The Professional Fighters League, the fastest growing and most innovative sports league, kicks off their 2022 Regular Season tonight on ESPN and ESPN+ with PFL 1, featuring the lightweight and light heavyweight divisions. PFL 1 takes place live at Esports Stadium Arlington in Arlington, Texas.
Tonight’s main event features lightweights “Cassius” Clay Collard and Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens.
Following last season’s incredible run that saw Collard come within two wins of a PFL Lightweight Championship, “Cassius” once again has gold in his sights. Coming into tonight, Collard has won four of his last five bouts.
Stephens is making his highly anticipated PFL debut tonight. Over 14 years and 34 fights, Stephens collected 15 victories against some of the best fighters in the world including Rafael Dos Anjos, Renan Barao, and Gilbert Melendez.
In the co-main event, 2021 PFL Lightweight Champion Raush “War Horse” Manfio begins the road to a second straight PFL World Title against Don “Magic Man” Madge.
In 2021 Manfio came in as an alternate who had been inactive for nearly three years, the Brazilian shocked the world by going unbeaten, including wins over Clay Collard and Anthony Pettis, on his way to a PFL World Championship and a million-dollar payday. This year, he aims to join the likes of Ray Cooper III, Natan Schulte, Lance Palmer, and Kayla Harrison as the only two-time PFL World Champions.
A highly touted prospect out of South Africa, Madge made an immediate impact in his PFL debut, submitting Nathan Williams in two rounds. Tonight, Madge makes his lightweight tournament debut, and faces a tough test in the form of last year’s lightweight king.
Also on the card, 2021 PFL Light Heavyweight Champion Antonio “Shoeface” Carlos Jr. begins his quest for back-to-back championships against newcomer Delan Monte.
One of the PFL’s notable recruits prior to the 2021 season, Brazil’s Carlos Jr. immediately proved his mettle with a first-round submission over Tom Lawlor in his league debut. Carlos Jr. continued to dominate throughout the 2021 season, defeating former champion Emiliano Sordi and Marthin Hamlet en route to a PFL World Championship. Carlos Jr. enters tonight’s fight unbeaten in his last four bouts.
Brazil’s Monte will look to keep his 100% stoppage rate intact when he makes his PFL debut. The former GFC Light Heavyweight Champion comes in with an impressive 8-1 record, with all his wins coming by way of finish. Monte is riding a three-fight winning streak he will try to extend that at the expense of last year’s champion.
PFL 1 2022 FULL FIGHT CARD:
Clay Collard vs. Jeremy Stephens
Raush Manfio vs. Don Madge
Antonio Carlos Jr. vs. Delan Monte
Natan Schulte vs. Oliver Aubin-Mercier
Emiliano Sordi vs. Corey Hendricks
Alexander Martinez vs. Stevie Ray
Marthin Hamlet vs. Teodoras Aukštuolis
Omari Akhmedov vs. Viktor Pešta
Rob Wilkinson vs. Bruce Souto
Light Heavyweight (Non-Season Bout):
Simeon Powell vs. Clinton Williams