The co-main event at this year’s PFL 1 card in Arlington, Texas on Wednesday saw the returning lightweight champion, Raush Manfio, paired up with UFC veteran Don Madge.
As had been well publicized ahead of the bout, it was a match-up Madge had sought out. And it was a bout that was fought at his pace in the early going, with strikes few and far between. With Manfio waiting to play the counter game and Madge picking his spots, it was slow going early in Manfio vs. Madge.
The “Magic Man” from South Africa, Madge utilized some solid body kicks at times, and was at least the busier fighter. Occasionally, he’d put together a combo. Manfio’s output amounted to a single strike here or there for the first half of the round; he brought a little more volume in the second half, attempting a head kick and finishing the frame with a flurry.
Madge relied on his kicks early in the second, but this time, Manfio answered back with his jab. Madge answered with a combo, punctuated by a kick that was blocked. While there was noticeably more action in round two, no real damage or near finishes came of it. Instead, more single strikes, the odd combination, and a lot of attacks coming up short peppered the frame. The pair would trade to end the round, with Madge likely having the edge care of his jab and kicks.
The back-and-forth kickboxing fight continued in the third. Manfio would fire a low kick. Madge would fire a high kick. Madge was doing a better job managing distance, and he landed his left hand a couple of times. And just when it seemed like Don Madge was going to cruise to a decision in a low-action affair, Raush Manfio flipped the script.
IT'S ALL OVER!
Raush Manfio lands a BOMB in the 3rd round! 4 Points for Raush!#2022PFL1 LIVE on ESPN2 & ESPN+
🌎 https://t.co/jPNvomkWj8 pic.twitter.com/hp3o1ZKbtX
— PFL (@PFLMMA) April 21, 2022
The former champ came alive in a flash, landing a right hand that sent Madge sailing. The ref was already moving in as Manfio lunged to land some follow-up strikes. In a fight he’d likely been losing, Manfio found a way to win — claiming four points in his first fight of the season.
Official Result: Raush Manfio def. Don Madge by Knockout, Round 3, 2:42