UFC: Who earned contracts on week three of DWCS?

UFC, Dana White

Tonight, we saw more UFC contracts handed out in the third week of the 2021 season of Dana White’s Contender Series. We saw the most amount of fights we’ve seen all season as six fights took place tonight in the UFC‘s APEX.

So far this season, Dana White has been very generous with the contracts. The UFC president has shelled out ten contracts after two weeks. Last week, all five winners got a contract while in week one, White even gave a UFC contract to a fighter who lost.

With the promotion upping the amount of events they are hosting, they are constantly looking to add talent and The Contender Series is proving to be a gold mine for them. Tonight, the promotion ended up handing out another five contracts tonight.

UFC Contract Winners

Jailton Almeida

In the featured bout of the evening, we saw a battle of light heavyweights as Jailton Almeida (13-2) took on Nasrudin Nasrudinov (9-0). Nasrudinov entered the bout as the massive favorite and entered the contest with the same reputation as most fighters that come out of Dagestan.

However, it was Almeida who looked the most impressive in the grappling exchanges this evening. While everyone expected Nasrudinov to come forward and take Almeida down, we saw the opposite. Almeida’s strength gave Nasrudinov problems throughout the entire fight.

In the second round, Almeida landed a takedown and was able to work his way to the back of Nasrudinov. Once there, he was able to secure a rear naked choke and get the finish. Almeida’s dominant performance earned him a UFC contract.

Albert Duraev

The fourth fight of the night featured a battle of middleweights as Albert Duraev (13-3) took on Caio Bittencourt (14-6). Many were looking forward to this one and Bittencourt was riding a long winning streak as he was hoping to earn himself a UFC contract.

However, this fight ended up being incredibly one-sided in the other direction. Early on in the first round, Duraev was able to get a takedown and Bittencourt wouldn’t get back up. Duraev tied him up on the ground and use his ground and pound to secure dominant positions. Towards the end of the first, Duraev locked up a choke and got the tap. With his dominant win, Dana White gave him a contract.

Lakasz Brzeski

The third fight of the night featured a battle of heavyweights as Lukasz Brzeski (8-1-1) took on Dylan Potter (10-5). These two heavyweights wasted no time as both men started the fight throwing bombs. Immediately, Brzeski had the upper hand as he was landing big shots. However, Potter hung in there and threw back.

Both men looked absolutely gassed just halfway through the first round. For the rest of the fight, Brzeski pushed forward while Potter tried to hold him off. In the final round, Brzeski got a takedown and got the back of Potter. He sunk in a choke and initially it looked like Potter tapped however, upon further review, he was just fighting the hands.

Nevertheless, Brzeski got the submission win and earned himself a UFC contract as a result.

Jack Della Maddalena

The second fight of the evening paired up prospective welterweights Jack Della Maddalena (9-2) and Ange Loosa (7-1). This fight ended up being an absolute war as both men were going all out for a UFC contract.

Throughout the entire fight, it was Della Maddalena who was pushing forward and landing the better shots. In the second round, Della Maddalena slipped which allowed Loosa to get on top. In that, Loosa almost ended up securing an arm-triangle choke, however, Della Maddalena powered through.

In the third round, Loosa had success early in the round, but Della Maddalena turned things around about halfway through. Throughout the final couple of minutes, Della Maddalena put his foot on the gas and had Dana White standing up at the end. A sensational win that earned him a UFC contract.

Jasmine Jasudavicius

The first UFC contract of the evening went to Jasmine Jasudavicius (6-1) who defeated Julia Palestra (8-3) in an entertaining battle in the women’s flyweight division. This fight was back-and-forth, but there was a clear strategy for Jusdavicius.

The Canadian flyweight wanted to get the fight to the ground throughout. Palestra has great Muay Thai and you could tell when the two would exchange. However, Jusdavicius did a fantastic job of getting the fight to the ground throughout the three round contest.

In the first round, Jusdavicius was so dominant that she came within seconds of a finish. While it was a grinding performance, she did enough in Dana White’s eyes to earn herself a UFC contract.

Breaking down the UFC’s hot start with the Contender Series in 2021

UFC, Dana White

Last night we saw another episode of Dana White’s Contender Series. It was the UFC‘s second episode of the season and featured five fights. Ten prospective fighters were ready to go all out to earn themselves UFC contracts.

Last week, Dana White handed out five contracts during week one. In all the years of DWCS, it was the first time the UFC gave out a contract to both fighters featured in one of the bouts. The fight was so close that White gave the winner and loser a shot.

With five fresh faces added to the roster, attention turned to The Contender last night as well. The action did start relatively slow in the bantamweight division. Given how stacked 135 is for the UFC, I figured the bantamweights needed to go all out.

Chad Anheliger (11-5) took on Muin Gafurov (17-4). Anheliger was a massive underdog, but he was riding an eight-fight win streak. His constant pressure and activity was enough go get a split decision. After the performance, I didn’t think he’d get a contract, but Dana White surprised me and added the Canadian bantamweight to the promotion.

