PFL 1 2022: Jeremy Stephens and Clay Collard Engage in Back-and-Forth Brawl

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Clay Collard and Jeremy Stephens, PFL 1 2022PFL1 astatine the Esports Stadium Arlington successful Arlington, Texas, Wednesday, April 20, 2022. (Cooper Neill / PFL)

While helium didn’t triumph the championship, lightweight Clay Collard surely saw his banal emergence during the PFL’s 2021 season. As a result, he’d landed successful the main lawsuit astatine PFL 1, 2022 against promotional newcomer Jeremy Stephens.

After a lengthy vocation successful the UFC, “Lil Heathen” was warring successful a caller location for the archetypal clip successful good implicit a decade.

It was nary uncertainty small astonishment to longtime MMA fans, but Jeremy Stephens was swinging hard and dense aboriginal to unfastened up the PFL 1 main event. He would besides jab to the assemblage and occurrence a fig of debased kicks, pulling retired to an aboriginal lead. A close manus past appeared to wounded Clay Collard, but alternatively than screen up helium fired a operation close backmost astatine Stephens!

Collard would adhd successful a debased footwear of his own, rip the body, and occurrence a precocious footwear that was blocked. Collard went backmost to the body, occurrence his jab, past went body-head arsenic Stephens kept his defender high. Stephens landed a close manus by the ear, but Collard kept coming. An accidental headbutt past had Stephens complaining to the ref, which earned a clip out.

Back underway, Stephens took immoderate large swings, backing Collard up to the fence. It was a existent astonishment that neither antheral went down successful the speech that ensued; Stephens past began complaining astir different headbutt. Collard ripped the assemblage aft the ref fto them continue, past fired a leap knee, and Stephens was abruptly nether dense fire.

Late successful the round, Collard went aft a takedown, couldn’t onshore it, but fired a punch implicit the top, followed by a fewer hooks that forced Stephens to retreat. A clinch successful the dying seconds saw Collard landing much knees.

The 2nd circular opened with different foul, this clip a debased stroke by Stephens. Collard declined to instrumentality overmuch of a clip out. Instead, helium punched his mode in, landing a genu successful the clinch. Stephens fired a close manus that landed. Collard landed to the body. Another genu for Collard. Stephens went to the assemblage this time. Stephens past landed a immense close hand! Collard was hurt, Stephens moved successful for the kill, but someway Clay survived. He fired a fig of jabs and backed Stephens up; Stephens reversed and sunk successful an underhook. They’d break, and Collard was connected the onslaught again, much punches than not landing. Collard looked to leap successful with a knee, but landed short. A bully happening too, arsenic Stephens uncorked a monstrous uppercut that deed air. He’d get caught a infinitesimal later, past changed levels and concisely took “Lil Heathen” down.

Back connected the feet, Collard ripped the body. The brace traded. Stephens backed up and reset. Collard threw retired a limb kick. They clinched, with Collard landing an uppercut. Stephens got a assemblage fastener successful place, but Collard utilized a kimura grip, past turned the country and dumped Stephens. He was close backmost up, but the circular came to a adjacent seconds later.

Through 2 rounds, Clay Collard and Jeremy Stephens had fired everything they had astatine 1 another. Exactly the benignant of match-up the PFL, and its fans, had hoped for erstwhile they enactment this brace together. Round 3 was nary different.  Collard divided the guard, landing an uppercut. Stephens landed a close hand, and fired a mates of limb kicks. Collard launched a spinning backmost kick, and spinning backmost fist. In a clinch, the genu was determination for Collard again. The knock-down, drag-out brawl continued. A spot of trading successful the pocket. Both men landed upstairs. Chins were holding. Stephens landed his left, and aboriginal went to the body.

This is INSANE! Neither combatant backing down#2022PFL1 LIVE connected ESPN & ESPN+

— PFL (@PFLMMA) April 21, 2022

With astir 90 seconds near successful the fight, Stephens went to the body, backing Collard up. He past dropped to prosecute a takedown; Collard again went to a kimura to escape, but couldn’t reverse. Instead, helium ate a chaotic Stephens punch connected the mode out. Collard showed a spot of fancy footwork, fired a spinning footwear and slipped. Stephens came connected late, landing a backmost elbow, technically amerciable nether the PFL’s regular play rules.

A afloat 15 minutes of brawling, and the last combat of the PFL 1 paper headed to the judges. Collard took each 3 rounds successful a unanimous determination win, but Stephens proved helium tin inactive instrumentality a punch, and onshore a boatload of them.

Official Result: Clay Collard def. Jeremy Stephens by unanimous determination (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)