PFL 7 Preview: Welterweight and Lightweight playoffs begin tonight

Tonight the PFL is back with their seventh event of 2021 and the playoffs begin tonight. It will be the welterweights and lightweights that will take center stage tonight as four men look to punch their ticket to the finals and one step closer to one million dollars.

In the main event of the evening, former Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald (22-7-1) will be taking on former PFL champion Ray Cooper III (22-7-1). This is the welterweight matchup we were hoping to see out of this PFL season.

That said, nobody thought we’d see it in the semifinals. MacDonald was the victim of a horrific decision against Gleison Tibau back at PFL 5 which robbed him of a higher seed. Had MacDonald won that fight, he could’ve met Cooper III in the finals.

Instead, we see it in the semis. Cooper III has been dominant so far with two wins including a first round submission thus far in the 2021 PFL season. Whoever wins this matchup tonight could be the favorite heading into the finals.

The other semifinal matchup features former PFL champion Magomed Magomedkerimov (28-5) taking on Sadibou Sy (9-5-2, 1 NC). Magomedkerimov has never lost under the PFL banner and he’s the big favorite to get it done tonight against Sadibou Sy. Sy is just 3-3, 1 NC in seven career PFL bouts.

PFL Lightweight Playoffs

Opening up the featured card on ESPN is the two lightweight semifinal matchups. The popular Clay Collard (20-8) takes on Raush Manfio (13-3) in one of the matchups. Both of these men have shared the same two opponents thus far in the 2021 season.

Collard and Manfio have decision wins over Anthony Pettis and Joilton Lutterbach. Both of Manfio’s wins were by split decision while Collard was able to get a unanimous decision over Anthony Pettis.

This is a tremendous matchup and is likely to gain a lot of attention at PFL 7. The other lightweight semifinal actually features a rematch from the first PFL event of 2021.

Alex Martinez (8-1) will be taking on Loik Radzhabov (14-3-1). Martinez picked up the split decision back at PFL 1 and Radzhabov bounced back to defeat Akhmed Aliev by first round knockout at PFL 4.

Alex Martinez lost his first professional fight in his last appearance by dropping a split decision to Natan Schulte. That said, despite both men being 1-1, they’ve both secured a spot in the semifinals tonight.

Playoff Predictions

  • Rory MacDonald vs Ray Cooper III – Cooper III by Unanimous Decision
  • Magomed Magomedkerimov vs Sadibou Sy – Magomedkerimov by Unanimous Decision
  • Clay Collard vs Rausch Manfio – Collard by Unanimous Decision
  • Alex Martinez vs Loik Radzhabov – Martinez by Split Decision

PFL 4 Recap: Claressa Shields survives early onslaught to score third round TKO

Tonight at PFL 4, Claressa Shields (0-0) made her highly anticipated MMA debut. Arguably the greatest female boxer of all time took to the cage to take on 12-year MMA veteran Brittney Elkin (3-6).

In the first round at PFL 4, Shields immediately took the center and looked for her right hand. However, Brittney Elkin went for the takedown as soon as she could. Elkin was able to land the takedown, but Shields did a good job of getting up to her feet.

Shields was actually able to reverse the position and land good shots. However, Elkin was able to immediately get back to the top position and she was able to work her way to the mount. Elkin, a jiu jitsu brown belt, held the mount but couldn’t mount a ton of offense.

In the final minute of the first round at PFL 4,. Elkin did some damage from the mount, but couldn’t finish the fight. In the second round, Shields started the round extremely well. She landed some bombs on Elkin and looked like she hurt Elkin which forced a sloppy shot.

Shields followed Elkin to the ground and she was immediately put on her back. It was very evident at PFL 4 that Shields was showing a ton of inexperience on the ground. Elkin moved right to the mount as soon as she got the top position.

The rest of the second round featured Elkin dominating from the mount position. Shields did show some good defense in escaping an arm bar just at the end of the second round and she landed bombs in the final seconds of the round.

In the third round, Shields completely turned things around. She defended a takedown beautifully and was able to get top position on Brittney Elkin. Shields rained down bombs and scored the TKO win in her MMA debut at PFL 4.

Clay Collard picks up second win of 2021

In the co-main event, Clay Collard (19-9, 1 NC) returned to take on Joilton Lutterbach (35-9, 1 NC). Back at PFL 1, Collard spoiled the debut of former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. On the heels of his successful year in professional boxing, Collard rode that momentum into PFL 1.

However, tonight was a different story. From the first round, you could tell that Lutterbach was going to be a challenge for Collard. It took Collard a while to get comfortable and throughout the night he would try striking blitzes to throw off Lutterbach.

