Derek Brunson challenges Jake Paul after dominant victory over Ray Cooper III at PFL World Championship

Derek Brunson made a successful debut in the PFL with a unanimous decision win over Ray Cooper III, surviving an early scare to dominate the fight with takedowns and ground and pound, and calling out Jake Paul for his next big fight.

Derek Brunson made a successful debut in the PFL with a unanimous decision win over Ray Cooper III in his first fight outside the UFC in 11 years. The veteran middleweight contender had to survive an early scare at the PFL World Championship after Cooper scored a surprising knockdown but from there it was one way traffic until the fight was over. Brunson took Cooper down repeatedly and just mauled him on the canvas while landing a barrage of punches to secure the victory with the judges scoring the fight 30-27, 30-25 and 30-25 in his favor.

Afterwards, Brunson wasted no time calling for another big name signed to the PFL roster. “It feels good to be in the PFL,” Brunson said. “Ray’s a tough guy, he’s not to be taken lightly. He came out here to bring it. “I came here to ball, where the hell is Jake Paul? I came here for the big fights. Next time we’re going to look for the finish.”

Using a significant size and reach advantage, Brunson looked to bully Cooper early while threatening with takedowns but the two-time PFL champion kept throwing huge bombs to back off the UFC veteran. With his leg up on Brunson’s shoulder while attempting to fight off a takedown, Cooper unleashed a barrage of punches in succession — and the shots dropped Brunson to the ground. Cooper followed up with several more stinging shots as he looked to finish the fight but Brunson managed to counter with a takedown.

Cooper survived to see the second round but Brunson obviously decided wrestling was going to be his biggest advantage so he wasted no time dragging the fight back to the floor. From there, Brunson advanced his position to take the back while continuously peppering away with punches. With five minutes remaining, Cooper desperately tried to turn the tables while swinging with wild strikes and eventually securing a takedown of his own. It was short lived success, however, with Brunson reversing positions to get back on top of Cooper where he began his ground and pound assault again. Brunson continued hammering on Cooper until the final bell sounded to end the fight as he secured the victory. When it was over, the PFL stats showed Brunson outlanding Cooper 159 to 14 in total strikes.

While he called for Paul for his next fight, Brunson may instead get a showdown with Bellator middleweight champion Johnny Eblen, who was in attendance on Friday night watching the fight unfold from cageside.


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