Clay Collard falls to Mads Burnell, earns PFL playoff spot

Mads Burnell takes down Clay Collard twice on way to win (0:36)

Clay Collard is taken down by Mads Burnell in the main event of PFL 5 Friday night. (0:36)

SALT LAKE CITY -- Clay Collard officially made his third PFL postseason in four years Friday night, but it was not in the way he envisioned.

Collard (25-13) suffered a unanimous decision loss to Mads Burnell (18-6) in the main event of PFL 5 at the Huntsman Center. Despite the loss, Collard earned a spot in the lightweight playoffs in August, thanks to a five-point second-round finish over Patricky Pitbull in April.

Making the playoffs -- and keeping his hopes of a first PFL championship alive -- was the main goal for Collard, although Friday's loss must have made it bittersweet. Collard was born in Utah, and this was his first appearance in the state since 2019. He struggled to negate Burnell's grappling throughout the three-round fight and lost 29-28 on all three judges' scorecards.

Nevertheless, Collard secured the No. 4 seed and will face former Bellator MMA champion Brent Primus (14-3) in the PFL semifinals. Primus secured the No. 1 seed with a submission win over Solomon Renfro. No. 2 seed Gadzhi Rabadanov (22-4-2) will take on No. 3 Michael Dufort (13-5), who also sneaked into the playoffs despite a loss to Adam Piccolloti on Friday.

At light heavyweight, 2023 champion Impa Kasanganay (17-4) secured the No. 1 seed with a thrilling second-round TKO of PFL European champion Jakob Nedoh. Kasanganay was badly hurt during the bout but persevered and had Nedoh badly hurt at the end of the round. The referee called off the 205-pound fight when Nedoh failed to recover enough for the start of the third round.

Kasanganay will face Josh Silveira (13-3) in a rematch of last year's championship matchup. Kasanganay defeated Silveira via unanimous decision to claim the 2023 title and the $1 million prize. Rob Wilkinson (18-2), the 2022 PFL champion, will face Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (23-7-1) in the semifinals. Both earned wins via decision.