One win away from a million dollars.
Ray Cooper III (17-5) continued his torrid run through the inaugural Professional Fighters League season, capping off his fourth consecutive PFL win with a first-round TKO of Handesson Ferreira (13-2-1) in a welterweight semifinal bout at PFL 10 in Washington D.C. on Saturday.
The 25-year-old Hawaiian knocked out Jake Shields (33-11-1) inside of a round earlier in the evening, his second win against the former Strikeforce champion this season, to advance to the tournament finals and a shot at a $1 million prize on Dec. 31.
In both of his fights at PFL 10, Cooper’s aggression was simply too much for his opponents. He was repeatedly able to bully them to the mat and once there, his furious ground-and-pound left them with little recourse but to turtle up and wait for the referee to step in. As an added bonus for Cooper, he avenged a previous decision loss to Ferreira from when the two fought at a regional show in Honolulu last November.
Meeting Cooper at year’s end will be Magomed Magomedkerimov (22-5). The threat of Magomedkerimov’s wrestling combined with his excellent distance striking helped him to cruise through the playoffs as he outpointed Pavlo Kusch (23-7) in the quarterfinals before stopping Bojan Velickovic (16-8-2) by second-round TKO in the semifinals.
Magomedkerimov remained perfect in four PFL appearances and the No. 3 seed now has a chance to claim the seven-figure prize.
Also in notable undercard action, Ferreira beat welterweight veteran Rick Story when Story verbally submitted in round two after suffering what appeared to be an arm injury.