The upcoming PFL vs. Bellator card has already taken a hit.
Current PFL welterweight champion Magomed Magomedkerimov has been forced out of his fight against Bellator champion Jason Jackson due to undisclosed reasons. In his place, former PFL champion Ray Cooper III now faces Jackson on the card that takes place on Feb. 24 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The new matchup is expected to happen at a 182-pound catchweight. Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Monday following an initial report from MMA Junkie.
Cooper accepts the fight as a two-time PFL champion after winning welterweight gold in 2019 and again in 2021. He split a pair of fights with Magomedkerimov, losing via submission in their first encounter and then earning a brutal knockout in a rematch two years later.
Most recently, Cooper dropped a unanimous decision to UFC veteran Derek Brunson at the 2023 PFL Championship card this past November. Overall, Cooper has gone 3-2 in his last five fights, including wins over Brett Cooper and Rory MacDonald.
As for Jackson, he’ll compete for the first time since his shocking upset over former Bellator champion Yaroslav Amosov this past November. The third-round knockout ended Amosov’s undefeated run, and Jackson celebrated his first championship since joining the Bellator roster in 2019.
Overall, Jackson has rattled off seven wins in a row, and he’ll look to make it eight when he faces Cooper on the PFL vs. Bellator card in February.