PFL’s Raush Manfio Changed Direction Of His Career

Once on the cusp of stepping away from MMA and fighting, Raush Manfio found his home with the PFL and thrived.

Raush Manfio might not have been the biggest name in the PFL lightweight draw, but he finished on top.

Manfio made 2021 his best year yet when he bested Loik Radzhabov for the title and $1 million in October. 

Entering the semifinals as the No. 3 seed, Manfio upset Clay Collard before taking out the top-seed in Radzhabov. 

But that only tells half the tale for the 30-year-old from Brazil.

The American Top Team-trained Manfio served notice that he was here to finish first when he topped Anthony Pettis. Looking at your resume, when you can add former UFC champion as a win, you are saying something.

Manfio controlled the action with Pettis back in June, earning a split decision over “Showtime” to advance. From there, he went the full 15 minutes to sweep the scorecards vs. Collard, who had himself quite the run both in MMA and boxing.

With most eyes focused on Radzhabov, it was Manfion showing once again why he is a top talent at 155 pounds. The two put on a show for five rounds and 25 minutes.

Overall, Manfio is now 15-3 in his career and on a four-fight win streak. 

All of this success, though, was almost missed. 

Manfio explained to MMA Junkie Radio that he was ready to call it a career. 

“I was preparing to try to stop finding fights for me,” Manfio said. “I was doing private classes with some students I was doing really good and I had another job cleaning offices at night.

“I thought God didn’t want this from my career because I got nine fights canceled and three or four I got the contract signed and the other fights I replaced their guys who got hurt. But when the opponents saw me, they don’t want to fight me. So it was like three years of opponents that didn’t want to fight me and I was ready to quit.”

That’s when PFL stepped in.

“My manager was in the right time and the right place to talk to Ray Sefo (PFL president of fighter operations) because I was already thinking I can’t do this anymore. He told Ray I really needed the opportunity and I was good, but non one wanted to fight me in the small leagues. So he gave me the chance and now you know the rest of the story. I was quitting and now look where I am.”


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