL Playoffs continue tomorrow night with the Light Heavyweights and Featherweights

Tomorrow night on ESPN, the PFL playoffs continue. For their ninth event of the 2021 season, the light heavyweights and featherweights will take center stage as we see another round of the PFL playoffs.

Opening up the card tomorrow night at PFL 9 is going to be the light heavyweight playoffs. The first matchup of the evening features UFC vet Cezar Ferreira (14-9) taking on the Norwegian, Marthin Hamlet (7-2).

Both men enter this playoff contest coming off losses in their last matchups. Ferreira lost a decision to Chris Camozzi while Hamlet was submitted by Cory Hendricks. Despite the losses, both men still had a spot in the PFL playoffs.

It’ll be an interesting battle tomorrow night. I’m expecting Ferreira to strike from range while Hamlet will be pushing the action looking to get takedowns. He can be successful if he can get Ferriera tired, but he really needs to watch out for the Brazilian’s submission game.

In the other light heavyweight contest we will see 2019 PFL champion Emiliano Sordi (23-8-1) take on Antonio Carlos Junior (11-5). Both men enter this contest coming off draws in their last fight. Sordi fought to a draw with Dan Spohn while Carlos Junior fought to a draw with Vinny Magalhaes.

To start the PFL season, Carlos Junior submitted Tom Lawler which snapped a losing streak dating back to his time in the UFC. Sordi is looking to punch his ticket to the finals for the second consecutive season. The draw with Spohn snapped a six-fight win streak.

PFL Featherweights and Predictions

The two featured playoff matchups for the PFL tomorrow night come from the featherweight division. In the co-main event, we will see a matchup between Bubba Jenkins (16-4) and Chris Wade (19-6).

Since making the jump to the PFL from the UFC, Wade has gone 7-3 with the promotion. So far, he’s 2-0 this season and in his last fight he secured a knockout win over Arman Ospanov in the second round.

Prior to his time with PFL, Jenkins spent the majority of his career with Bellator. 2021 is Jenkins’ first season with the Professional Fighters League and thus far he’s 2-0 with wins over Bobby Moffett and former champion Lance Palmer.

In the main event of PFL 9, we will see English striker Brendan Loughnane (21-3) take on the Dagestani grappler Movlid Khaybulaev (17-0-1, 1 NC). As you can see, Khaybulaev has never lost in his professional career in 19 fights.

In his career, he’s used that classic Dagestani style of wrestling to suffocate his opponents. He will look to do that to Loughnane tomorrow night. Loughnane got one shot in the UFC early on his career and loss.

He then appeared on Dana White’s Contender Series where he won, but still wasn’t brought into the UFC. Instead, Loughnane ended up with PFL where he’s gone 4-0 so far with the promotion. Tomorrow night, he’s going to look to keep things standing and avoid the takedowns of Khaybulaev.

Predictions: 

  • Brendan Loughnane vs Movlid Khaybulaev (Khaybulaev by Unanimous Decision)
  • Bubba Jenkins vs Chris Wade (Jenkins by Unanimous Decision)
  • Emiliano Sordi vs Antonio Carlos Junior (Sordi by TKO – Round 2)
  • Cezar Ferreira vs Marthin Hamlet (Ferreira by Submission – Round 1)