ATLANTA — The 2022 playoffs are nearly set for PFL’s lightweight and light heavyweight divisions — and they both feature plenty of familiar names.
At light heavyweight, 2021 champion Antonio Carlos Jr. (15-5) secured the No. 3 seed, with a decision win over Bruce Souto at PFL 4 on Friday. He will face No. 2 seed Omari Akhmedov (23-7), who was a standout of the regular season. Akhmedov knocked out Viktor Pesta in the regular-season opener and submitted Teodoras Aukstuolis in the second round on Friday.
Rob Wilkinson (15-2), of Australia, claimed the No. 1 seed with a first-round knockout of Viktor Pesta. He will meet Delan Monte (9-2), who snuck into the playoffs with a 1:32 knockout upset of 2019 champion Emiliano Sordi. Three of the four light heavyweights bound for the playoffs — Carlos, Akhmedov and Wilkinson — have competed previously in the UFC.
At lightweight, history repeated itself for fan favorite Clay Collard (21-10), who failed to make the playoffs for a second consecutive year thanks to a split decision loss to Alex Martinez. Collard came up just short of the 2021 playoffs, when he lost a controversial decision to eventual champion Raush Manfio. Collard disagreed with the scores and vowed to win the lightweight championship this year.
The bout between Collard and Martinez (10-2) was incredibly entertaining. Collard set a high pace on the feet, as he always does. He knocked Martinez down in the second round with a left hook and worked the body with effective combinations. Martinez took his back in the second round, however, and threatened with a choke. He won some grappling exchanges in a close, back-and-forth third round.
Former UFC champion Anthony Pettis currently leads the lightweight standings with six points. He is scheduled for his second regular-season bout later this month. Pettis is already guaranteed a spot in the 2022 playoffs.
The other weight classes will settle into their playoff matchups in the coming weeks, including heavyweight, featherweight, welterweight and women’s lightweight.