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Anthony Pettis gets rocked in PFL debut, loses decision to Collard

Jeff Bottari / UFC / Getty

Anthony Pettis' PFL debut didn't go as planned.

Clay Collard defeated the former UFC lightweight champion via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-28) in the PFL 1 main event Friday at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

With the victory, Collard earned three points under the PFL's season format and moved into first in the lightweight standings. He was as high as a +400 underdog for the bout.

Collard started strong, putting pressure on Pettis in the opening round and staying busy in the stand-up department. His biggest moment came in the second frame when he dropped Pettis with a right hand and then again later in the round with another punch. Collard swarmed Pettis with shots on the ground, but the referee gave Pettis every opportunity to stay in the fight.

Collard continued to edge out Pettis on the feet throughout the third round, but "Showtime" changed the momentum of the fight when he rocked Collard with a head kick and knee with just over one minute to go. Pettis got on top of his opponent, but he failed to secure the finish before the bout ended.

This was Pettis' first fight since he left the UFC as a free agent in December. The 34-year-old spent over nine years in the Octagon and held the 155-pound belt from 2013-15.

Pettis saw his two-fight winning streak come to an end. He entered Friday's bout coming off wins over Alex Morono and Donald Cerrone.

Collard, a fellow UFC veteran and current professional boxer, also made his PFL debut Friday. This was his first MMA bout since April 2019. He extended his winning streak to three.

Collard spent two years in the UFC from 2014-15, going 1-3 overall. The 28-year-old crossed over to boxing in 2017, and he's compiled a 9-4-3 record while upsetting several top prospects.

In the PFL 1 co-main event, former UFC fighter Marcin Held handed Natan Schulte, the defending two-time lightweight champion, his first loss in the PFL and his first defeat since March 2017 by unanimous decision.

In the main-card opener, Bellator veteran Bubba Jenkins upset Lance Palmer, the defending two-time featherweight champion, by unanimous decision. Palmer's 11-fight winning streak ended, as he suffered his first loss since March 2017 and his first defeat under the PFL banner.

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