Ray Cooper III got his revenge when he defeated Magomed Magomedkerimov (KO, round 3 - 3:02) three years after their first bout at the PFL Championships on Wednesday, Oct. 27 in Hollywood, FL. With this win, Cooper became the 2021 PFL welterweight champion and won $1 million.
This is the second title for Cooper.
"He's an awesome competitor," Cooper said after the fight. "He got me, he hurt me a little bit."
Read the play-by-play here.
Round one started with a noticeable difference to Cooper's hair, which he shaved off in order to make weight. There was also a noticeable physical difference between the short and muscular Cooper and the tall and lanky Magomedkerimov. Less than a minute in Magomedkerimov landed a groin strike and there was a brief break in the action. When it resumed Magomedkerimo took down Copper easily, laying into the Hawaiian. They struggled on the canvas with Magomedkerimov clearly staying in control but Cooper was not in any real danger. With a minute and a half left the referee stood them back up. They traded shots with Cooper getting the better of the striking exchanges to end the round.
In the second Magomedkerimov got Cooper into a headlock but Cooper was able to escape and use the position to take Magomedkerimov to the ground. Now it was Magomedkerimov on his back, almost an exact opposite of the first round. The difference was Cooper was able to land some big ground and pound and then put Magomedkerimov into a tight choke. Somehow Magomedkerimov wormed his way out of what was clearly close to being a submission. The round ended with Cooper on top.
The third round opened with a brawl as both fighters landed hard strikes on the other. Magomedkerimov got the better of the striking and Copper slammed Magomedkerimov to the canvas before getting back up to their feet. Magomedkerimov landing strikes to Cooper who was backed against the fence, landing knees and huge right hooks. In the clinch Magomedkerimov briefly had a choke but let go and began striking again. Cooper looked to be in trouble with still three minutes remaining. Cooper was eating every shot, answering back with a huge right hook that dropped Magomedkerimov out cold.
— PFL (@PFLMMA) October 28, 2021
Cooper was looking to get back the loss to Magomedkerimov from the 2018 championships which saw Magomedkerimov crowned the welterweight champion. Since then, he's worked his way up the ladder to a rematch in nearly an identical scenario.
In order to fight for the 2021 title Cooper had to defeat Jason Ponet, Nikolay Aleksakhin and Rory MacDonald. Magomedkerimov had to defeat Curtis Millender and Sadibou Sy.