The first event of the PFL’s 2021 playoffs has come and gone, and Hawaii’s Ray Cooper III is headed to his third consecutive welterweight final.
Cooper anchored the main event opposite former UFC contender and Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald at PFL Playoffs 1 on Friday night in Hollywood, Florida. A fight that promised fireworks on paper, the end result saw Cooper rely on his wrestling to control MacDonald on the ground, leading to a one-sided decision in what can arguably be seen as Cooper’s biggest win to date.
When he enters the finale this October (a change from the usual New Year’s Eve show), Ray Cooper III will be meeting a familiar face. Magomed Magomedkerimov, who defeated Cooper in the 2018 welterweight finale, punched his own ticket to the finals on Friday with a win over short-notice replacement Sadibou Sy.
Friday’s card also saw the lightweight semifinals go down, with Raush Manfio continuing his inspiring run through the PFL season with a win over Clay Collard. Manfio came into the league earlier this year as a short-notice fighter, and now has a chance at a million dollars against Loik Radzhabov.
The PFL Playoffs 1 card opened with a pair of thrilling stoppages, including a leg kick TKO by Michael Lombardo. Full results and a gallery of highlights can be found below.
PFL Playoffs 1: Cooper III vs. MacDonald Results
Ray Cooper III def. Rory MacDonald by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) — welterweight semifinal
Magomed Magomedkerimov def. Sadibou Sy by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) — welterweight semifinal
Raush Manfio def. Clay Collard by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) — lightweight semifinal
Loik Radzhabov def. Alexander Martinez by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) — lightweight semifinal
Gleison Tibau def. Micah Terrill by technical submission (arm-triangle choke), Round 1, 2:18
Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Darrell Horcher by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26, 29-27)
Brett Cooper def. Tyler Hill by knockout, Round 1, 2:32
Magomed Umalatov def. Leandro Silva by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Michael Lombardo def. Kyron Bowen by TKO (leg kicks), Round 1, 3:42
Elvin Espinoza def. Hopeton Stewart by technical submission (rear-naked choke), Round 1, 2:45