UFC Contender Highlights

After that first fight, we saw some tremendous action the rest of the night. CJ Vergara (9-2) looked like a flyweight destroyer last night in his bout with Bruno Korea (12-4). Vergara stormed out of the gate and finished Korea with a brutal knee to the body in the opening minute.

After that fight, we saw a war in the bantamweight division between Saimon Oliveira (18-3) and Jose Alday (14-6). Oliveira got the nod on the cards and was given a UFC contract by Dana White.

After that, we had back-to-back finishes to close the night. Nigerian middleweight Chidi Njokuani (20-7) dominated and stopped Mario Sousa (12-2) in the third round. Then the attention turned to the featured bout of the evening.

Josh Quinlan (6-0) took on Logan Urban (5-2). Quinlan was a huge favorite and he showed why. He completely overwhelmed Urban and stopped him in the first minute to stay perfect and earn a UFC contract.

Yes, you read that right, the promotion gave out five new contracts last night for the second straight week. Ten fighters have now been added to the UFC roster through two weeks on DWCS. Given how many fights the promotion puts on, it’s not surprising to see so many new additions right away this year.

Who earned UFC contracts on week one of Dana White’s Contender Series?

UFC, Dana White

Tonight Dana White’s Contender Series was back for the first time in 2021 with eight prospects hoping to win UFC contracts. It was a night full of action and these fighters seemed hungrier than ever to earn themselves a contract.

There were four great fights tonight and ultimately, Dana White ended up handing out a record number of UFC contracts for one night. The boss handed out five contracts and for the first time, there was one fight where the winner and loser were given contracts.

UFC Newcomers

Azamat Murzakanov

In the main event of the evening, we saw a battle of prospective UFC light heavyweights. Undefeated Russian prospect Azamat Murzakanov (9-0) took on Matheaus Scheffel (14-6).

Murzakanov was the biggest betting favorite of the evening. In the first couple of minutes of the fight, both men were just feeling out the range but they were swinging big shots.

You could tell that Murzakanov was just waiting for his opportunity to explode and get on the inside. Well, three minutes into the first round he did just that. He exploded with a huge combination that put Scheffel out cold. There’s a reason why there was a lot of hype around Murzakanov. He earned his UFC contract with an exclamation point.

AJ Fletcher

The first contract came from the very first fight this evening. AJ Fletcher (9-0) took on Leonardo Damiani (10-2-1) in the welterweight division. Both of these guys were being looked at as two highly valued prospects in the eyes of the UFC.

In the opening portion of the first round, Damiani was actually getting the better of the striking. He was the one backing Fletcher up and appeared to him in desperation mode at one point forcing Fletcher to shoot for a double leg takedown.

However, late in the round, everything changed. Fletcher opened up with a spinning back kick that seemed to give him confidence. Seconds later, he blasted Damiani with a flush flying knee that put the Italian out. That performance was enough to earn him a UFC contract.

Victor Altamirano and Carlos Candelario

One of the more anticipated matchups of the evening was the flyweight contest between Victor Altamirano (9-1) and Carlos Candelario (8-0). The UFC is always looking for flyweight talent and this matchup promised to be fireworks.

Candelario briefly retired after his first contender series appearance a few years ago, but his fire is back and he was looking for a contract. In the first round, both men came out extremely fast and both had success on the feet. Candelario stole the round with good takedowns and ground and pound.

In the second round, Candelario started out strong with his boxing. However, he looked a little tired and started going for takedowns. Altamirano defended takedowns well initially and was landing big shots of his own. Candelario was able to land takedowns late in the round and it proved to be a very close round.

In the third round, Altamirano really looked a lot better and took over. Candelario was slowing down and Altamirano started doing work to the body. Candelario had a good first two round, but Candelario hit a wall and Altamirano dominated the majority of the round.

The fight was razor close and Altamirano won a split decision. Because the fight was so close and both men brought it, Dana White gave both of them UFC contracts.

Joanderson Brito

The co-main event was a battle between Diego Lopes (19-3) and Joanderson Brito (11-2-1).This matchup between prospective UFC featherweights was a ton of fun. I was a little surprised by the start. Brito is known for his aggressive striking style, but he shocked everyone by coming out with a takedown attempt.

Lopes almost locked in an armbar halfway through the round and that forced Brito to stand up. From there, the two men spent the rest of the round just exchanging massive power shots. In the second round, we saw a lot of the same.

Brito ended up shooting for a takedown again in the second and Lopes almost got guillotine choke. Lopes came close a number of time on submissions, but Brito powered through. In the second, Brito landed some of the nastiest ground and pound I’ve ever seen and heard.

The final round started with both men embracing. However, the action didn’t last long. Lopes was accidentally poked in the eye by Brito and the fight was called off.

Brito was docked a point and they went to the scorecards. Ultimately, Brito got the decision win and because of the exciting action throughout, Dana White gave Brito a UFC contract.

