PFL has announced the lineup for their first event of 2021, which will see the promotion’s lightweight and featherweight divisions kick off their season. The April 23rd event will be the first of six regular-season events being held by the promotion.
The location for PFL 1 is not known currently.
Former UFC Champ Pettis To Headline Against Collard
Former UFC Champion Anthony Pettis is expected to headline the first event against Clay Collard. Pettis will be making his PFL debut after spending a decade in the UFC.
Pettis will enter the bout on a two-fight win streak, as he picked up decision victories over Donald Cerrone and Alex Morono in 2020. He was noted as one of the bigger signings during PFL’s offseason last year, including others like Rory MacDonald and Fabricio Werdum.
Collard will be making his return to MMA after a busy stint as a boxer. The former UFC fighter competed in six boxing fights last year, winning five of his bouts. His last bout was just three days ago, where he lost a decision to Maidel Sando.
PFL Champ Schulte Returns Against Held
Looking to win his third PFL season, lightweight Natan Schulte will compete in the co-main event of the card against Marcin Held. Schulte has put together an impressive record through the last two PFL seasons, now being undefeated through 10 bouts.
Schulte’s last fight was in December of 2019, where he defeated Loik Radzhabov via decision.
Held, a former UFC fighter, will be making his PFL debut in the bout. He will enter his fight in April on a four-fight win streak that includes the last bout of his UFC run.
Undefeated Featherweights Khaybulaev and Soares To Clash
Two undefeated featherweights will collide on the main card, as Movlid Khaybulaev will fight Jason Soares.
Khaybulaev will be returning for his second PFL season. His previous showing saw him pick up a flying knee knockout, fight another bout to a draw and compete against Daniel Pineda in a match that would be later overturned to a no contest.
Khaybulaev fought once during PFL’s offseason, defeating Zaka Fatullazade on a UAE Warriors card.
Soares will enter the 2021 season after a strong run on the regional scene. The longtime Titan FC Welterweight Champion held down his division within the promotion for two years, defending the belt three times after claiming it from Luis Gomez in 2018.
Palmer Kicks Off Main Card Against Jenkins
PFL Featherweight Champion Lance Palmer will kick off the main card in a fight against Bubba Jenkins.
Like lightweight champ Schulte, Palmer will be looking to win his third consecutive PFL season. Palmer is currently on an 11-fight win streak that includes two five-round decision wins.
Jenkins enters PFL after claiming the Brave CF Featherweight Championship in 2019. The former long-time Bellator fighter is currently on a three-fight win streak.
Notable Returns And Debuts on Preliminary Card
PFL’s six-fight preliminary card currently has five matchups announced for it at the moment. Among the names listed are notable returning acts and big names making their promotional debuts.
2019 PFL finalist Loik Radzhabov will look once again to win a season, as he starts his 2021 schedule against former RIZIN fighter Johnny Case. The fight will be Case’s return to PFL, as he had competed briefly during their inaugural 2018 season.
Departing the UFC after a 12-fight run in the promotion, Olivier Aubin-Mercier will compete against Joilton Lutterbach on the prelims. Lutterbach brings experience to the cage, as he has over 40 fights on his pro record.
Mikhail Odintsov’s PFL run will begin against returning contender Akhmet Aliev. Odintsov earned his PFL spot in 2020, defeating two opponents in a one-night tournament to be offered a contract.
Main Card (9:00PM EST) (ESPN 2)
Bout 10: Anthony Pettis (24-10) vs. Clay Collard (18-8) (Lightweight)
Bout 9: Natan Schulte (20-3-1) vs. Marcin Held (26-7) (Lightweight)
Bout 8: Movlid Khaybulaev (15-0-1) vs. Jason Soares (14-0) (Featherweight)
Bout 7: Lance Palmer (22-3) vs. Bubba Jenkins (14-4) (Featherweight)
Preliminary Card (5:30PM EST) (ESPN+)
Bout 6: Loik Radzhabov (13-2-1) vs. Johnny Case (27-7-1) (Lightweight)
Bout 5: Joilton Lutterbach (34-8) vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier (11-5) (Lightweight)
Bout 4: Akhmet Aliev (19-6) vs. Mikhail Odintsov (18-2) (Lightweight)
Bout 3: Jo Sungbin (9-1) vs. Tyler Diamond (11-1) (Featherweight)
Bout 2: Brendan Loughnane (19-3) vs. Sheymon Moraes (11-4) (Featherweight)
Bout 1: TBA vs. TBA