Season 5 of the Professional Fighters League (PFL) kicked off to an impressive start with several electrifying performances. In the main card headliner, 2022 PFL lightweight champion Olivier Aubin-Mercier faced off against Shane Burgos. Despite Burgos being a high-profile addition to the league, Aubin-Mercier outworked him with his striking and grappling dominance, earning a unanimous 30-37 scorecards victory.
Burgos was outshined on the feet in the early rounds and failed to recover from the position he gave up when Aubin-Mercier hung out on his back. Even a 30-second dash and a flurry of punches by Burgos in the final moments of the bout could not help him overcome the deficit.
Burgos’s defeat was a setback for a fighter who was expected to announce himself as a title threat. While Burgos has time to recover, Aubin-Mercier started the season on a strong note, earning three points towards his regular season totals. In another fight, Clay Collard won in typical form against Yamato Nishikawa, earning three points for his regular season totals.
Collard’s work upstairs made the biggest impact over fifteen minutes. The win, however, wasn’t smooth sailing as Nishikawa’s toughness proved an obstacle to Collard’s victory, with Nishikawa taking dozens of his body shots and leg kicks before leaving Collard hobbled by Round 3.
Carlos Leal secured an effortless win against David Zawada, earning an impressive six points. The welterweight fighter used a blistering flurry of punches to knock out Zawada within the first round, leaving him dazed and on the canvas at the 2:25 mark of the opening frame.
Career light heavyweight Cezar Ferreira took on heavyweight veteran Denis Goltsov on short notice, but it proved to be a wrong move. Goltsov dominated Ferreira, depositing the Brazilian TUF winner on the canvas and unleashing punishing ground-and-pound to earn the first-round knockout, marking a massive victory for Goltsov.
Magomed Umalatov, now 13-0, extended his unbeaten streak with a remarkable performance that left Dilano Taylor on the ropes with a vicious combination. Umalatov knocked out Taylor just 91 seconds into the fight, earning a decisive victory.