The PFL’s 2021 welterweight championship was a rematch between two returning champions.
Magomed Magomedkerimov defeated Ray Cooper III in the 2018 tournament final; a year later, with the Russian forced out of the season, Cooper III won it all. The end result was a champ vs. champ fight of sorts, given Magomedkerimov had technically never lost the crown.
Wednesday’s championship rematch opened with some significant leg kicks from Magomedkerimov. Cooper then got his jab going, before the Russian fired another leg kick on the outside. Another kick would land low on Cooper, however, halting the action ever so briefly.
Later in the round, Cooper would press the action, backing Magomedkerimov up against the cage.
In the second, Cooper would land a takedown in the opening two minutes. That gave the Hawaiian plenty of time to work, and work he did. Cooper locked in an arm-triangle choke, putting on the squeeze. The shoulder may have been just ever-so-slightly out of position, and Magomedkerimov managed to survive.
In the third, Cooper had to withstand an early onslaught. Magomedkerimov took the fight to him, and Cooper was soon dropping his hands and gasping for air. He did find enough in the tank to take some wild swings back, and while he swing wild, a later attack hit the mark — and finished the fight.
— PFL (@PFLMMA) October 28, 2021
An overhand right clipped Magomedkerimov, and though the follow-up left missed, another right hand turned out the lights. The follow-up sealed the deal, and just like that, Ray Cooper III had his second straight PFL championship victory!
“Told you I was going to knock him out. I’m the best,” Cooper said following the victory. Earlier this year, Cooper told Cageside Press that he wanted to continue defending the title — and he’ll be the favorite come next season, after defeating Magomedkerimov and Rory MacDonald this year.
Official Result: Ray Cooper III def. Magomed Magomedkerimov by knockout, Round 3, 3:01