Fight Facts: PFL 1: 2021 Regular Season

By: Jay Pettry
Apr 26, 2021

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Fight Facts is a breakdown of all of the interesting information and cage curiosities on every card, with some puns, references and portmanteaus to keep things fun. These deep stat dives delve into the numbers, providing historical context and telling the stories behind those numbers.

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The Professional Fighters League kicked off its 2021 season with the featherweights and lightweights on display, with a 10-fight offering showing new technology and stats. The playoff system may have changed, but the regular season stayed the same, as fighters get two chances this year to score points and qualify. Although a decision-heavy card, PFL 1: 2021 Regular Season did feature a few major betting upsets, a pair of dominant champs falling short and a victor who still holds a grudge against Dana White.

Terrible, Horrible: PFL 1: 2021 Regular Season tied the promotion’s record for the most judges’ decisions on one night. Nine fights going the distance first happened at PFL: Everett in 2017, and then later at PFL 9: 2018 Playoffs 2.

No Good, Very Bad: Both the aforementioned events in 2017 and 2018 that featured nine bouts going to the scorecards each held more than 10 bouts. This event only had 10, making its 10 percent finish rate the lowest of any PFL card to ever take place.

Flipping the Table: Four bouts throughout the evening featured underdogs above +300 scoring upsets, as Clay Collard, Marcin Held, Bubba Jenkins and Alex Martinez prevailed over their heavily favored foes. No PFL event in the past had seen more than two underdogs of that magnitude pull off wins.

Uncertain, The Future Is: Of the 10 fights to take place on this card, seven saw betting favorites close at -390 or above. In comparison, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has featured just 16 lines that substantial across 149 matchups on 13 events this year.

Boxed Him Up: Collard returned to the cage for the first time since 2019 to beat Anthony Pettis by unanimous verdict. In that span of time, “Cassius Clay” competed 15 times as a boxer, upsetting several unbeaten prospects along the way.

New Season, New Threats: Natan Schulte, the lightweight tournament winner in the two previous PFL seasons, lost a decision to Held. His appearance placed him in sole possession of the second-most fights, for 12 with the organization.

Pineda Melted the Cup: Still technically undefeated as a professional, Movlid Khaybulaev won on the scorecards against Lazar Stojadinovic. His past defeat was overturned to a no contest when Daniel Pineda failed a post-fight drug test, and the Dagestan native remained unbeaten after 18 career bouts.

Putting the ‘L’ in PFL: The 2018 and 2019 featherweight victor Lance Palmer dropped a decision to Bubba Jenkins on this card, earning his fourth loss on the World Series of Fighting-PFL roster. Palmer ties a slew of fighters for the fourth-most losses in company history, and they all trail Steven Siler and Jared Rosholt with five each, and Mike Kyle with six.

Palm Pilot: Even in defeat, Palmer extended his own record for the most appearances in WSOF-PFL history with 19. No one else comes remotely close.

Cultivating Cage Time: Twelve of Palmer’s 19 fights with WSOF and PFL have ended up in the hands of the judges. By going three full rounds with Jenkins, Palmer extended his company record, although Chris Wade now trails him with nine.

UFC’s Loss is PFL’s Gain: In the only finish of the night, Brendan Loughnane put Sheymon Moraes away in the first round to collect six points. The former Dana White's Contender Series winner has finished his foe in seven of his last 10 victories, all by knockout.

Negative Yardage: The first fighter to miss weight this year for the PFL was Mikhail Odintsov, who passed the lightweight limit by .4 pounds. Odintsov was fined 20 percent of his purse, and he was also deducted one playoff point in the standings – Odintsov lost to Akhmed Aliev, so he currently resides in last place in his division with -1 points.

Prime Paraguayan: Paraguay’s Martinez is still unbeaten as a pro after nine fights, earning his eighth win by taking a split verdict over Loik Radzhabov. His ninth bout a no contest against Anas Siraj Mounir, Martinez knocked Mounir out a few months later in the rematch.

Never Say Never Again: Coming into PFL 1: 2021 Regular Season, Schulte had never lost with PFL (10 PFL bouts, one loss in WSOF), Odintsov had never lost on the scorecards (20 fights) and Sung Bin Jo (10 fights) and Radzhabov (16 fights) had never lost consecutive bouts.

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