The 2022 Professional Fighters League (PFL) season is well underway and the Lightweight division has arguably gotten off to the hottest start of them all.
One of the first two men to get on the board securing points for round one was none other than “The Canadian Gangster,” Olivier Aubin-Mercier. The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) hopeful was one of four men to earn points at 2022 PFL 1 in April 2022. However, a fifth competitor got on the board two weeks later.
Typically, PFL has all fighters in said division compete on the same night to balance things out going forward and have everyone fight at the same time. This isn’t the case for former UFC champion, Anthony Pettis, who fought at 2022 PFL 3 against Myles Price.
Pettis’ bout was bumped off the opening card of the season after he let the promotion know he needed a little bit more time to be ready. After going winless (0-2) in his first run last year, Pettis finished Price in round one of the bout to earn six points (watch highlights), thus knocking Aubin-Mercier to fifth in the standings, currently meaning he’s ineligible to make the playoffs if they started today.
“Of course, it’s not fair,” Aubin-Mercier told MMA Mania. “It’s 100 percent not fair, but at the same time, you know what, I kind of understand PFL. I would probably do the same thing if I was them (laughs). If you don’t think it’s unfair, I don’t think you’re a really smart person. It’s a little bit unfair too for his opponent. If [Stevie] Ray wins the [next] fight by KO in the first round, he have four weeks [before] the next fight so it’s not fair for his opponent. I truly hope for the tournament that Pettis is gonna fight at the same time as us because like for me, I don’t want to fight him one week later. It makes no sense. It makes truly no sense.
“I think it’s a little bit unfair for his opponent — Jeremy Stephens’ [next] opponent [Price],” he continued. “He fought one week after everybody then he have to fight right now [against] Jeremy Stephens (laughs). He had what? Five weeks? Four weeks? I think he had no damage, he tapped in the first round, but to do your weight that close, it’s pretty hard. So I do think it’s a little bit unfair.”
Despite the standings at present, “OAM” finds himself in a great spot fresh off one of the biggest wins of his career, taking no damage and feeling 100 percent healthy heading onto the next one.
Fight No. 1 of 2022 was no easy task on paper for the Montreal, Quebec, native though, having to get past who he considered the division’s toughest obstacle, former champion Natan Schulte. Aubin-Mercier tactically approached the bout, allowing the Brazilian to come to him and methodically taking his shots, ultimately securing a split decision victory and three points. Now, Aubin-Mercier has yet another notable adversary awaiting him.
Aubin-Mercier faces last year’s champion, Raush Manfio, this week (Fri., June 17, 2022) at 2022 PFL 4 in Atlanta, Georgia. With Schulte out of the way for now and Don Madge dispatched of by Manfio in his first outing, Aubin-Mercier believes he’s got the Murderer’s Row ahead of him this season ... and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“MMA is so unforgivable, it’s crazy. You do one mistake and then that’s it,” Aubin-Mercier said. “I think Madge maybe won 13 minutes and 30 seconds and then he lost by KO. MMA is a crazy, crazy sport. Anything can happen and I think we can say that Manfio is really dangerous, he have some power, he’s a finisher. Manfio is such a tough opponent to deal with, we saw it in all his last fights in the PFL, actually. He’s stealing a round, he hurts people, if you go toe-to-toe with him, he’s going toe-to-toe with you. So he’s really a complicated opponent, you know? But I do not think he’s technically the best guy out there, but he’s a tough guy. He’s a really tough guy.
“I’m gonna beat all the champs, eh? It’s pretty crazy,” he concluded. “I’m gonna beat the champ, I’m gonna beat the people that beat the champ. To be honest, I think I have the hardest path in the tournament and I think Manfio is the same. Me and Manfio have the two hardest paths in the tournament. At the end of the day, I’m going to fight everybody, all the best guys. But I do feel that some of the guys in the category maybe got an easier path, I would say.”
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE results and real-time play-by-play coverage of the entire PFL 4 main card, which begins at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and ESPN+. We’ll also provide quick results for the “Prelims” undercard on ESPN+, which will start streaming at 6 p.m. ET.
For more PFL 2022 news and notes click here.