A light weekend in MMA is upon us, with only two major promotions in action this Friday and Saturday nights, including the PFL, which returns from its hiatus to begin the second half of its 2022 regular season with PFL 4 and the PFL 4 main event.
With the start of the second half of the season, the promotion shifts its host venue from Arlington, TX"s ESports Stadium to Atlanta"s Overtime Elite Arena, where PFL 4 through PFL 6 will be held over the next three Friday nights.
The card will be the final chance for fighters at lightweight and light heavyweight to accumulate points in the standings in hopes of qualifying for this year"s postseason, to be held this August.
Lightweight Showdown Set for PFL 4 Main Event on Friday
Barring any postponement for any reason between now and this Friday night, PFL 4 will feature a 10-fight card, highlighted by a showcase at lightweight in the PFL 4 main event of the evening.
Boxer Clay Collard (21-9, 1 NC MMA, 1-0 PFL 2022, three points in the standings) will return to the PFL Smart Cage to do battle against Alexander Martinez (9-2, 1 NC MMA, 1-0 PFL 2022, three points in the standings) in the headliner this Friday.
As with all PFL regular season fights, the PFL 4 main event will be an advertised maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round to close the night"s activities.
PFL 4 Main Event Fighter Comparison
Heading into the PFL 4 main event on Friday night, Alexander Martinez stands as the taller man at six feet even, compared to Clay Collard"s 5-foot-11 frame.
Collard gains some separation in the reach categories, as he owns a one-inch advantage in arm reach (74 inches to 73 inches) and a two-inch leg reach advantage (41 inches to 39 inches) ahead of the headliner on Friday.
Clay Collard Ready to Display His Toughness in PFL 4 Main Event
Clay Collard comes into the PFL 4 main event this weekend having posted a 4-1 record in his last five MMA appearances, most recently scoring a unanimous decision back on April 20 versus Jeremy Stephens in the PFL 1 main event.
Recently, Collard spoke to FanSided MMA, where he complimented his last adversary and voiced his opinion on the PFL"s playoff format.
“Stephens is a tough dude," he said. “He was really hard to put away and it turned out to be a great fight. With the tournament setting, I would have much rather had six points instead of three. I could win both my fights and they could both be fight of the year candidates and I could still not make it into the tournament because they rule a knockout six points more than they do two decision wins six points. I feel like if you got a knockout and a loss, the guy who kept winning should get the [playoff] spot."
Still, Collard wouldn"t trade his career in combat sports away for anything else.
“I love a good fight," he continued. “That"s why I"m in this industry is because I like beating up these tough guys. I"m always looking for the toughest guy."
Clay Collard is a fighter who can talk a tough game, but the time for talk is almost over, so will his toughness in the cage carry him to another victory in the PFL 4 main event?
Alexander Martinez Fighting With Extra Motivation Ahead of PFL 4 Main Event
In the other corner, Alexander Martinez enters Friday night"s main event having posted a 3-2 mark in his last five bouts, having scored a unanimous decision against Stevie Ray on April 20 in PFL 1.
Following that victory, he met with the media to discuss his new motivation for fighting.
“After earning the victory today, it"s really reinvigorating, so man, I feel great right now," Martinez said that night. “Very emotional. It"s a very emotional moment for me right now. I"m a new father now. Before the fight, first thing I did was take a picture. I need to go fight for my little girl. I dedicated this fight to my father-in-law who just passed away last October. We still are mourning from that loss and going through training camp, putting all those emotions to the side, because you cannot come into this sport with emotions. You have to be cold-minded, cool-headed, and yeah, I"m very thankful."
The love of a person"s family gets that person through the toughest times in his or her life, and while Alexander Martinez was dealt a tough hand with the death of his father-in-law, he"s fighting to honor his memory and to make his new daughter proud of him in the PFL 4 main event.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the PFL 4 main event on Friday night looks to favor Alexander Martinez, whose background is in taekwondo, compared to Clay Collard"s background in boxing.
Watch For Clay Collard"s Combinations
One aspect of Clay Collard"s fight game that"s highly evident on film is his ability to mix up his strikes with combinations, something that Anthony Pettis found out firsthand in last season"s PFL 1.
During the second round of a scheduled three, Collard began to piece up on Pettis with right-handed punches to his body, and although Pettis was able to score with some lead leg kicks to Collard"s knee, Collard just stormed right back with a three punch combination to back Pettis up to the cage fence, peppering him with a body kick.
Later in the round, Collard landed a vicious left-handed punch to send Pettis to the mat, scoring with a flurry of ground and pound shots to nearly finish him off in the process, before the fight returned to the feet.
From there, Clay Collard"s speed was too much for Anthony Pettis to keep up, repeatedly landing a variety of punches before knocking Pettis down a second time and landing a surge of right-handed punches on the ground to try to finish the contest.
This fight progressed to a third round, where Collard again knocked Pettis down and continued to stun him with right-handed punches, with the judges ruling in his favor (unanimous decision) after 15 minutes.
If Clay Collard is able to mix up his strikes and give Alexander Martinez fits, it could be a long 15 minutes for Martinez in the PFL 4 main event.
Look For Martinez" Submissions
In the other corner, Alexander Martinez has been known to be a submission hunter, something that Christopher Ramirez knows well from their fight in December of 2020.
During the first round of a scheduled three, Martinez landed a punch that sent Ramirez down before getting to the clinch, yet Ramirez fought his way out of it.
From there, Martinez would connect on a right-handed punch later in the round to set up another clinch, taking Ramirez down in the process, ultimately ending the fight by locking in a standing guillotine choke inside two minutes of the first round.
If Alexander Martinez is able to score a takedown, it could be the opening he needs to try and set up a submission victory in the PFL 4 main event.
With a spot in the playoffs on the line in the PFL 4 main event, expect both Clay Collard and Alexander Martinez to bring their A-game this Friday night.
Prediction: Alexander Martinez by First-Round Submission.
Featured image credit to Professional Fighters League