MMASucka’s PFL 1 2021 Staff Picks

A new promotion is set for its debut as part of our MMASucka staff picks. PFL 1 2021 kicks off tonight, April 23 from the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This will be the Professional Fighters League’s first event since December of 2019 and third year hosting its $1 million dollar tournament. Tonight’s main card will begin at 9:00pm ET (6:00pm PT) live on ESPN2. The prelims kicks off at 5:30pm ET (2:30pm PT) on ESPN+.

Stay tuned to MMASucka tomorrow for our highly anticipated UFC 261 staff picks.

The Fights

The 2021 season will begin with its Regular Season featuring fighters in both the featherweight (145 lbs.) and lightweight (155 lbs.) divisions. Lightweights Anthony Pettis and Clay Collard will close off the night of fight’s in a three-round main event. Pettis makes his promotional debut after a lengthy career in the WEC and UFC; a former champion in both. He will look for his third straight win after 2020 victories over Donald Cerrone and Alex Morono. Pettis’ opponent, Collard, also makes his PFL debut following a brief stint of professional boxing. Although a rough go in the UFC many years ago, the Utah-born fighter sits at 4-1 through his last five MMA bouts.

More lightweights of Natan Schulte and Marcin Held will meet in the co-main event. 2018 and 2019 tournament champion Schulte looks to continue his dominance in search of a tenth straight win. Seasoned grappler Held steps into the PFL cage for the first time, as well as his first fight since June of 2019 following a decision win over Diego Brandao.

Featherweights featured on the main card include both undefeated Movlid Khaybulaev and PFL 2019 tournament winner Lance Palmer against their respected opponents. See all of our PFL 1 2021 staff picks further below.

UFC 246

Staff Picks

Throughout the calendar year, staff picks will be composed of main card fights from UFC and Bellator events. PFL will make its debut today, along with Dana White’s Contender Series in the summer months.

The WINNER of staff picks in 2021 will have a choice between receiving a custom-made championship belt from ProAmBelts or chain from Championship Chains. For the third straight year, Michael DeSantis captured the 2020 victory compiling a record of 201-88.

See our staff picks for PFL 1 2021: Pettis vs. Collard below.

Staff Records after UFC Vegas 24

1. Wesley Riddle: 49-27
2. Nate Freeman: 47-29
3. Michael DeSantis: 45-31
4T. Ash Camyab: 44-32
4T. Frazer Krohn: 44-32
4T. Joshua Yule: 44-32
7T. Mitchell Banuelos: 43-33
7T. Kenny Lee: 43-33
9. Jeremy Brand: 39-37
10. Mike Lynch: 38-33
11. Matt Bricker: 31-31
12. Tim Wheaton: 30-17
13. Andrew Benjamin: 28-34

*Note – not all staff pick for every event*

Lance Palmer (22-3) vs. Bubba Jenkins (14-4)

Jeremy Brand: Palmer via UD
Wesley Riddle: Palmer via Round 2 SUB
Michael DeSantis: Palmer via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Palmer via UD
Matt Bricker: Palmer via UD
Ash Camyab: Palmer via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Palmer via UD
Frazer Krohn: Palmer via UD
Mike Lynch: Palmer via UD
Nate Freeman: Palmer via UD
Joshua Yule: Palmer via UD
Tim Wheaton: Palmer via UD

Staff picking Palmer: 12
Staff picking Jenkins: 0

Movlid Khaybulaev (15-0-1, 1 NC) vs. Lazar Stojadinovic (14-7)

Jeremy Brand: Khaybulaev via UD
Wesley Riddle: Khaybulaev via Round 1 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Khaybulaev via Round 1 TKO
Mitchell Banuelos: Khaybulaev via UD
Matt Bricker: Khaybulaev via Round 1 TKO
Ash Camyab: Khaybulaev via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Khaybulaev via UD
Frazer Krohn: Khaybulaev via Round 2 TKO
Mike Lynch: Khaybulaev via Round 3 TKO
Nate Freeman: Khaybulaev via Round 2 TKO
Joshua Yule: Khaybulaev via UD
Tim Wheaton: Khaybulaev via Round 3 TKO

Staff picking Khaybulaev: 12
Staff picking Stojadinovic: 0

Natan Schulte (20-3-1) vs. Marcin Held (26-7)

Jeremy Brand: Schulte via Round 2 SUB
Wesley Riddle: Schulte via UD
Michael DeSantis: Schulte via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Schulte via UD
Matt Bricker: Held via Round 2 SUB
Ash Camyab: Schulte via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Schulte via UD
Frazer Krohn: Held via Round 1 SUB
Mike Lynch: Schulte via UD
Nate Freeman: Schulte via Round 2 TKO
Joshua Yule: Schulte via UD
Tim Wheaton: Schulte via Round 2 SUB

Staff picking Schulte: 10
Staff picking Held: 2

Anthony Pettis (24-10) vs. Clay Collard (18-8, 1 NC)

Jeremy Brand: Pettis via UD
Wesley Riddle: Pettis via UD
Michael DeSantis: Pettis via Round 2 TKO
Mitchell Banuelos: Pettis via UD
Matt Bricker: Pettis via UD
Ash Camyab: Pettis via Round 2 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Pettis via Round 2 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Pettis via UD
Mike Lynch: Pettis via UD
Nate Freeman: Pettis via UD
Joshua Yule: Pettis via UD
Tim Wheaton: Pettis via Round 1 TKO

Staff picking Pettis: 12
Staff picking Collard: 0


PFL 1 2021
Movlid Khaybulaev (left) and Lazar Stojadinovic at weigh-ins ahead of their PFL 1 2021 tournament fight taking place Friday, April 23rd from the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey (photo credits to PFL MMA).

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