Clay Collard makes his second PFL Playoff appearance here, having previously reached the semifinals in 2021 before losing to eventual champion Raush Manfio. After missing the postseason in 2022, Collard came back in a big way with a decision win over Yamato Nishikawa and a second-round stoppage of Stevie Ray.
A free-agency splash was made last year when Shane Burgos signed with the PFL. After his planned debut was postponed due to injury, Burgos made his first PFL appearance in April, losing to defending Lightweight World Champion Olivier Aubin-Mercier. Burgos, who competes in his native New York tonight, rebounded with a decision win over Nishikawa and now aims for a PFL World Championship in his debut season.
Who will advance and take on Olivier Aubin-Mercier for the 2023 PFL Lightweight World Championship?
Collard works the jab to start. Burgos comes forward with leg kicks. Combination from Collard. Both land low kicks. Three-punch combination missed by Collard. Low kick by Burgos. Collard with a left hand. Collard with a low kick and a combination. Burgos lands a quick shot to the body as Collard slips. Burgos tries to get to the back, but Burgos gets Collard’s back to the fence. Collard breaks out of the clinch with Burgos and brings it back to the center with his punching. Burgos with a one-two and Collard misses an uppercut. Small combination by Collard. To the body and then the head by Collard. Each lands to the body.
The two trade in the pocket, as Collard works the left hook. Low kick by Burgos. Left hand from Collard. Collard loses his balance again and rolls back. Collard brings some pressure to Burgos. Low kick by Burgos. Collard works his boxing to the body of Burgos. Another leg kick by Burgos. A right and a left from Collard. Burgos with another low kick. Right hand by Collard. Burgos with a low kick that roughs up one of Collard’s legs. Collard with two shots to the body. Collard pressures Burgos up against the fence. A big left rocks Burgos. Burgos is being backed up by Collars’s boxing. Burgos recovers by the end of the round, but Collard is in complete control.
Front kick by Burgos. Low kick by Colard. Burgos presses forward as the two exchange. Burgos lands a leg kick as Collard works Burgos’s body some more. Collard lands a left and then follows with four hard shots on Burgos’s chin! Collard lands two shots to the body. A low kick by Burgos. Collard continues to press forward and box. The two trade near the fence, with Collard missing a spinning backfist but landing a left hook. Burgos lands upstairs. The two trade again, and Burgos is wearing the damage. Right hand to the body by Burgos hurt Collard. Collard answers back with a left.
Collard clips Burgos with a right hand. Left hook by Collard. Burgos rips to the body. Low kick by Burgos. Another low kick drops Collard! Collard gets back up. The two trade and Collard drops Burgos with a left hook! Collard gets on top as Burgos throws up the guard! Collard lands on top. Collard separates briefly but gets back to work. Burgos rolls through and gets back to his feet, and he’s now pressing Collard against the SmartCage! Burgos gets to Collard’s back in the clinch battle. Collard throws some punches to the head in his position. Burgos pins Collard against the fence before the two separate with about 15 seconds left. The two do some trading before the bell.
Collard starts the round with control, continuing to use his boxing as Burgos continues to press forward. Both land to the body. Burgos lands a couple of more shots to the body. Right hand by Burgos. Inside low kick by Burgos. The two exchange. Burgos lands a combination to the body. High kick by Burgos. Small combination by Burgos. Collard with a small combination. Burgos with a right hand to the body. Burgos with a kick. Collard shoots for a single but Burgos shakes him off and wags a finger at him! Low kicks by Burgos. Left hand by Collard.
Burgos lands a big right hand! And another! Low kick by Burgos, Collard answers with a left! Collard lands a right hand! Burgos clinches Collard’s back and takes him down. Collard back to his feet as the two battle near the fence. Kick to the body by Burgos. The two trade close. Right hand by Collard. Low kick by Burgos. Right hand by Collard. Burgos answers. Low kick by Collard. And again. Body kick by Collard. Collard lands to the body with a combination. Low kick by Burgos. Body kick by Burgos. Hook by Collard. Burgos with another low kick. Another low kick, but Collard avoids Burgos’s punches. Right hand by Collard! The two exchange! Body kick by Burgos! The two trade in the closing seconds! The bell sounds! What a war!!!
Clay Collard def. Shane Burgos via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)