The third week of PFL’s 2018 season just wrapped up with the marquee matchup witnessing Ray Cooper III scoring a second-round TKO of MMA veteran Jake Shields to achieve five points. Cooper was a +925 betting underdog to Shields’ astronomical moneyline of -1400. The co-main event saw Pavel Kusch pulled off a major upset when he choked out Abubakar Nurmagomedov (cousin of UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov) in the second round to earn 5 points. The betting odds had Kusch listed as a +885 underdog to Nurmagomedov’s mega favorite line of -1350.
Also on the main card, Rick Story successfully made his PFL debut with a grinding decision win over Yuri Villefort. Story really let his hands go, landing punches in bunches which aided him in receiving 30-27’s on all three scorecards, and three points towards the one million dollar grand prize. Shamil Gamzatov and Eddie Gordon went the distance tonight, trading strikes back and forth for the bulk of 15 minutes. When the dust settled, it was Gamzatov who walked away with the unanimous decision victory and three points up on the board. Opening up the main card, John Howard hurt Gasan Umalatov on the feet in the first, and then went on to sink an RNC in the second to earn five points on the season.
Ray Cooper III def. Jake Shields by TKO at 2:09 of round 2: Welterweight
Shields jumped half guard early on Cooper and began working his way into full guard. Cooper landed some heavy blows from the top, forcing Shields to get back to his feet. Shields was wobbled by the power of Cooper, but an accidental knee to the cup of Cooper caused a brief break in the action. The face of Shields was covered in blood upon the restart, and he continued to eat heavy punches from Cooper.
Shields shot in for a double leg to open up the second round, but ended up on the bottom once again. Cooper opted to let Shields return to his feet just to put him right back down with an insane left hook. After several savage ground strikes, the referee mercifully stepped in to call off the fight. Wow! This win comes 14 years after Ray’s father lost to Shields. The elder Cooper also beat Shields in 2002, so the Cooper family is now 2-1 against the ex-Strikeforce champion.
Pavel Kusch def. Abubakar Nurmagomedov by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:23 of round 2: Welterweight
Nurmagomedov came out letting his kicks go, but it wasn’t long before they both bit down on their mouthpieces and started slinging leather in the pocket. Kusch shot in for the first takedown attempt of the fight, but was quickly denied. Nurmagomedov was able to clinch his foe up against the fence, but the referee eventually broke up the fighters due to a lack of action. A big head kick landed for Nurmagomedov down the stretch, but Kusch wore it like a champ.
Kusch showed up in the second round more aggressive with his hands, throwing with more power and throwing in combinations. Nurmagomedov got clipped with a monster uppercut and hit the deck, and then Kusch pounced right away, attacking an RNC. Nurmagomedov was dead to rights and respectfully tapped out instead of taking a nap.
Rick Story def. Yuri Villefort by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Welterweight
Villefort blasted an early takedown that led to an awkward north south position, and ultimately allowed Story to get on top and then back to his feet. Villefort elected to jump a guillotine, but Story escaped with ease and opted to stand back to his feet. Story landed some sneaky punches on the inside before jumping a guillotine of his own until the bell sounded.
Story landed a series of flush punches to open the second stanza, attacking both the body and the head. Villefort seemed to be on the ropes, so Story unleashed the leather, landing punch after punch, going up and downstairs. A ton of heart was on display for Villefort, but he ate a ton of shots! Villefort hung tough and even scored a brief takedown with about a minute left in the round.
The welterweights met in the middle and started trading right away. Story found top position and attacked the right arm of Villefort from half guard. Villefort escaped and scrambled to his feet, but Story was right in his face with a punching combo to takedown attempt. Story did a great job of making his opponent defend a constant attack, and ultimately got a takedown and kept it for about 90 seconds. Villefort did scramble up to his feet in the final 10 seconds, but whiffed on his final combo of the fight.
Shamil Gamzatov def. Eddie Gordon by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): Middleweight
A heavy leg kick landed for Gamzatov to open the bout, but he paid for it by eating a punching combo from Gordon. With Gordon pressing forward, Gamzatov changed levels for a takedown, but Gordon was having none of it and shucked Gamzatov to the side. The right hand of Gordon started to find a home on the left side of Gamzatov’s face but an accidental eye poke from Gordon caused a brief halt to the action. Gamzatov finished up the round rather strong, backing up Gordon with some heated hands.
Gamzatov came out much more aggressive in the second round, letting his hands go and backing up his opponent. Gordon gave up the takedown, and just as it looked as if he was going to give up his back, he exploded up and body slammed Gamzatov. Back on the feet, Gamzatov landed some knees from the Thai plum, but ate a big hook as the bell sounded.
A lead kick to the face scored for Gamzatov to open the final round, followed several crisp jabs. As Gamzatov went for a takedown, Gordon connected with an uppercut that fended off the grappling attempts and started up a lot more forward pressure from Gordon. Gamzatov pecked away from open space, but Gordon let it all hang out with ten seconds remaining, throwing an aggressive punching combo to finish strong.
John Howard def. Gasan Umalatov by submission (RNC) at 2:59 of round 2: Middleweight
Howard scored early with some heavy punches on the inside as Umalatov punched his way into the clinch. A heavy right hand stung Umalatov, leading to Howard holding his opponent up against the cage. Back in open space, Umalatov landed a few punches on the inside, but Howard was right there to return even harder punches, and he even scored a takedown right before the round ended.
Howard landed an early flurry to setup a takedown to kick off the second round. Umalatov immediately exposed his back, and Howard instantly attacked the neck. After quite a bit of defending, Umalatov ultimately made a mistake by trying to roll over, and Howard locked up an airtight squeeze, prompting the tap.
Magomed Magomedkerimov def. HermanTerrado by technical submission (RNC) at 4:54 of round 1: Welterweight
- Magomedkerimov – 6 points
Joao Zeferino def. Paul Bradley by KO at 1:58 of round 1: Welterweight
Bruno Santos def. Sadibou Sy by unanimous decision: Middleweight
Louis Taylor def. Anderson Goncalves by TKO at :58 of round 3: Middleweight
Rex Harris def. Andre Lobato by split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Middleweight
- Harris – 3 points (decision originally said Lobato won, but scorecards were tallied wrong)