However, every time he did that, he would get taken down. The fight ultimately came down to the grappling of Lutterbach versus the striking of Collard. The third round was the decisive round  of the fight. Collard landed bigger shots, but Lutterbach landed takedowns. Ultimately, two of the judges at PFL 4 gave the fight to Clay Collard.

Other PFL 4 Main Card Results

The action was great from start to finish at PFL 4. With the main card on ESPN2, all of the fights delivered. In the first fight on the main card Natan Schulte (21-4-1) took on Alex Martinez (8-1, 1 NC). Martinez was originally supposed to fight Anthony Pettis, however, Pettis pulled out yesterday due to an illness.

It was a very close fight this evening and Martinez had some big moments. However, the takedowns proved to be the difference as Natan Schulte won a split decision. A big bounce back win for the former PFL champion who lost in his opening fight in 2021.

Fresh off of defeating Lance Palmer, Bubba Jenkins (16-4) returned to take on Bobby Moffett (13-6, 1 NC). Jenkins controlled the first part of the fight, but Moffett proved to be extremely tough. Moffett poured it on in the third round, but ultimately it wasn’t enough to sway the judges and Jenkins picked up the win.

Brendan Loughnane (21-3) and Tyler Diamond (12-2) put on an incredible fight at PFL 4. Both men left everything they had in the cage, but Loughnane won a decision and clinched a spot in the PFL featherweight playoffs. It was an incredible night of fights for the Professional Fight League overall.

PFL 4 matchups announced: Anthony Pettis looks to bounce back against Alex Martinez

PFL has announced the card for their fourth event of 2021. The Pro Fight League posted on their official Twitter page today the matchups for the next round of the lightweight and featherweight seasons.

The fourth PFL event is going to take place on June 10th. In the main event, Claressa Shields will be making her MMA debut when she takes on Brittney Elkin (3-6). Shields is the best P4P boxer in the world and she’s a former Olympic Gold Medalist.

There will obviously be a lot of hype surrounding her PFL debut. In terms of the 2021 season, a lot of eyes are going to be on Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (24-11). Pettis will be taking on Alex Martinez (8-0, 1 NC) in the co-main event of the evening.

Showtime made his PFL debut just a few weeks ago. Pettis was a big signing for the Pro Fight League and they put him up against the popular Clay Collard (19-8, 1 NC) in his first matchup.

The former UFC lightweight champion was hurt multiple times throughout the first two rounds. However, Pettis was able to rally late and almost pulled off the victory. But, in the end, Collard got the win and spoiled the PFL debut for Pettis.

PFL 4

That night, Alex Martinez defeated Loik Radzhabov by split decision. This fight against Pettis at PFL 4 is the biggest fight in Martinez’s young career. This is also a huge fight for the former world champion.

If Pettis falls to Alex Martinez, it will raise a lot of questions about what’s left in the tank. The man who defeated Pettis back at PFL 1 is ready to get back to his winning ways. Clay Collard will be taking on Joilton Lutterbach (34-9).

Lutterbach lost his first fight by split decision and he’s looking to bounce back against Collard at PFL 4. To view the full list of matchups that were announced, see the PFL tweet below.

Sizing up PFL’s 2021 lightweight season

Yesterday, PFL took the headlines as they announced their matchups for their card on April 23rd. One of the divisions that has the most hype around it entering the 2021 season for PFL is the lightweight division.

The promotion took the year off in 2020, but they spent time trying to build up their roster. Arguably the biggest signing they had in all of 2020 was signing former UFC and WEC lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis (24-10).

Pettis won two fights in a row to close out his UFC contract before he hit the open market. It didn’t take long for PFL to sign Pettis for the 2021 season once he was on the market. It was announced yesterday who Pettis will meet in his debut. 

Showtime will be taking on Clay Collard (18-8, 1 NC) in his PFL debut. Collard spent the last couple of years in the professional boxing ring. Before losing his last couple of bouts, he went an astonishing 5-0 in 2020. Some of the matches took place under the Top Rank banner.

Collard is now ready to resume his MMA career, and he will do that in style. PFL‘s lightweight season should be fantastic this year and there are several fighters that everyone should be paying attention to.

PFL lightweights to watch

Of course, the first PFL lightweight that you have to think about his Natan Schulte (20-3-1). I mean how can you not considering he won both the 2018 and 2019 seasons at lightweight in PFL.

Schulte is 9-0-1 in his career with the Pro Fight League. He will have a target on his back as he tries to make it three seasons in a row in 2021. Schulte will take on UFC and Bellator veteran, Marcin Held (26-7), in his first matchup of the 2021 season.

