Derek Brunson

2023 PFL Championships at The Anthem in Washington D.C., Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. (Cooper Neill / PFL)

Derek Brunson dominant in PFL debut, survives early onslaught from Ray Cooper III at PFL 10

PFL MMA returns to us tonight, November 24, 2023, for PFL 10, going down live from The Anthem in Washington D.C.

Tonight is to be a night of six world championship bouts, as well as the PFL debut of longtime top 10 UFC middleweight contender Derek Brunson (24-9), who faced former two-time PFL welterweight champion Ray Cooper III (25-9-1) at the start of tonight’s main card.

Cooper moved up to 185 lbs for the first time in his entire career for this bout, having gone 7-1 over his last eight outings at 170 lbs coming in.

Brunson on the other hand came into his promotional debut on a two-fight skid following a five-fight win streak from 2019 to 2021.

Continue reading to see how this middleweight encounter went down:

Official Result: Derek Brunson def. Ray Cooper III via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-25, 30-25)

Brunson opens up the bout with a spinning wheel kick, partially landing it before tying up with Cooper.

Cooper is able to separate and drop Brunson however, hurting him worse and worse with every punch. Though Brunson is unable to secure his initial takedowns, he’s able to stop the onslaught and get Cooper to the ground, mounting him straight away.

The remaining two or so minutes of the opening round is spent with Brunson reigning down heavy punches, nearly all of them landing; honestly the fight could’ve been stopped right then and there.

Round two is spent mostly with Brunson back riding Cooper, keeping position for over four minutes of the round.

Cooper secures a takedown early on in round three, Brunson throwing up a triangle choke; he’s shown us a few new things in his arsenal tonight. Cooper escapes it and passes to half guard where he attempts to set up an arm-triangle choke unsuccessfully.

Brunson soon after reverses Cooper, remaining on top through the final half of round three.

Derek Brunson wins his PFL debut tonight at PFL 10 with a dominant victory over Ray Cooper III.

If you enjoyed this piece, feel free to share it on social media!

author avatar
Brady Ordway
I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon Versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That's the first fight I ever saw, and I was immediately hooked. So eventually, I began covering the sport in the fourth quarter of 2018, and have since started writing about animals as well. If you'd like to see those pieces, be sure to check out!