Ray Cooper III stamps his mark early; submits Jason Ponet

Photo provided courtesy of PFL MMA

Ray Cooper III meets Magomed Magomedkerimov in rematch for PFL WW Championship

The Professional Fighters League returns to us tonight, August 13, for their seventh event of the 2021 season.

The event showcased semi-final match ups in their lightweight & welterweight divisions, giving us the finalists of both weight classes once the four-fight main card was over.

Loik Radzhabov defeated Alex Martinez via unanimous decision, avenging his split decision defeat to him earlier this year, while Raush Manfio defeated Clay Collard via unanimous decision, quite controversially we might add.

Nonetheless, Manfio will now face Radzhabov at PFL 10 for the PFL lightweight championship.

Former PFL welterweight champion Magomed Magomedkerimov was slated in the co-main event against Sadibou Sy.

Magomedkerimov, the 2018 PFL welterweight champion, came into the bout on a 12-fight win streak, going 1-0 thus far this year, while Sy came in having gone 1-0 this year with a no contest, the victory coming over 20-2 former M-1 Challenge welterweight champion Alexey Kunchenko.

Continue reading to see how who our first welterweight to clinch a spot in the finals was.

How it went down:

Magomedkerimov secured an early takedown in round one and kept Sy on his back for the entirety of it, though Sy’s defense did him well, as he kept from being submitted, or even passed on.

Sy kept on his feet and used his striking throughout the first three-plus minutes of round two, though he wasn’t too awfully active. He was then taken down with about 90 seconds left and remained on his back until the bell.

Sy was again able to stay on his feet in round three, but was again not active enough, and was pressed into the fence over the latter part of it.

Official Result: Magomed Magomedkerimov def. Sadibou Sy via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Magomedkerimov gets a chance to win the PFL welterweight championship once again, and he’ll either be facing a former Bellator champion, or a fellow former PFL champion in that championship bout.

The main event of the evening came against former Bellator welterweight champion, former UFC welterweight title challenger, and former Bellator middleweight title challenger Rory MacDonald, who faced 2019 PFL welterweight champion Ray Cooper III in the final semi-final bout of the night.

Cooper hasn’t lost since 2019, the year he also claimed the title, and has gone 2-0 thus far into 2021.

MacDonald on the other hand has gone 1-1 thus far into the year, though everyone knows he too should be 2-0.

His last fight came against fellow UFC veteran Gleison Tibau, who he handily won all three rounds against, though the split decision was awarded to the Brazilian. It was an incredibly controversial outcome.

Some think this is a bad match up for MacDonald, such as Luke Thomas, who said on his Morning Kombat podcast that he went 0-2 against Robbie Lawler, and that Cooper is a younger, better version of Lawler.

That may be true, but Cooper is much smaller than Lawler, standing four inches shorter with a four-inch shorter reach. That being said, will Cooper be able to get on the inside to uncork those bombs he has, or will the technician in MacDonald come out tonight?

How it went down:

MacDonald comes out attempting to tie up with Cooper in order to slow him down. He’s unable to take him down, but keeps him along the fence for the first half of the round until Cooper ends up taking MacDonald down.

Cooper passes into side control and starts to land limited ground-and-pound until the bell.

Round two was more of the same, as was round three, with Cooper’s wrestling and pure strength being too much for MacDonald. His striking was also getting the better of the Canadian, because when MacDonald would open up on the feet, Cooper would counter and then take him down.

Official Result: Ray Cooper III def. Rory MacDonald via unanimous decision (30-27, 30,27, 30-27)

We now have an epic welterweight championship rematch to look forward to!

Magomedkerimov defeated Cooper in 2018 to claim the PFL welterweight championship, while Cooper won it that next year in 2019. Now they both face off in the finals once again, this is the third season in a row one of their names was in the championship match, and the second of three where both are in it.

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