Clay Collard and defending champion Raush Manfio had big nights at PFL 1.
The event kicked off the 2022 regular season for the promotion live on ESPN and ESPN+.
In the headline bout, Collard downed Jeremy Stephens via decision. The fight was part of the lightweight regular season.
Using his boxing skills and striking, Collard swept all three rounds on all three scorecards vs. the debuting Stephens.
Manfio, the reigning 2021 champion, earned a third round finish of Don Madge in the co-main event.
“Tonight MMA’s only league, the Professional Fighters League, returned with the kickoff to the 2022 Regular Season and showcased why every fight counts in the PFL’s unique season format,” said Peter Murray, CEO of the PFL. “Our world-class fighters gave MMA fans around the world action and excitement that can only be seen in the PFL. We saw two returning champions continue their winning ways and I can’t wait to see what is in store at PFL 2.”
Antonio Carlos Junior, the reigning light heavyweight winner, submitted Delan Monte and Olivier Aubin-Mercier bested Natan Schulte.
Earning wins on the prelims were Cory Hendricks, Alexander Martinez, Marthin Hamlet, Omari Akhmedov, Rob Wilkinson and Simeon Powell.
“The kickoff to the 2022 PFL Regular Season was a night filled with can’t-miss action,” said Ray Sefo, President of Fighter Operations of the PFL. “Our Lightweight and Light Heavyweight fighters opened the season and showcased their athleticism, determination, and will to win. I look forward to seeing the same energy next week with the Heavyweights and Featherweights.”
PFL 2 takes place April 28 with Bruno Cappelozza battling Stuart Austin in heavyweight action.