Arlington, TX — PFL president Ray Sefo has explained why the promotion went with Clay Collard vs. Jeremy Stephens over a defending champ in the main event of PFL 1.
While Collard vs. Stephens ended up being one of the best fights of 2022 so far, there was some pushback ahead of the card as to why the PFL didn’t have a defending champion like Raush Manfio or Antonio Carlos Junior headline the show.
Sefo explained his thought process following the event.
“[Manfio and Junior] are right in some ways, but when you looked at Jeremy Stephens, and I know how both these guys fight, there was no way that fight was going to disappoint,” Sefo told the media, including Cageside Press, during a post-fight scrum. “And as you saw what happened happened, right? Everybody showed up tonight and fought well, but then those two guys closed off the night the way they did. You know, afterward, Pete [Murray] and I looked at each other like, ‘Yeah, that was the right decision.’ I mean, we weren’t sure. But we were sure thinking, ‘Okay, with this fight, there’s no way this fight could disappoint.’ And thank God, they didn’t.”
After the main event, Collard called for a rematch with Manfio. Many thought Collard won their first fight, which was a very close split decision. However, Manfio didn’t seem too enthused with the idea of running it back when asked about a possible rematch.
Sefo thinks it could happen in the next round. He just has to go back and re-watch their fights.
“I just got to go back and look at how the fights panned out for everybody tonight and then look at if it makes sense for them to fight in the second round of the regular season— I’ll make it happen. But if not, then, you know, there is the playoffs, and four guys got to make the playoffs,” Sefo said. So, I think when I look at it all, I think it’s a big deal to leave [the rematch] for the playoffs. But it just depends on when I look at the card and look at all the results from tonight and then go from there.”
Watch the rest of Ray Sefo’s PFL 1 post-fight scrum above.