Las Vegas — Despite coming away with the victory, 2023 PFL 3 lightweight Clay Collard ranked his performance a “C-” when all was said and done.
The event, which transpired at The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas on Friday, saw Collard capture a unanimous decision against Yamato Nishikawa, and three points towards the post-season.
A finish could have secured him more on that front, but as Collard (22-10, 1NC) told Cageside Press and other media outlets post-fight, “that kid was tough-as-nails.”
“He didn’t want to box with me, so it’s hard to engage with punching when they’re not punching back. He was real defensive with his hands. I don’t even know if he threw a punch, he was just kicking the sh*t out of my legs.”
Collard feels that when his opponent trades more, he can land more, but Nishikawa simply didn’t engage the way he wanted. Though he did light up the body. “I landed about a hundred body shots and I thought he’d fall over but he didn’t. So credit to him, man. He’s tough as nails.”
As for himself, “I feel like there’s a lot more in me. I feel like I want to finish fights. We’re working on it.” Luckily, Collard escaped the fight mostly unscathed, so that work-in-progress can continue six weeks on.
“I’ve been called the Wood Man early in my career. Little bumps and bruises, cuts heal. I’m ready to go again, round two. Line it up. Let’s get it.”
While Clay Collard would like to avenge past losses to the likes of Raush Manfio and Alex Martinez, it’s the fight with Shane Burgos which many want to see.
“They keep bringing over the UFC guys, I keep beating them up. He just got an L, it could balance out the charts there, with a fight like that. That’s the banger fight.” Collard was in the back getting stitched up following his own PFL 3 fight while Burgos versus Olivier Aubin-Mercier unfolded, but he expected a snoozefest. “That’s the banger fight, is me and Burgos. We’re going to stand, we’re going to bang and we’re going to trade. That’s exciting. I like beating up tough guys. He thinks he’s a tough guy.”
Watch the full 2023 PFL 3 post-fight media scrum with Clay Collard above.