Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Anthony Pettis & Jeremy Stephens Feature As PFL 1 Pairings Announced

The Professional Fighters League is set to return with a bang on April 20 as the light heavyweights and lightweights take center stage for PFL 1.

After a successful 2021 season, which came after the postponement of the previous lineup due to COVID-19, the PFL is looking to go even better with its fourth season in the sport.

To do so, the rising promotion has bolstered its ranks with a number of new faces, some of which will be on display right from the off when the 155 and 205lbers look to open the season with a bang next month.

The card, which was confirmed by the promotion on Tuesday, includes a host of widely-recognized names and intriguing clashes.

On the ESPN+ card, slated for 5:30PM ET, long-time UFC veteran Stevie Ray (22-9) will enter the cage for the first time since 2019. The Scotsman, who has faced the likes of Michael Johnson, Paul Felder, and Joe Lauzon during his 32-fight career, has come out of retirement for the 2022 PFL lightweight season. He’ll face Alexander Martinez (8-2), who went 1-2 in last year’s competition.

Elsewhere, former UFC middleweight Omari Akhmedov (21-7) hopes to make up for his unsuccessful PFL debut at last year’s finale when he opens his first full 205-pound season against former GCF heavyweight champion Viktor Pešta (18-6). Olivier Aubin-Mercier (13-5), meanwhile, will hope to keep his perfect PFL record intact as his season gets underway against a yet-to-be-announced 155-pound opponent.

At 9:00 PM ET, four quality bouts are set to grace ESPN and ESPN+. Clay Collard (20-9-1), who recorded a victory over Anthony Pettis last year before falling in the lightweight semifinals, will welcome renowned MMA veteran Jeremy Stephens (28-19-1) to the PFL cage. “Lil Heathen” has made the move over from the UFC, where he shared the Octagon with names like Josh Emmett, Renan Barão, Max Holloway, Yair Rodriguez, José Aldo, Frankie Edgar, and Charles Oliveira.

2021 PFL Light Heavyweight Champion Antonio Carlos Jr. (13-5-2) also has his pairing set. He’ll hope to follow in the footsteps of Kayla Harrison and record back-to-back titles. His journey to doing so begins against his compatriot Delan Monte (8-1). Another 2021 champion in action will be lightweight king Raush Manfio. To start his defense of last year’s championship on the right foot, “Cavalo de Guerra” has to dispatch South Africa’s Don Madge (10-3-1), who is riding a seven-fight win streak into this year’s season.

Finally, hoping to make up for a lackluster 0-2 arrival in PFL last year, former UFC lightweight champion Pettis (24-12) has been dealt the hand of Ireland’s Myles Price (11-7), who enters his first PFL season having not competed since a 2019 victory over Peter Queally under the Bellator banner.

The announced PFL 1 card is currently as follows:

5:30PM ET/ESPN +

Alexander Martinez vs. Stevie Ray (lightweight)

Robert Wilkinson vs. Bruce Souto (light heavyweight)

Omari Akhmedov vs. Viktor Pešta (light heavyweight)

Marthin Hamlet vs. Teodoras Aukstuolis (light heavyweight)

Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. TBA (lightweight)

Emiliano Sordi vs. Josh Silveira (light heavyweight)

9PM ET/ESPN & ESPN+

Clay Collard vs. Jeremy Stephens (lightweight)

Antonio Carlos Jr. vs. Delan Monte (light heavyweight)

Anthony Pettis vs. Myles Price (lightweight)

Raush Manfio vs. Don Madge (lightweight)

Which fight are you most looking forward to seeing go down at PFL 1 on April 20?

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