Howard earns upset

Boston’s John Howard, top, upsets Hawaii’s Ray Cooper III with first-round TKO on Thursday during the Professional Fighters League event at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City.

The quest to earn spots in the Professional Fighters League playoffs will continue 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Ocean Casino Resort.

PFL 5 will feature 10 total bouts in the featherweight and lightweight divisions at Ocean’s Ovation Hall. The top eight fighters in each weight class qualify for the playoffs, which will be held in Las Vegas in October. The finals in six weight classes are scheduled for New Year’s Eve in New York, where each champion will earn $1 million.

The top featherweight bout Thursday pits defending PFL champion Lance Palmer (17-3) of Columbus, Ohio, against Brazil’s Luis Rafael Laurentino (34-1). Palmer won the $1 million in the weight class last year. Laurentino won his first-round bout this season in 23 seconds, putting him in position to earn the No. 1 seed for the playoffs.

In lightweight action, defending champ Natan Schulte (16-3-1) of Brazil will take on former UFC competitor Ramsey Nijem (10-7) of Salt Lake City. Chris Wade (15-5), of Long Island, New York, will meet Russia’s Akhmed Aliev (18-4) in another lightweight bout.

Tickets range from $20 to $175 and are available through Ticketmaster and at the Ovation Hall box office. Doors open at 5 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 5:30 p.m. All 10 fights will be shown on ESPN2 and ESPN-Plus.

A portion of the ticket sales will be donated to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.

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