Lightweight Bout: Anthony Pettis (24-10) vs. Clay Collard (18-8)
Luke Irwin: Collard was one of the boxing stories of the year in 2020, putting down up-and-comers with regularity. However, he hasn’t fought an MMA bout in over two years, and he’s fairly limited. Pettis may not have his fastball, but he’s still much more athletic and dynamic than Collard and should be able to outpoint him. Pettis via UD.
Lightweight Bout: Marcin Held (26-7) vs. Natan Schulte (20-3-1)
Luke: The reigning PFL lightweight champion, Schulte, returns against Held, who is bafflingly only 29 years old despite debuting in Bellator ten years ago. Held was a monster grappler in MMA when he was younger, but as he faced stiffer competition, and with fighters rounding out their skills, his grappling was able to be matched. He’s still a hard out, and can easily sub lesser opponents, but Schulte’s judo and submission game can be stifling and should be a matchup nightmare for Held. Schulte via UD.
Featherweight Bout: Lazar Stojadinovic (14-7) vs. Movlid Khaybulaev (15-0-1)
Luke: Movlid Khaybulaev is 2-2 in his last four, and was knocked out in those two losses. In Khaybulaev, you have a fighter who can get very creative with his striking, including a fondness for knees. Khaybulaev via R1 TKO.
Featherweight Bout: Bubba Jenkins (14-4) vs. Lance Palmer (22-3)
Luke: Palmer attempts to win his third consecutive PFL featherweight tournament, but in doing so, he must get past one of the best wrestlers he’s faced. But Jenkins, for as solidly a wrestler he is, is prone to getting caught in submissions when he’s not careful. Palmer, being a disciple of Alpha Male, probably still sees wrestling training in his sleep. Palmer via R3 Submission.
2021 Picks Record: 52-28 (65.0%)