Margin for error no longer exists for those still in the hunt for Professional Fighters League gold and the $1 million that comes with it.
Rory MacDonald will meet Ray Cooper III in the 2021 welterweight semifinals, as their confrontation headlines PFL 7 on Friday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Operating out of the star-studded Tristar Gym camp, MacDonald has lost twice in his past three outings. He last competed at PFL 5, where he wound up on the wrong side of a contentious split decision with Gleison Tibau in June. Cooper, meanwhile, enters the cage on the strength of a four-fight winning streak. He last appeared on June 17, when he took a unanimous decision from Nikolay Aleksakhin at PFL 5.
As MacDonald and Cooper make final preparations for their semifinal showdown, a look at some of the numbers that have accompanied them to this point:
32: Years of age for MacDonald, who was born on July 22, 1989 in Quesnel, Canada.
8: MacDonald wins by submission, accounting for 36% of his career total (22). His methods of choice: five rear-naked chokes, two armbars and one triangle choke. MacDonald owns seven other wins by knockout or technical knockout and seven more by decision.
191: Combined victories between the six men—Tibau, Douglas Lima, Gegard Mousasi, Stephen Thompson, Robbie Lawler (twice) and Carlos Condit—who have defeated MacDonald. They boast a cumulative winning percentage of .737 (191-65-3).
3: Countries in which MacDonald has competed as a mixed martial artist. He has gone 9-5-1 in the United States, 12-2 in his native Canada and 1-0 in England.
644: Days spent by MacDonald as Bellator MMA welterweight champion. He laid claim to the 170-pound title on Jan. 20, 2018, retained it on two occasions and surrendered it on Oct. 26, 2019. MacDonald remains one of only six fighters who have captured the Scott Coker-led promotion’s welterweight crown, along with Lyman Good, Ben Askren, Douglas Lima, Andrey Koreshkov and Yaroslav Amosov.
28: Years of age for Cooper, who was born in Pearl City, Hawaii, on Feb. 7, 1993.
14: Cooper victories by knockout or technical knockout, accounting for 64% of his career total (22). His list of PFL victims: David Michaud, Chris Curtis, Handesson Ferreira, Jake Shields (twice) and Pavel Kusch. Cooper holds seven other victories by submission and one more by decision.
764: Days since Cooper last suffered a defeat. He has rebounded from his knockout loss to former Ring of Combat champion John Howard at PFL 4 on July 11, 2019 by going 4-0-1 in five subsequent appearances.
.745: Cumulative winning percentage between the seven men—Ferreira, Howard, Magomed Magomedkerimov, Jun Yong Park, Craig Jackson, Danny Navarro and Joey Gomez—who have beaten Cooper. They sport a combined record of 117-38-2.
6: Sub-minute finishes on the Cooper resume. He authored two of them inside an eight-day window, as the Hawaiian cut down David Douglas with punches in 27 seconds at a Star Elite Cage Fighting event on Aug. 7, 2015 and punched out Adrian Bartee in 34 seconds at a Gladiator Challenge show on Aug. 15, 2015.