2021 PFL playoffs: Rory MacDonald vs. champ Ray Cooper III highlights semifinal matchups

Article by Farah Hannoun


The 2021 PFL playoff matchups are set, and two of the top welterweights will vie for a finals spot.

The playoffs are highlighted by a 170-pound semifinals showdown between former Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald and reigning PFL champ Ray Cooper III in the welterweight semifinals. On the same night, light heavyweights will also compete for a finals spot when reigning champ Emiliano Sordi faces ex-UFC fighter and Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Antonio Carlos Junior.

A week prior on Aug. 13, featherweights and lightweights will do battle as ex-UFC fighter Chris Wade meets standout wrestler Bubba Jenkins, and this season’s star, Brendan Loughnane, takes on Movlid Khaybulaev.

Finally, rounding out the PFL playoffs on Aug. 27 are women’s lightweights and heavyweights, where 2019 champion Kayla Harrison will take on Genah Fabian. Boxing world champion Claressa Shields, who made good on her MMA debut, is also expected to compete on the card against an opponent to be announced.

Check out the entire 2021 playoff matchups below.

Aug. 13 playoffs: Featherweights and lightweights


  • Chris Wade vs. Bubba Jenkins – featherweight semifinal
  • Brendan Loughnane vs. Movlid Khaybulaev – featherweight semifinal
  • Clay Collard vs. Raush Manfio – lightweight semifinal
  • Loik Radzhabov vs. Alex Martinez – lightweight semifinal


Aug. 19 playoffs: Welterweights and light heavyweights


ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - JUNE 17:  Ray Cooper III and Nikolay Aleksakhin in a welterweight fight during PFL 5 at the Ocean Casino Resort on June 17, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Cooper Neill / PFL)

  • Rory MacDonald vs. Ray Cooper III – welterweight semifinal
  • Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Emiliano Sordi – light heavyweight semifinal
  • Cezar Ferreira vs. Marthin Hamlet – light heavyweight semifinal
  • Joao Zeferino vs. Magomed Magomedkerimov – welterweight semifinal


Aug. 27 playoffs: Women’s lightweight and heavyweight

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - JUNE 25:  Kayla Harrison and Cindy Dandois in a lightweight fight during PFL 6 at the Ocean Casino Resort on June 25, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Cooper Neill / PFL)


  • Bruno Cappelozza vs. Jamelle Jones – heavyweight semifinal
  • Kayla Harrison vs. Genah Fabian – women’s lightweight semifinal
  • Denis Goltsov vs. Ante Delija – heavyweight semifinal
  • Larissa Pacheco vs. Taylor Guardado – women’s lightweight semifinal
  • Claressa Shields vs. opponent TBA – non-playoff women’s lightweight bout


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2021 PFL playoffs: Rory MacDonald vs. champ Ray Cooper III highlights semifinal matchups