When the lightweight battle between Clay Collard and Jeremy Stephens was placed above the bout featuring defending champion Raush Manfio on the PFL 1 fight card, some eyebrows were raised. But the two veteran strikers showed exactly why they warranted their main event slot as they served up a superb scrap to kick off the PFL’s 2022 season.
Collard and Stephens went back and forth over the full three-round distance, with “Cassius” Clay taking the victory by winning all three rounds on all three scorecards.
Despite having to play second fiddle to Collard and Stephens, Manfio made sure he left a lasting impression in his co-main event appearance. The defending 155-pound champ finished South African contender Don Madge via third-round TKO to get his campaign off to a winning start.
Light heavyweight champion Antonio Carlos Junior also delivered an impressive performance, as he finished fellow Brazilian with a D’Arce choke submission after just 29 seconds to claim maximum points.
But it wasn’t as good a night for two former PFL champions, with former two-time lightweight champion Natan Schulte and former light heavyweight champ Emiliano Sordi both losing out in their respective 2022 season openers.
Schulte was narrowly edged out by split decision by Canada’s Olivier Aubin-Mercier, while Sordi was finished via second-round TKO by Cory Hendricks.
There was also a huge knockout earlier in the card from Russian light heavyweight Omari Akhmedov, who flattened Viktor Pesta with a huge punch just 85 seconds into his 205-pound clash.
PFL 1: Official Results
- Clay Collard def. Jeremy Stephens via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Raush Manfio def. Don Madge via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 2:42
- Antonio Carlos Junior def. Delan Monte via submission (D’Arce choke) – Round 1, 0:29
- Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Natan Schulte via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Cory Hendricks def. Emiliano Sordi via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:13
- Alex Martinez def. Stevie Ray via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
- Marthin Hamlet def. Teodoras Aukstuolis via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Omari Akhmedov def. Viktor Pesta via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 1:25
- Rob Wilkinson def. Bruce Souto via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 0:46
- Simeon Powell def. Clinton Williams via knockout (knee) – Round 3, 4:38