Canada's Aubin-Mercier returns in April to open defence of PFL lightweight title
(The Canadian Gangster) Olivier Aubin-Mercier returns to action April 14 at PFL 3 in Las Vegas, his first outing since winning the Professional Fighters League lightweight title and US$1 million in November.
The 34-year-old from Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Que., will face (Hurricane) Shane Burgos, who is making his PFL debut, in the main event at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
Aubin-Mercier (17-5-0) is looking to improve to 7-0-0 in the PFL.
Like Aubin-Mercier, Burgos (15-3-0) is a UFC alumnus. The 31-year-old American defeated Canadian Charles (Air) Jourdain last time out in July, completing an 8-3-0 run in the UFC.
Aubin-Mercier was a cast member of "The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia" reality TV show, losing a split decision to fellow Canadian Chad (The Disciple) Laprise in the finale in April 2014. He won seven of his next eight UFC fights before losing three straight and making the switch to the PFL.
Unlike other MMA promotions, the PFL features a regular season and playoffs, culminating in championship bouts with a title and US$1 million on the line. Aubin-Mercier knocked out Scotland's Stevie (Braveheart) Ray with one punch in the second round to claim the prize at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
In the PFL 3 co-main event, defending welterweight champion Sadibou Sy of Sweden takes on Jarrah (The Jordanian Lion) Al-Silawi.
Also on the card, Ray faces Brazilian Natan (Russo) Schulte, a two-time PFL lightweight champion. Brazil's Raush (Cavalo de Guerra) Manfio, the 2021 PFL lightweight title-holder, takes on Paraguay's Alexander Martinez.
The 2023 PFL season debuts April 1 with PFL 1 in Las Vegas.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2023.
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press