The Professional Fighters League 2022 Season Launches with Lightweight and Light Heavyweight Fighters Live on ESPN on Wednesday, April 20

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The Professional Fighters League 2022 Season Launches with Lightweight and Light Heavyweight Fighters Live on ESPN on Wednesday, April 20

Heavy-handed Lightweights Clay Collard and Jeremy Stephens 

Square off in the Main Event 

  PFL 1 Live Wednesday, April 20, at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN+ (English and Spanish) 

The Action Continues on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 9 p.m. ET 

The Professional Fighters League (PFL), the fastest-growing and most innovative sports league, is set for its first Regular Season event of 2022 this Wednesday, April 20, on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+. Fighters across the lightweight and light heavyweight divisions will look to make a strong first impression and earn valuable points in their divisional standings.   

PFL 1 begins at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN+ (English and Spanish) then the action continues on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 9 p.m. ET.   

Clay Collard and Jeremy Stephens will headline the 10-fight slate in what will surely be a firefight between a pair of sluggers intent on earning bonus points for an early stoppage. Collard is out to avenge a razor-thin semifinal loss to eventual champion Raush Manfio, a decision with which he wholeheartedly disagreed. The boxing and MMA standout will take on former UFC lightweight Jeremy Stephens. A fellow KO-artist, Stephens has his name etched in the UFC record books with 34 fights (4th most), 10 fight night bonuses (10th most) and 18 knockdowns (tied for 2nd most).    

The 2021 Lightweight Champion Manfio returns in hopes of claiming a second crown. The Cinderella story the Brazilian authored in going 4-0 en route to earning his first major title was as heartwarming as it was unthinkable. He began the season as a 100-1 underdog to win the title but emerged as not only the champion but as one of the best lightweights in the world. He’ll take on South African newcomer Don Madge in a battle of top contenders for the 2022 title. Madge made his PFL debut in 2021 in a showcase fight that ended in a second-round submission and set him up as one of the new fighters to watch in the PFL’s lightweight division. Madge came to the PFL after a 2-0 stint in the UFC.    

Antonio Carlos Jr. returns to the PFL Light Heavyweight division in hopes of locking up a second title after his impressive run to the 2021 championship. The Brazilian known as Shoeface went undefeated in his first PFL campaign, capping it off with a $1M rear naked choke of Marthin Hamlet that cemented his place atop the 205-pound division. He will take on fellow Brazilian Delan Monte who comes to the PFL on a three-fight win streak. Monte was a Judo coach and training partner of Carlos Jr.’s early in their careers.   

Two-time PFL Lightweight Champion Natan Schulte will face off with “The Canadian Gangster” Olivier Aubin-Mercier to round out the main card. Schulte claimed the first two PFL lightweight titles before watching his best friend, Manfio, take home last year’s crown. He’ll be looking to become the first three-time champ in 2022. The Brazilian’s first hurdle will be long-time Georges St. Pierre training partner and 12-fight UFC veteran Aubin-Mercier. Aubin-Mercier will be looking to make his first playoff berth after coming up just short when an injury limited him to just one fight during the 2021 season.    

Calling the live action will be play-by-play announcer and former world champion Sean O’Connell. He’ll be joined by Hall-of-Famer and MMA legend Randy Couture and one of the most popular MMA personalities today, Kenny Florian.   

ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 9 p.m. 

Clay Collard vs. Jeremy Stephens 

Raush Manfio vs. Don Madge 

Antonio Carlos Jr. vs. Delan Monte 

Natan Schulte vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier 

ESPN+ Card at 6 p.m. 

Emiliano Sordi vs. Cory Hendricks 

Alexander Martinez vs. Stevie Ray 

Marthin Hamlet vs. Teodoras Aukstuolis 

Omari Akhmedov vs. Viktor Pesta 

Robert Wilkinson vs. Bruce Souto 

Simeon Powell vs. Clinton Williams (Showcase bout)  

About Professional Fighters League 

Professional Fighters League (PFL) is the fastest-growing and most innovative sports league.  PFL is the #2 MMA company worldwide and the only with the sports-season format where individual fighters compete in Regular Season, Playoffs, and Championship.    

PFL is aired in prime time in the U.S on ESPN and ESPN+ and was broadcast and streamed live worldwide last year to 160 countries with partners including RMC Sport, FPT, Sky Sport and more. The PFL roster is world-class, with 25% of PFL fighters independently ranked in the top 25 in the world. The PFL proprietary SmartCage data and analytics platform powers real-time betting and provides next-gen viewing experience.     

PFL has over two-dozen blue-chip brand sponsors such as Anheuser-Busch, IBM, GEICO, DraftKings, Bose,, Air Force Reserve, US Marine Corps, and more. PFL is backed by major investors including Ares Capital, Luxor Capital, Elysian Park Ventures, Swan Ventures, Knighthead, Legends, and several NBA, MLB, and NHL team owners.    

MMA is the growth sport of this decade, with 600 million fans worldwide, the youngest audience demo of any sport, and true global revenue streams.; Instagram (@PFLmma); Twitter (@PFLMMA); Facebook (/PFLmma)   


Contacts ESPN / ESPN+:
Santa Brito / [email protected] / 646-547-5602
Ardi Dwornik / [email protected] / 646-547-5612 

Paul Melvin / [email protected] / 860-766-5069
Kevin Ota / [email protected] / 860-766-9581 



Dave Nagle

As I write this on 11-11-21, it's now 35 years for me at ESPN, the only real job I’ve ever had. I joined merely to help with the America’s Cup for three months at all of $5.50 per hour. I like to say I simply kept showing up. I’ve worked on almost every sport, plus answered viewer calls and letters (people used to write!), given tours, written the company newsletter and once drove NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon to the local airport. My travels have been varied…I’ve been to Martinsville, Darlington, Indy and Super Bowls; the America’s Cup (all 3) in San Diego and College GameDay in the sport’s meccas such as Eugene, Auburn, Lubbock, Stillwater and more; the NBA Finals, Wimbledon (16 times and counting) and the “other Bristol,” the one with a race track in Tennessee. These days, my main areas are tennis, UFC, boxing, ratings, and corporate communications documents, including more than 30 of the Year in Review press releases.
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