Even though the 2021 PFL championship is months away, the range of fighting seen in the first Lightweight matchup on April 23 is already giving us an incredible view into the potential contenders for this year’s final.
May 6 will have Round 1 Heavyweights going to battle on ESPN from 7 – 11 pm ET (4 – 8 pm PT). The Preliminary fights take place before the main ESPN Card and can be streamed via ESPN+ starting at 5.30 pm ET (2.30 pm PT).
Here’s what we took away from the first Lightweight matches of the 2021 season:
Arm Strikes Landed Can Make or Break Your Victory
This season’s lightweight Main Card opener between Anthony Pettis and Clay Collard showed Collard at his finest. Landing 113 out of 160 attempted strikes (as opposed to a 51/75 ratio for Pettis), Collard decimated Pettis in number of strikes, even though Pettis bested him on fastest strike speed (21.2 mph vs Collards 20.8 mph). Neither was knocked out or submitted, but Collard emerged as the clear winner by decision, receiving 3 points.
In the second Main Card fight of the night, upsetting the 2019 Lightweight Champion Natan Schulte was Marcin Held of Belarus, who won in a Round 3 decision. Held received 3 points for his win, and bested in arm strikes landed (103 vs. Schulte’s 68) as well as top strike speed (a whopping 24.3 mph to Schulte’s 16.9 mph).
Matches seem to be decided with decisions instead of TKOs or submissions.
Both Main Card fights from Round 1 of Lightweights were won by decision, signalling a distinct difference from Round 1 of the 2019 season, in which Natan Schulte won in a first round submission. Overall, fights are lasting longer and opponents, it seems, are evenly matched.
The Winner of the First Lightweight Match in 2019 Won the Championship
During the 2019 Lightweight Season opener, Natan Schulte emerged victorious over Bao Yincang, going on to win the Lightweight Championship. What does this mean 2021 first round winners Clay Collard and Nathan Held? Die-hard fans will have to wait until the next matchups are announced before making any bets, but the competition will be steep. Tune in to Round 1 of the Heavyweight matchups on May 6th (and check out our preview here [ blog 5 ]
MMA fans can watch all of the PFL1’s Main Card Heavyweight Fights on ESPN from 7 – 11 pm ET (4 – 8 pm PT). The Preliminary fights take place before the main ESPN Card and can be streamed via ESPN+ starting at 5.30 pm ET (2.30 pm PT).
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