Raush Manfio reflects on gauntlet on the path to the lightweight title fight

PFL lightweight Raush Manfio reflects on his tougher journey to the championships after wars with Anthony Pettis and Clay Collard.

Raush Manfio has had one of the most incredible runs in the PFL this season, making it to the 2021 PFL Finals just months after contemplating retirement from MMA. But, Manfio’s relentless attitude has earned him a fight against Loik Radzhabov for a PFL lightweight champion and a $1 million grand prize.

Manfio was on the verge of retiring from MMA after an up-and-down tenure with Titan FC, but he changed his mind after a talk with his wife before the PFL season. A re-motivated, rejuvenated Manfio has earned big wins over lightweight favorites Anthony Pettis and Clay Collard en route to the PFL championships.

Despite the difficult journey, Manfio feels it made him better as a person and an athlete.

“The fights with Clay Collard and Anthony Pettis made me stronger emotionally,” Manfio told FanSided’s Amy Kaplan. “That experience gave me peace of mind that if I lose, it’s to a great opponent. Now, it’s a matchup of the two best fighters in the finals. I just had two tough fights and I’m surprised that I’m the underdog entering this fight with [Loik Radzhabov].”

“This motivates me. For my story, it’s going to be great.”

Raush Manfio went from near retirement to title contender

Manfio has showcased his elite striking over his three-fight winning streak in his first PFL season, mixed in with a solid ground game and takedown defense. He faces a tough test in Radzhabov, a fighter who will challenge Manfio’s grit and toughness, especially in the later rounds.

Manfio isn’t just enjoying his time in the league, he’s thriving in it. He’ll look to cap off his astounding season with a PFL lightweight title.