Ray Cooper III proved to be the far superior welterweight when he torched Pavel Kusch in the main event of PFL 6 on Thursday night inside Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“Bradda Boy” stormed out of his corner like a wolverine and tore into the Ukrainian with a maelstrom of punches to the head. Kusch (23-6) was caught off-guard and never recovered; his legs eventually turned to gelatin and his consciousness effectively removed from the onslaught of fists.
Cooper III never stopped throwing bombs until referee Keith Peterson finally intervened, ending the blitzkrieg in just 18 seconds. The sensational knockout win allowed the Hawaiian to not only rise to 15-4, but also clinched the number-one seed in the 2018 PFL Playoffs at welterweight with six points earned.
Magomed Magomedkerimov bolstered his pro ledger to 20-5 by toppling Serbia’s Bojan Velickovic over three rounds. Magomedkerimov took his foe down repeatedly and controlled the action on the canvas, but “Serbian Steel” proved to be a harder opponent than expected. Velickovic (16-7) landed his share of strikes on the feet and kept things close early, but as the fight wore on, the Russian continually took him down and threatened with sporadic submissions and won with scores of 29-28 across the board. With the win, Magomedkerimov was awarded three points toward the PFL playoffs at welterweight.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison improved to 2-0 as she dominated striker Jozette Cotton (8-2) for nearly three rounds before finally stopping her with strikes from on top. Harrison scored easy takedowns and attempted an assortment of submissions, but “The #1 Headbusta” was able to slither out of each. However, Harrison’s ground-and-pound was solid and it paved the way toward a stoppage at 1:24 of the third when referee Liam Kerrigan had seen enough and pulled the judoka off.
Dagestan’s Abubakar Nurmagomedov out-pointed fellow welterweight Jonatan Westin over three rounds, winning via unanimous decision. Nurmagomedov controlled the pace of the fight throughout and landed the more effective strikes whilst on the feet. Westin (10-4) was never able to get into a sustained rhythm and it cost him. Nurmagomedov (15-2) won the verdict with scores of 30-27 (twice) and 29-28 to earn three points towards making the PFL playoffs.
After a back-and-forth two rounds, welterweight contender Joao Zeferino forced Yuri Villefort to bow out thanks to a rear-naked choke. “The Brazilian Samurai” won his second straight bout when he seized his fellow countryman’s back about a minute into the third and sunk in the choke. Villefort (11-7) couldn’t shake his foe off and instead had to tap out 70 seconds into the frame. The victory gave Zeferino (23-9) four points toward making the PFL playoffs at 170 pounds.
In off-TV results, Rick Story (21-9) submitted Carlton Minus (9-1) via rear-naked choke at 2:55 of the second, giving him five points towards the welterweight playoffs; former world champion Jake Shields (33-10) edged Herman Terrado (15-5-1) via unanimous decision to snare three points towards the welterweight playoffs; Bruno Santos (18-2) out-pointed John Howard (26-14) to nab three points towards the middleweight playoffs; Abusupiyan Magomedov (20-3) knocked out Anderson Goncalves (11-3) with punches in just 87 seconds to gain six points towards the middleweight playoffs; Shamil Gamzatov improved to 13-0 by besting Rex Harris (11-4) via unanimous nod to earnt here points for the middleweight playoffs; Louis Taylor (16-4) won a three-round unanimous verdict over Andre Luis Leal Lobato (24-9) for three points in the middleweight bracket; and Gasan Umalatov (18-5) won every round against Eddie Gordon (8-6) for a decision win and three points in the 185-pound tourney.