City of La Quinta:
The Professional Fighters League returns to action for the first time in what feels like forever with the first fight of their third season. Fighters will compete to earn their way to a $1 million prize at the end of the season.
Watch Here:: Clay Collard vs Anthony Pettis Live
Watch Here:: Clay Collard vs Anthony Pettis Live
First up is newly signed PFL fighter, Anthony Pettis who makes his debut after leaving the UFC. He’ll be fighting Clay Collard in the final fight of the night.
The Professional Fighters League makes its return this Friday after taking all of 2020 off. PFL 1: 2021 Regular Season features the start of the season for both the featherweight and lightweight divisions. Headlining the card is a lightweight bout between former Ultimate Fighting Championship champion Anthony Pettis against Clay Collard, with the latter returning to mixed martial arts after a memorable foray into boxing. One fighter did miss weight: Mikhail Odintsov, who is now unable to earn playoff points if he wins on Saturday.
This is the first fight for Pettis (24-10) outside of the UFC. He exits the organization on a two-fight win streak, having picked up decision wins over Alex Morono and Donald Cerrone. “Showtime” will look to add another highlight to his already impressive resume, and grow his legacy inside the PFL. The 34-year-old officially stepped on the scales at 156 pounds.
After having its 2020 season effectively scrapped due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the Professional Fighters League (PFL) is back. All the action begins with the first PFL event of the 2021 season on April 23, featuring two of the promotion’s biggest acquisitions — former UFC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis and fellow UFC vet Clay Collard — in the main event.
Pettis won the UFC’s 155-pound title by submitting Benson Henderson, the same man he defeated to become the final WEC champion, at UFC 164. Pettis retained the title against Gilbert Melendez at UFC 181 but dropped the title to Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 185.
Pettis’ UFC tenure ended by winning six of his last 11 fights. Among the notable bouts in that span include an upset victory over Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (in which he became the first to KO Thompson), a decision loss to Nate Diaz in Diaz’s first fight in three years and ending his run with back-to-back wins over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Alex Morono.
Collard’s UFC tenure began in 2014 with a loss to Max Holloway. He’d defeat Alex White at UFC 181 but parted ways with the promotion after decision losses to Gabriel Benitez and Tiago Trator. After over two years away from MMA, Collard competed in SteelFist Fight Night and Final Fight Championship in 2018 and 2019, winning four of five, with the only losses in that span coming to current UFC fighter Darrick Minner.
Collard, however, began to focus more on boxing in 2019. Currently holding a 9-4-3 record in that sport, Collard received attention for fighting often in 2020, scoring decisions over Quashawn Toler and David Kaminsky, as well as finishes of Raymond Guajardo, Lorawnt T. Nelson and Maurice Williams. Collard’s last fight of 2020 and only boxing match of 2021 ended in decision losses to, respectively, Quincy LaVallais and Maidel Sando.
Who will win at PFL 1: Anthony Pettis or Clay Collard?
Collard will have an inch in height over Pettis, as well as half-an-inch in reach. Of course, Pettis will have the experience edge by far.
It will be interesting to see how Collard has done in making the transition back to the cage — more so, the big MMA spotlight. Collard may have certainly worked on his ground game, but he is, and always has been, a much better striker. He’ll need to pick his moments against Pettis, but once he does, it’s those moments where he needs to unleash his hands.
Similarly, Pettis has slick submission skills and can hold his own on the ground, but he’s definitely better known for his strikes, especially his kicks. For Pettis, he needs to keep his distance to be able to land those big kicks and significant strikes, he needs to use outpace and out-control Collard in the fight and he needs to be quicker than Collard to avoid the boxer’s attacks.
As long as Pettis uses his experience to his advantage, this should be a solid 3+ points for him to kick off the 2021 PFL season.
Follow along with FanSided MMA all night for live results and highlights throughout the night. Former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis has been taken down a staggering 45 times in his UFC career, which started with five takedowns in his debut loss to Clay Guida at TUF 13 Finale all the way back in June 2011.
While that might sound like the blueprint to canceling “Showtime,” fellow UFC export Clay Collard won’t be wasting time with his wrestling game when they lock horns in the PFL 2021 season opener on April 23 in Atlantic City.
UFC Quick Quote: Anthony Pettis couldn’t ‘get off his back’ in loss to Clay Guida
We’re just a day away from the return of the Professional Fighters League (PFL) and the launch of its 2021 season, as PFL 1 is topped by a battle of UFC veterans in Anthony Pettis and Clay Collard.
Before they can enter the PFL decagon, however, Pettis, Collard and the rest of the PFL 1 participants must first get through the official weigh-ins.
The first event of the 2021 PFL season will feature combatants from the featherweight and lightweight divisions.
Bear in mind that if a fighter misses weight, he will automatically be given a one-point penalty in the standings and be ineligible to earn any points if their fight goes on as planned. If their fight is scrapped, their opponent will receive an automatic three points in a “walkover win.”
Pettis, who had been trading wins and losses over the last five years, ended his UFC run with back-to-back decision wins over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Alex Morono.
Collard’s last MMA fight came in April 2019 with a decision win over Randall Wallace. Over the last couple of years, Collard has been focusing on boxing, winning five straight fights in 2020 before a loss to Quincy LaVallais at the end of the year and to Maidel Sando in February 2021.
Also in action will be both defending two-time PFL champions Lance Palmer and Natan Schulte.
“No, I’m gonna go out there and fight my fight,” Collard told reporters at today’s PFL media day. “If it goes there, I’m prepared, but everybody knows what I like to do and that’s punch people in the face. I’m trying to punch Anthony in the face. Don’t blink, we could very easily be seeing knockouts.”
Collard (18-8, 1 NC), who holds a professional boxing record of 9-4 with four knockouts, is coming off back-to-back wins over Randall Wallace and Lucas Montoya on the regional circuit. “Cassius” has now won four of his last five and looks to parlay that success into a lightweight championship — and $1 million prize — later this year.