Raymond Cooper III is for real.
The 25-year-old Hawaiian was hard-pressed to top his impressive finish of veteran Jake Shields that happened just a month ago, but Cooper (15-5) did just that with an 18-second TKO of Pavlo Kusch (23-6) in the welterweight main event of PFL 6 on Thursday at the Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City, N.J.
Cooper came out swinging from the opening bell and Kusch had no answer. He was backed up against the cage and overwhelmed by Cooper’s punching power, leaving referee Keith Peterson with no choice but to step in for the stoppage.
With the win, Cooper added six points to bring his season total to 11 and he will enter the PFL postseason as the No. 1 seed at 170 pounds.
In the welterweight co-main event, an entertaining back-and-forth fight between Magomed Magomedkerimov (20-5) and Bojan Velickovic (16-7) ended with Magomedkerimov taking a trio of 29-28 scores to earn the unanimous decision and three more points in the PFL standings. The bout looked like it was up in the air heading into round three, with both men having success on the feet and on the mat through the first 10 minutes.
Neither man was afraid to grapple, and Magomedkerimov repeatedly attacked with submissions to counter the aggressive Velickovic. In the final period, it was Magomedkerimov who looked to have more left in the tank as he pulled away with several takedowns.
The three-point decision win gave Magomedkerimov nine points overall and the No. 3 slot in the welterweight standings.
In a women’s lightweight bout without PFL playoff implications, two-time Olympic judo champion Kayla Harrison improved to 2-0 in her MMA career with a third-round TKO of Jozette Cotton (8-2). This was her second straight finish after submitting Brittney Elkin in her MMA debut in June.
Harrison’s vaunted grappling was on full display as she used powerful entries to drive Cotton to the mat, dominating from top control and finishing with ground-and-pound 1:24 into the third round.
Abubakar Nurmagomedov (15-2) did a modest impression of his close associate Khabib Nurmagomedov in grinding out a win over Jonatan Westin (10-4). With the UFC lightweight champion in his corner, Nurmagomedov used a steady supply of takedowns to neutralize Westin’s offensive efforts. Though Westin couldn’t stay off his back, he was active going for submissions and throwing short strikes, however he was unable to execute anything substantial outside of a late armbar attempt in the final round that Nurmagomedov was able to slip out of.
When the scorecards were read, it was Nurmagomedov who walked out with the unanimous decision and three points to keep himself in playoff contention.
In the main card welterweight opener, Joao Zeferino (23-9) had to deal with a game Yuri Villefort (11-7). Zeferino was coming off of a scintillating first-round knockout of Paul Bradley at PFL 3 but he wasn’t able to put Villefort away as easily. Villefort used timely grappling to smother Zeferino and keep him trapped against the cage for much of the first two rounds, only to find himself on the wrong end of a slick back take. Moments later, Zeferino had Villefort tapping out to a rear-naked choke at the 1:10 mark of round three.
The third-round finish gave Zeferino four more points, bringing his season total to 10. He enters the welterweight playoffs as the No. 2 seed.
Complete PFL 6 results can be found here, including the outcomes of the middleweight bouts all of which took place on the preliminary portion of the card.
Updated standings for the middleweight and welterweight season can be seen below.
- *Abusupiyan Magomedov — 12 points
- *Louis Taylor — 7 points
- *Shamil Gamzatov — 6 points
- *Bruno Santos — 6 points
- *John Howard — 5 points
- *Rex Harris — 3 points
- *Gasan Umalatov — 3 points
- Sadibou Sy — 0 points
- Danillo Villefort — 0 points
- e-Anderson Goncalves — 0 points
- e-Andre Lobato — 0 points
- e-Eddie Gordon — 0 points
- *Ray Cooper III — 11 points
- *Joao Zeferino — 10 points
- *Magomed Magomedkerimov — 9 points
- *Rick Story — 8 points
- *Pavlo Kusch — 5 points
- *Bojan Velickovic — 5 points
- *Jake Shields — 3 points
- Abubakar Nurmagomedov — 3 points
- Paul Bradley — 0 points
- e-Jonatan Westin — 0 points
- e-Carlton Minus — 0 points
- e-Yuri Villefort — 0 points
- e-Herman Terrado — 0 points
* clinched playoff birth
e- eliminated from playoff contention