Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis loses in PFL debut

Anthony Pettis lost to Cassius Collard in his Professional Fighters League debut on Friday
Anthony Pettis lost to Cassius Collard in his Professional Fighters League debut on Friday

Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis lost his PFL (Professional Fighters League) debut on Friday. Former UFC fighter Clay Collard handed "Showtime" the eleventh loss of his pro-MMA career. The lightweight bout headlined PFL 1, kicking off the promotion's regular season for 2021.

"Cassius" Clay Collard was mostly dominant throughout the match, pushing the pace against Anthony Pettis from the get-go. In round two, Collard stunned and dropped Pettis on multiple occasions. However, it appeared that due to an injured hand, the pro boxer could not follow up and finish the former UFC star.

The tide seemed to turn in round three when Anthony Pettis landed a head kick, followed by a staggering knee. But Cassius Collard pushed through the onslaught and pulled guard, making it to the final bell.

Clay Collard, a +390 underdog, ultimately claimed an upset victory via a unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-28). This was Collard's first pro MMA bout in three years. Collard's last MMA outing was against Randall Wallace at the Final Fight Championship 35 in April 2019.

Anthony Pettis' opponent Clay Collard had a triumphant stint as a professional boxer

Clay Collard saw a resurgence in his combat sports career with consecutive wins in professional boxing. "Cassius" had a short, yet dominant pro boxing run in 2020. Collard amassed a stellar record of 5-1, pocketing victories over rising prospects like Raymond Guajardo and David Kaminsky.

"I didn't think I would blow up this big, I didn't think I'd get this much publicity from it," admitted Collard to ESPN. "I mean, boxing's huge, it's been around way longer than MMA, so there's a lot of fans in boxing. I didn't realize how much publicity you could get just boxing, just because it wasn't my sport at the time. But now, I love it."

Collard also had a short stint in the UFC. In 2014, Collard fought Max Holloway in his promotional debut. The Hawaiian won the match via third-round TKO and Collard was eventually released from the roster.

Edited by Ryan Droste
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