Raush Manfio expects the winner of his Aug. 13 PFL semi-final bout with Clay Collard to be considered the favorite to win the lightweight tournament.
A perfect 2-0 under the PFL banner, the No. 3 seeded Brazilian faces No. 2 Collard, a former UFC lightweight and professional boxer. Manfio is not overlooking No. 1 Loik Radzhabov and No. 4 Alex Martinez on the opposite side of the bracket, but is confident he and Collard stand out the most after their previous PFL two performances.
“I think Clay Collard is the most difficult fight of the season,” Manfio said.
“From what I’ve seen of his last two fights, he had the best performance in the show. The guy who wins this fight is going to be the favorite to win the season.”
Raush Manfio will come forward against Clay Collard
Both men are coming off a decision win against former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis within the last four months.
Manfio improved to 13-3 after earning a split decision victory against Pettis at PFC 6 in June. Collard bested the former lightweight king via unanimous decision at PFL 1 in April.
Manfio continues to study the fight between Collard and Pettis, recognizing Collard’s willingness to come forward. Manfio sees Collard’s high-pressure strategy being a clash of similar styles against him.
“I think Pettis accepted his game more than I will accept his game,” Manfio said. “If he walks forward and I walk forward, it’s going to be a clash of titans.I think this fight is not going to end by the judges.”
A different power
With a background in taekwondo and muay thai, Manfio is a proven striker with seven TKO/knockout victories. Collard is one to use his hands as well with 15 professional boxing bouts to his name.
Collard earned half of his 20 victories by TKO/knockout. Manfio expects a “Fight of the Night” performance on the feet, but is willing to go elsewhere with his opponent.
Manfio is predicting the winner of this fight will eventually take all. He sees himself in that position.
“Normally, I avoid the takedowns to strike, so for this fight, I can strike and look for the takedown too,” Manfio said. “My strikes are a lot harder than Pettis and Pettis almost knocked him out with a head kick. If I kick him in the head like Pettis did, his head is going to fly into the crowd. It is a different power.”