The next guy I have my eyes on is Loik Radzhabov (13-2-1). Radzhabov was the runner up in 2019 and he looks like he could make another run at PFL’s lightweight crown in 2021. Radzhabov will take on UFC vet, Johnny Case (27-7-1) in his first matchup of 2021.

Another big signing for PFL in 2020 was signing Olivier Aubin-Mercier (11-5). “The Canadian Gangster” was the runner-up in his season of The Ultimate Fighter and he spent the majority of his career with the UFC.

Aubin-Mercier has been in there with the likes of Gilbert Burns, Diego Ferreira, Drew Dober, and more. He’s got a wealth of experience and he’s a very exciting addition to the PFL lightweight roster.

In his debut, he will be taking on Joilton Lutterbach (34-8). There is a lot to be excited for when looking at the 2021 season for The Pro Fight League. Their lightweight division looks great this year and I’m excited to see just how this season plays out.

Anthony Pettis will make PFL debut against Clay Collard

The PFL debut is set for Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (24-10). The former UFC and WEC lightweight champion will make his debut with the promotion against Clay Collard (18-8, 1 NC). The matchup will take place on April 23rd.

Anthony Pettis closed out his UFC contract at the end of 2020. The UFC had tried to negotiate an extension with the former champion earlier in the year, however, Pettis wanted to bet on himself. Pettis won two straight to close 2020 and entered free agency.

Once he hit the market, it was known that he wasn’t returning to the UFC. Bellator and PFL instantly were in contact with the Pettis camp. Pettis’ younger brother, Sergio, is one of the best fighters in Bellator. They were seen as the early favorite to land Showtime.

However, not long after he became a free agent, Pettis signed an exclusive deal with PFL to compete in the 2021 season. The Pro Fight League really wanted Pettis and they made him a great offer to bring him in.

Pettis was just one of many big signings for PFL in the last year. After cancelling the 2020 season due to COVID, the promotion bolstered their rosters in order to have their biggest season yet in 2021.

Fun matchup to kick off the PFL lightweight season

Standing across from Anthony Pettis on April 23rd will be Clay Collard. Collard has had a very interesting career in combat sports. He was a four-fight veteran of the UFC and he’s put together a solid MMA resume.

However, he’s been known more for his boxing over the last couple of years. Since May of 2019, Collard has really just focused on his boxing. While PFL was on the sidelines over the last year, Collard was in the boxing ring.

Since 2019, Collard has boxed in 15 professional bouts. Several of those came under the Top Rank banner. He just fought last weekend against Maidel Sando and lost a decision. Now, Collard will turn his attention back to PFL and MMA.

This should be a fun matchup and it’s great matchmaking to kickoff the PFL lightweight season. We know how entertaining Anthony Pettis can be and we know how good the hands of Clay Collard are. Should be a very fun matchup in April.

PFL star Clay Collard looks to close 2020 with a bang

Clay Collard decided to take advantage of every opportunity presented before him during a tumultuous time.

Collard will begin his quest for the largest paycheck in mixed martial arts when the Professional Fighters League returns in 2021 and will also look to close out 2020 in convincing fashion inside another arena.

The dual-sport megastar seeks his sixth consecutive win as a professional boxer when he competes this Saturday for Top Rank Boxing on the ESPN+ Shakur Stevenson vs. Toka Khan Clary card.

Collard will face Quincy LaVallais in Las Vegas from The Bubble, MGM Grand Convention Center. The bout will take place at 160 pounds and is scheduled for eight rounds.

Since January, Collard has been on a roll, racking up five wins in an eight-month span, including three stoppages. He is coming off a second-round knockout over Maurice Williams, in which he showed off his incredible boxing skills in a short amount of time.

“It’s been amazing,” Collard said during a recent Q&A hosted by Fight Hub TV. “I am fighting often, fighting tough opponents and loving all of the fans and love I have been getting from them. It’s just exciting.”

Collard has always shown his ability to adapt and thrive. He has competed in three different MMA weight classes and will focus on fighting at lightweight when the PFL’s 2021 Regular Season kicks off in a matter of months.

Collard has posted an 18-8 record inside the cage, including back-to-back victories just before signing with the PFL. He is 9-2-3 as a professional boxer.

“I want to keep dabbling in both,” Collard said. “I feel like it sets me apart from other fighters. I’m a striker, and I’m going to box regardless. (In MMA training) I am working my takedown defense and getting back up off the ground to get where I am comfortable, and that is to punch people in the face.”

This is not the first time Collard and LaVallais have squared off. Back in 2019, they battled to a draw. The two were also scheduled to meet in October before having the rematch delayed.