Former WEC and UFC lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis has his welcoming party nailed down for his promotional debut under the PFL (Professional Fighters League) banner on April 23.
Headlining the event, Pettis draws fellow former UFC feature, professional boxer, Clay Collard in his first outing to boot — as the pair open up the 2021 lightweight tournament.
Also featured on the card is former two-time PFL 155-pound titleholder, Natan Schulte who clashes with former UFC, Bellator, and ACA grappling talent, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Marcin Held in a co-main event slot.
Opening the event’s four-fight main card as the PFL return to a schedule for the first time since December 2019 amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, featherweight kingpin, Lance Palmer clashes with another promotional newcomer, former Brave CF titleholder, Bubba Jenkins.
Recent Dana White’s Contender Series alum, Manchester standout, Brendan Loughnane also makes his return, hoping to make it six wins on the trot as he opens the event against former UFC featherweight contender, Sheymon Moraes. Another former Octagon talent also lands on the card as Canada’s, Olivier Aubin-Mercier clashes with Joliton Lutterbach on the ESPN+ portion of the event. (H/T MMA Fighting)
Inking terms with the promotion following a nine-year stay under the UFC’s bannerPettis, Milwaukee favourite, Pettis tested free-agency after his unanimous decision victory over the Alex Morono in December last at UFC Vegas 17.
Pettis joins a list of hugely-recognisable acquisitions for the promotion recently, linking up with the likes of former UFC heavyweight champion, Fabricio Werdum, as well as Olympic gold medalist and boxing world champion, Claressa Shields.
A former UFC lightweight titleholder, Pettis submitted fellow grappling ace, Benson Henderson at UFC 164 in August of 2013 to claim the throne, before knocking back former Strikeforce gold holder, Gilbert Melendez with a second round guillotine at UFC 181 in December of 2014 in his sole successful title defence.
Making his return to mixed martial arts for the first time since April of 2019, three-fight UFC veteran, Collard returned his hand to professional boxing in May of that year — establishing a commendable 9-3-3 professional résumé since then.
18-8(1) as a professional mixed martial artist, Collard is currently riding a two-fight winning run, dropping his UFC debut to former featherweight kingpin, common-foe, Max Holloway back in August of 2014. In his sole promotional win, Collard took a judging victory over Alex White before decision losses to both Gabriel Benitez and Tiago Trator.