PFL hosted the initial event of their 2021 season, April 23rd, and delivered a night of exceptional talent featured in a card full of exciting fights. With PFL's unusual format - the only professional MMA league - fighters have more incentives to deliver outstanding performances than those of any other MMA platform.
In the main event, "Cassius" Clay Collard pulled off the upset of the night, dominating former UFC & WEC Lightweight Champion Anthony "Showtime" Pettis. Collard (19-8 10KO) pressured Pettis (24-11 8KO) for nearly the entire fight, scoring two knockdowns over "Showtime" mixed with some withering bodywork. The tools he gained from his boxing career were apparent as he stifled nearly every attempt Pettis made to get himself going.
In the third round, however, Pettis landed a beautiful head kick, scoring a knockdown of his own. He jumped on "Cassius" for the finish, but he ran out of time as the final bell rang. Collard was awarded the unanimous decision victory and three points to start PFL's 2021 season
This was Pettis' PFL debut, since signing to the league in December of 2020. Pettis still has an opportunity to accomplish his goal of becoming the PFL Lightweight Champion of 2021 but needs an incredible season.
In the last fight of the undercard, Manchester, England's Brendan Loughnane made the biggest statement of the night, earning a first-round knockout over his opponent, Sheymon Moraes. Moraes (11-5 6KO) had previously considered retirement, but the chance to compete in PFL's 2021 season gave him the drive to continue.
Loughnane (20-3 11KO) rushed out to the middle of the cage following the opening bell and didn't waste any time. He landed early and often, getting whatever he wanted, before landing a right hand that dropped Moraes while his back was against the cage. Moraes returned to his feet, but obviously hadn't fully recovered. Shortly after, Loughnane landed another right hand that sent Moraes to the canvas, again, before the referee jumped in to stop the fight.
The card was full of fireworks and delivered everything PFL promoters promised. After the event, Senior Vice President Loren Mack was vocally proud of how well the event went. "I believe we have the greatest fighters in the world," he said. "I don't pay attention to the rankings or any of that."
Full Card Results
Alex Martinez (8-0 2KO) def. Loik Radzhabov (13-3 6KO) via Split Decision
Tyler Diamond (12-1 5KO) def. Sung Bin Jo (9-2 5KO) via Unanimous Decision
Chris Wade (18-6) def. Anthony Dizy (13-4 5KO) via Unanimous Decision
Akhmet Aliev (20-6 11KO) def. Mikhail Odintsov (18-3 6KO) via Unanimous Decision
Raush Manfio (12-3 7KO) def. Joilton Lutterbach (34-9 12KO) via Split Decision
Brendan Loughnane (20-3 11KO) def. Sheymon Moraes (11-5 12KO) via KO RD 1
Bubba Jenkins (15-4 6KO) def. Lance Palmer (22-4 1KO) via Unanimous Decision
Movlid Khaybulaev (16-0-1 6KO) def. Lazar Stojadinovic (14-8 3KO) via Unanimous Decision
Marcin Held (27-7 4KO) def. Natan Schulte (20-4 4KO) via Unanimous Decision
Clay Collard (19-8 10KO) def. Anthony Pettis (24-11 8KO) via Unanimous Decision