Pearl City’s Ray Cooper III suffered a stunning first round stoppage loss on Thursday night in the Professional Fighters League, falling to UFC veteran John Howard.
Cooper, who lost via TKO three minutes into the opening round, landed 8/9 total strikes with 7/8 coming from a top position on the ground before Howard (28-15) was able to get back to his feet and drop Cooper twice before the referee stepped in.
Despite the loss, Cooper’s five points earned in his season opening win over Zane Kamaka was enough to clinch a playoff spot for a second straight season. Last year, Cooper went undefeated through the season and playoffs before falling in the $1-million finale.
Cooper now falls to 18-7 in his career.
The PFL Welterweight Playoffs begin on October 11 in Las Vegas, Nevada.