2022 PFL 4 results: Alexander Martinez wins split decision over Clay Collard
Atlanta mixed martial arts fans were treated to Friday night when the first professional MMA event took place in over three years.
The Professional Fighters League (PFL) has announced a three-week trip to Atlanta to wrap up the second half of its 2022 season.
The first event highlighted both the lightweight and light heavyweight divisions, and with plenty of playoff spots up for grabs and plenty of big names competing on the card, Atlanta fans in got their money‘s worth.
But who stood up when the lights shone brightest? Let’s start with the lightweight division.
For the Paraguay native, PFL 4 offered something unique to his career, the main event fight against Clay Collard. Martinez knew the stakes were high as Collard was a favorite to win the 2022 PFL Lightweight Championship.
To add to the mountain that Martinez would face, both fighters entered the fight with three points and a win in their first fight of the season, meaning this fight was a “win and going into the playoffs.” or lose and have your season cut short” scenario.
When the cage doors closed and the fight began, fans quickly realized that both fighters had a strong sense of urgency from both fighters.
The first round saw Collard and Martinez go head-to-head in the pocket, trading important punches with each other. For most of the first round, Collard seemed to have the upper hand in the exchanges.
In round two, things picked up where they left off and Collard landed a left hook that sent Martinez crashing to the canvas. When fans thought the fight was about to be stopped, Martinez landed a takedown and brought Collard to the mat. Martinez would control Collard for the majority of the second round.
With each man winning a round, both showed their urgency in full in the third round.
In the end, Martinez brought the fight back to the mat, picked up a split decision win, and earned his spot in the playoffs.
“It was a win or go home scenario. That was it, and the loser can’t stand. You knew whoever wins moves on,” Martinez said in his post-fight interview.
Olivier Aubin Mercier
For Olivier Aubin-Mercier, his career in the PFL has had its ups and downs.
His 2021 season was cut short due to injury, despite being a playoff favorite. For him, the 2022 season was about reminding fans just how dominant he could be. The promotion allowed him to show it as he had to fight two of the toughest lightweights on the roster in Natan Schulte and 2021 PFL Lightweight Champion Raush Manfio.
After passing the first test with a split decision win over Schulte, Aubin-Mercier would need to knock out the former champion to earn a playoff berth.
Aubin-Mercier would do just that.
A unanimous decision victory (30-27, 30-27 and 29-28) gave the Canadian the three points he needed to clinch his ticket.
While the fight was highly technical and lacked consistent action, Aubin-Mercier believes it was his opponent who didn’t want to take any risks.
“It’s a weird feeling because I think it wasn’t my most exciting performance, but it was my easiest fight. I think Manfio knew he was in the tournament anyway, so he didn’t take any risk of injury next month. So I feel like he didn’t really commit,” Aubin Mercier said. “I mean, I won’t take any chances. The [are] a million dollars at the end of the tournament.
On the light heavyweight side, a man stole the show on Friday night.
The odds were high against Delan Monte entering this fight with 2019 PFL Light Heavyweight Champion Emiliano Sordi.
Monte was coming off a submission loss in his first fight of the season, dropping him to the bottom of the standings. Additionally, PFL newcomer Josh Silveira picked up six points just an hour before Monte moved into the octagon.
Monte came out with guns and pulled off the impossible. Just 90 seconds into the fight, Monte unleashed a flurry of punches that knocked Sordi out and forced him into cover.
Monte closed out the fight by raining down punches on his helpless opponent until the referee stopped the fight.
Monte got the six points he needed to leapfrog his division rival and fight his way into the playoffs. The Brazilian was overwhelmed with emotion when he learned he had been selected.
The PFL returns next Friday, June 23, at the OTE Arena. PFL 5 will feature the heavyweight and featherweight divisions, headlined by 2021 heavyweight champion Bruno Cappelozza.