The Professional Fighters League (PFL) held its third regular-season event in front of a packed house at the Charles E. Smith Center on the campus of The George Washington University on Thursday. Thousands of PFL fans came together to see what the welterweight and middleweight cards had to offer, and they were not disappointed.
Jake Shields and Ray Cooper III had history with Shields splitting a pair of fights with Cooper’s father Ray Cooper Jr. in 2002 and 2004. The younger Cooper, looking to settle the score with Shields, blasted away at the venerable welterweight right from the opening bell. He cracked Shields with a right hand that opened up a cut above his left eye and left Shields completely on the defensive. Cooper moved in and finished Shields in the second with a vicious ground and pound assault that forced the referee to intervene, sealing the massive upset.
Abubakar Nurmagomedov, a Russian native and cousin of current UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, fell to fellow welterweight Pavlo Kusch in another stunning upset. Kusch dueled with Nurmagomedov for the first round in a back-and-forth affair but in the second frame Kusch landed a big shot that the Dagestani could not recover from. Kusch pounced on his wobbled foe and sunk a fight-ending rear naked-choke for the five-point win.
“As a DC native, I could not be more thrilled with the action the PFL brought to our Nation’s Capital tonight,” said Carlos Silva, League President of the PFL. “The League continues to showcase top-quality fights filled with highlight-reel finishes as the fighters compete for their spot in the post-season.”
PFL 3 Final Results
- Ray Cooper III (5 pts.) def. Jake Shields (0 pts.) by TKO (strikes) at 2:09 R2
- Pavlo Kusch (5 pts.) def. Abubakar Nurmagomedov (0 pts.) by submission (rear naked-choke) at 1:23 R2
- Rick Story (3 pts.) def. Yuri Villefort (0 pts.) by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 and 30-27)
- Shamil Gamzatov (3 pts.) def. Eddie Gordon (0 pts.) by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 and 29-28)
- John Howard (5 pts.) vs. Gasan Umalatov (0 pts.) by submission (rear naked-choke) at 2:59 R2
- Magomed Kerimov (6 pts.) def. Herman Terrado (0 pts.) by TKO (technical submission RNC) at 4:54 1R
- Joao Zeferino (6 pts.) def. Paul Bradley (0 pts.) by knockout at 1:58 1R
- Bruno Santos (3 pts.) def. Sadibou Sy (0 pts.) by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28 and 29-28)
- Louis Taylor (4 pts.) def. Anderson Goncalves (0 pts.) by TKO (strikes) at 1:58 3R
- Rex Harris (3 pts.) def. Andre Lobato (0 pts.) by split-decision (28-29, 29-28 and 29-28)
- Abus Magomedov (6 pts.) def. Danillo Villefort (0 pts.) by TKO (strikes) at 3:37 1R
- Bojan Velickovic (5 pts.) def. Jonatan Westin (0 pts.) by TKO (strikes) at 2:20 2R
Welterweight and Middleweight Standings After One Fight
After three events, all 72 fighters have competed in their first regular season fight, and the playoff race is heating up. The next round of fights will determine the top eight fighters in each weight class to compete in PFL’s 2018 postseason.
“The fighters know they are in control of their destiny, and they left everything in the cage tonight,” said Ray Sefo, President of Fighting Operations of PFL. “PFL3 in DC continued the momentum we built in New York and Chicago, and we can’t wait to see what the fighters bring to PFL4 in two weeks on Long Island.”
The 2018 PFL season features 126 fights on Thursday nights in seven regular-season events, bracket-style “win or go home” playoffs, and a $10 million post-season prize pool—the largest prize pool in the history of MMA. The season began with 12 athletes in each of six different weight-classes. Eight fighters from each class will earn their way into the playoff round, and one fighter in each division will earn the title of champion.