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Video: Clay Collard’s unlikely road to the PFL semifinals

Clay Collard went from beating prospects in boxing to two wins away from a $1 million tournament in PFL.

Clay Collard has been a bit of a journeyman during his time in both MMA and professional boxing, but he finds himself on the cusp of a $1 million prize in the Professional Fighters League.

The former UFC featherweight had a high-profile 2020 not as an MMA fighter, but as a professional boxer. ‘Cassius’ Clay scored a TKO upset of prospect Raymond Guajardo in an absolute thriller, and the plan was to turn to PFL afterward. However, the pandemic shut those plans down but a new opportunity arose. The surprise boxing win led to Collard getting regular spots on Top Rank Boxing shows in the promotion’s Las Vegas ‘bubble.’

Collard fought three times in two months and prevailed in all of them, including against another prospect in David Kaminsky. His hot streak ended in a rematch with Quincy LaVallais, who avenged a prior defeat with a clear decision win. Collard lost a stay-busy boxing match before signing on for PFL’s 2021 season.

So far, so good for Collard. He won a unanimous decision in a main event spot versus former UFC and WEC champion Anthony Pettis, then clinched a playoff berth with a split decision nod over Joilton Lutterbach.

PFL has created a pre-fight feature on Collard which you can view at the top of the page.

Collard fights Raush Manfio in the lightweight semifinals of the PFL 2021 season tonight (Friday, Aug. 13) on ESPN2. The winner will take on either Loik Radzhabov or Alexander Martinez in the final on October 27th in Florida. Ironically for someone who has come through as an underdog story, Collard is the favorite for this fight.