The Bronx kid takes center stage in Manhattan next month.

Shane Burgos headlines the second of two Professional Fighters League events to be staged at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on Aug. 18 and Aug. 23.

Burgos, who grew up in The Bronx and now calls Monroe, N.Y. home, will face top seed Clay Collard for a berth in the 2023 PFL lightweight championship fight later this year — even as his path to this point is not without controversy.

Olivier Aubin-Mercier, last year’s lightweight season champion, will face Bruno Miranda in the other 155-pound semifinal that serves as the co-main event for the Aug. 23 fights.

Sadibou Sy, the 2022 welterweight winner, faces Carlos Leal, and Magomed Magomedkerimov vs. Magomed Umalatov in the two 170-pound playoff matchups taking place before the lightweights compete.

Shane Burgos gets his hand raised after defeating Yamato Nishikawa on June 23.

The highest-profile PFL signee entering this season, Burgos came over from the UFC with heightened expectations placed upon him, even after competing for the bulk of his career 10 pounds lighter at featherweight.

The local product, who trains out of Tiger Schulmann’s Mixed Martial Arts in New Jersey, initially did not qualify for the top four at lightweight after losing his PFL debut to Aubin-Mercier on April 14 and earning just three standings points with a decision victory to wrap the regular season on June 23.

By the next morning, after Burgos’ win over Yamato Nishikawa, PFL announced it had suspended former league champions and close friends Natan Schulte and Raush Manfio, whose uninspiring bout won by Schulte the same night prompted PFL to cite the pair’s “PFL fight agreements agree to use their best efforts” as cause for the bans.

The punishment stripped Schulte of the three standings points he had earned that night, pushing him back into a tie with both Burgos and Manfio for the fourth and final playoff berth.

Burgos was the only man eligible to advance, a move that prompted outcry from both suspended fighters’ camps.

Even direct beneficiary Burgos, while happy to get another chance to compete in New York and be in the playoff field, told Fight Bananas he could feel for the tough spot PFL’s matchmaking placed them in.

“I sympathize with those guys,” Burgos said. “I’m not a heartless f–k. I get it, man; they’re best friends, like godfather of the other one’s daughter. Watching it backstage, you could tell, like, it was, they didn’t want to hurt each other.

“I sympathize with them ’cause I’ve never been in that position to fight a teammate, let alone a best friend.”

Shane Burgos punches Yamato Nishikawa.
Shane Burgos punches Yamato Nishikawa.

As for the Aug. 18 event, the heavyweight and women’s featherweight divisions sort out who will compete for the respective $1 million championship prizes in semifinal matchups.

Renan Ferreira faces Maurice Greene, who subbed into the postseason field after qualifier Marcelo Nunes withdrew due to injury, in the evening’s heavyweight headliner, with Denis Goltsov taking on Jordan Heiderman earlier in the night.

The co-main event features last year’s women’s lightweight champ Larissa Pacheco taking on Olena Kolesnyk, who in two previous head-to-heads in each of the last two years has been (T)KO’d in the first round; Marina Mokhnatkina takes on Amber Leibrock to round out the playoff field.

Other than the playoff matchups and a single amateur bout on Aug. 23 featuring Biaggio Ali-Walsh — grandson of Muhammad Ali — against a yet-to-be-named opponent, the remaining fights for each event are pro fights billed as showcase bouts.

Among the notables in showcase bouts: PFL regular-season competitor Danilo Marques welcomes 2008 Olympic gold medal-winning judoka and 38-fight MMA veteran Satoshi Ishii to the organization; six-fight UFC veteran Laureano Staropoli makes his PFL debut; and Daiqwon Buckley, who defeated former NBA first-round pick Royce White in the pro MMA debut for both two years ago, makes his PFL return after winning on its Challenger Series last year.

Aug. 18

ESPN (9 p.m. ET)

  • Heavyweight semifinal: (2) Renan Ferreira vs. (5) Maurice Greene
  • Women’s featherweight semifinal: (1) Larissa Pacheco vs. (4) Olena Kolesnyk
  • Heavyweight semifinal: (1) Denis Goltsov vs. (4) Jordan Heiderman
  • Women’s featherweight semifinal: (2) Marina Mokhnatkina vs. (3) Amber Leibrock
  • Nathan Kelly vs. Damion Nelson

ESPN+ (6:30 p.m. ET)

  • Abraham Bably vs. Anthony Wint
  • Danilo Marques vs. Satoshi Ishii
  • Laureano Staropoli vs. Ben Egli
  • Kaytlin Neil vs. Maira Mazar
  • Louis Sutherland vs. Daiqwon Buckley
  • Chris Mixan vs. Eddie George

Aug. 23

ESPN (9 p.m. ET)

  • Lightweight semifinal: (1) Clay Collard vs. (4) Shane Burgos
  • Lightweight semifinal: (2) Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. (3) Bruno Miranda
  • Welterweight semifinal: (3) Sadibou Sy vs. (2) Carlos Leal
  • Welterweight semifinal: (1) Magomed Magomedkerimov vs. (4) Magomed Umalatov
  • Biaggio Ali-Walsh vs. TBA*

ESPN+ (6:30 p.m. ET)

  • Abigail Montes vs. Michelle Montague
  • Mostafa Rashed Neda vs. TBA
  • Alexei Pergande vs. Shawn Stefanelli
  • Abdullah Al-Qahtani vs. David Zelner
  • John Caldone vs. TBA

*amateur bout