The Professional Fighters League (PFL) made its anticipated 2021 season debut tonight at Ocean City Casino resort, in Atlantic City, N.J. The ten-fight event featured a statement win from the underdog Clay Collard over former world champion Anthony Pettis, a dominating performance by Bubba Jenkins, and a first round knockout by Brendan Loughnane.
Coming in as a significant underdog, Collard pulled off the upset and defeated the preseason division favorite Pettis, landing notable several significant strikes and winning his PFL debut. In a night full of upsets, Marcin Held handed two-time PFL lightweight champion Natan Schulte his first PFL loss by decision. Jenkins kicked off the action by taking down the two-time PFL champion Lance Palmer, with the challenger landing a flurry of body shots combined with lethal takedowns, handing Palmer his first loss in the PFL.
“The PFL regular season, playoffs and championship format is back and better than ever,” said Ray Sefo, President of Fighter Operations of the PFL. “Our Lightweight and Featherweight fighters opened the 2021 season with a bang and showcased their athleticism, determination, and will to win, giving our viewers worldwide a glimpse of what’s to come this season. The major upsets displayed tonight demonstrates what the PFL is all about, it’s more than a fight, it’s a season and our fighters are hungrier than ever to punch their ticket to the playoffs. I look forward to seeing the same energy in next week’s matchups.”
Movlid Khaybulaev defeated Lazar Stojadinovic by unanimous decision. With an array of fierce punches, Khaybulaev remains unbeaten in his career, moving his record to 16-0-1, 1 no contest. Starting off with the undercard action, Alexander Martinez took down Loik Radzhaabov in a split decision to take the first Lightweight matchup of the night.
Tyler Diamond’s resilience was on full display against Jo Sungbin, after taking two major left hand shots, Diamond came back to win by unanimous decision. Completing two consecutive left knee shots to the face of Anthony Dizy, Chris Wade took care of Dizy and was declared winner by unanimous decision.
In the people’s main event voted by $PFL fan token holders on the blockchain-based fan engagement app, Socios, Brendan Loughnane defeated Sheymon Moraes with the season’s first official 1st round knockout (2:55), making it Loughnane’s 11th career knockout. Raush Manfio, who is best friends with 2-time PFL Lightweight Champ Natan Schulte, was awarded a win in his PFL debut by split decision against Joilton Lutterbach. After missing weight resulting in ineligibility to win any points in the bout, Mikhail Odintsov was defeated by unanimous decision to 2019 PFL lightweight semifinalist, Akhmed Aliev.
The PFL action returns to Ocean City Casino Resort on Thursday night, April 29, with the Welterweight and Lightweight division matchups. Top-10 ranked welterweight and world champion Rory MacDonald will make his highly anticipated PFL debut when he takes on Curtis Millender and the owner of the most dominant PFL season in history, Emiliano Sordi, will take on UFC and Glory veteran Chris Camozzi.