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2021 PFL champ Raush Manfio’s year-end plan includes ‘quick’ knockout over Jeremy Stephens, Roberto Satoshi challenge in RIZIN

Raush Manfio
Cooper Neill, PFL

Raush Manfio is out of the race for the 2022 PFL lightweight championship and the million-dollar prize after a “horrible” decision defeat to Olivier Aubin-Mercier this past June, but wants to end 2021 on a high note with two more victories.

Manfio, who claimed the PFL belt in 2021 after collecting wins over the likes of Anthony Pettis and Clay Collard, told MMA Fighting he has a bold plan for the end of the year: to win one more at the PFL and then challenge RIZIN lightweight king Roberto Satoshi in Japan.

“I would need the permission from the PFL but it would be cool because I was the champion last year and he’s the RIZIN champion,” Manfio said. “Patricky Pitbull is the Bellator champion but he’s a friend of mine and I have no interest fighting him, unless I was on the Bellator roster. But I think [Satoshi] would be a cool fight, really. I would have to skip Christmas but that would be awesome [laughs]. Fighting in Japan is one of the dreams I have.”

Manfio revealed his contract with the PFL expires at the end of the year but “I’m really happy with PFL and I want to re-sign.” The ideal scenario, he said, is to compete once more under the company’s banner at the PFL 10 card on Nov. 25 and then get the permission to compete at RIZIN so he can renegotiate a better contract on a winning streak and stay active “since next year’s tournament only begins in April.”

“I really want to compete again at the PFL,” he said. “It’s just a matter or getting the salary right because when you renew [the contract], it’s for another two years. Even though I was the [2021] champion, my salary only increased a little bit [in 2022] compared to what I made when I debuted.”

Manfio said he’s still “embarrassed” by his performance again Aubin-Mercier and the “horrible” fight they put out, and wants the perfect dance partner to “clean that up” next.

“That’s why I’m asking them to put me in final card and, if possible, to let me fight [at RIZIN]. That would motivate me a lot,” he said, citing a rematch with Collard of a lightweight bout with Jeremy Stephens as ideal matchups. “I’d give Jeremy Stephens the priority because I already beat Clay Collard, but he’s a guy people like watching.”

“[Stephens] is a tough striker, but I see a lot of openings there,” he continued. “I’m a bad match-up for him. He’s small for the division but is really strong and powerful, but there’s a good chance I would add another knockout to my record against Jeremy Stephens. I would I would knock him out quick. He’s very dangerous with those overhands, but it’s a good match-up for me.”

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