UFC: Dana White’s Contender Series targeting June return

UFC, Dana White

One of the UFC‘s key avenues for new signings has a target for it’s return. John Morgan of MMA Junkie tweeted out last night that the promotion is currently targeting a June return for Dana White’s Contender Series.

The Contender Series wrapped up a ten week run last November. The UFC more than twenty new fighters to the roster on this latest round of The Contender Series. According to Morgan, the promotion has already started booking fights for the next season.

Whenever it debuts, this will be the fifth season of DWCS. So far, the show has done an incredible job of bringing new talent to the UFC. Some of the notable veterans are “Suga” Sean O’Malley, Dan Ige, Geoff Neal, Edmen Shahbazyan, Maycee Barber, Ian Heinisch, and more.

The reason the show is so exciting is the fact that fighters usually go all out to earn themselves a UFC contract. You will usually see several finishes in one night of fights and Dana White was very generous with contracts this last season.

Another batch of UFC fighters

As mentioned, season four was another hit for the UFC. The promotion brought in several fighters with a lot of talent and several fighters have already made their impact felt within the promotion.

Some of the standouts from last season include Phil Hawes, Jordan Leavitt, Dustin Jacoby, Jimmy Flick, Cory McKenna, and Natan Levy. The only one who has not made their UFC debut is Natan Levy.

However, we are including him here because the promotion is very high on him. Levy is from Israel and could be a key fighter for the promotion’s development in that region of the world.

The rest all have a combined record of 7-0 inside the octagon. The Contender Series is a proven avenue for the UFC to sign new talent and I can’t wait for June to roll around. Should be another fun round of fights and another batch of great talent that will be inserted into the UFC.

DWCS Week 9 Recap: Who earned UFC contracts last night?

UFC, Dana White

The UFC returned last night with their ninth contender series card of 2020. The action was a little slower than last week, but despite that, several contracts were still handed out by Dana White. The newcomers are solid additions to their respected weight classes.

It was an odd night when it came to The Contender Series. Normally, fighters go all out to get finishes, but last night we saw some fighters play it easy. That’s not what Dana White is looking for when he puts on these cards.

Fighters who won but didn’t earn UFC contracts last night included bantamweight Danny Sabatello (9-1) and middleweight Mario Filipe De Sousa (12-1). Sabatello went to a very conservative wrestling game plan and grinding out a decision while De Sousa had a close fight that White thought he lost.

UFC Contract Winners

Luana Pinheiro

The first UFC contract of the night was handed out to strawweight Luana Pinheiro (8-1). The Brazilian strawweight entered the cage last night with everyone talking about her slick Judo. However, it wasn’t her judo that impressed Dana White last night.

Pinheiro has incredible power for a strawweight and she showed that off in her striking last night. She knocked out the last fighter she faced and she did it again last night. Halfway through the first round she blitzed and floored Stephanie Frausto.

The combination put her down and Pinheiro’s killer instinct went to work. She followed up with a few clean shots that forced the referee to stop the action. Not often are their ladies with that kind of power in the UFC‘s strawweight division.

Nikolas Motta

The second UFC contract of the evening was handed out to lightweight Nikolas Motta (12-3). Motta showed last night that he’s got very good striking and he showed that he can really impress UFC brass.

However, there were some drawbacks in his performance. Dana White was on the fringe about giving Motta a contract. Motta took on Joseph Lowry last night and appeared at times that he could finish the fight if he pressed on the gas.

However, Motta would hold back just a little. When Lowry would return, Motta would strike fiercely, but that lack of killer instinct nearly cost him a contract. However, in the end, Dana White rewarded his dominant decision victory with a UFC contract.

Natan Levy

The final UFC contract of the night was handed out to featherweight Natan Levy (6-0). Levy competes at featherweight, however, he took this opportunity at short notice and fought at a catchweight nearly 15 pounds above his normal weight class.

However, that didn’t stop Levy from dominating. Levy took on Shaheen Santana and used his superior grappling to dominate the fight. Santana came into the fight with a number of submissions which made the performance by Levy even more impressive.

Dana White seemed extremely excited because Levy is from Israel. The UFC has been looking for a fighter from Israel for a long time, and they might have found that contender in Levy. After dominating the whole fight, Levy finished things with a submission in the third.

DWCS Week 8 Recap: Who earned UFC contracts last night?

UFC, Dana White

Last night the UFC returned with another round of fights on Dana White’s Contender Series. The Contender Series took a little bit of a break when the promotion headed overseas for another round of fights on the UFC‘s Fight Island.

However, they were back in the APEX last night and the fights did not disappoint. To me, it seemed like the action went quickly in the octagon. That might be because every fight was finished by knockout including two in the first round.

White was quick to get up last night to go do his post-fight interview. It was very clear that he saw some clear UFC talent amongst the four winners last night. The promotion added some very solid talent last night.

UFC Newcomers

Jared Vanderaa

The first fight of the evening featured a heavyweight contest between Jared Vanderaa (11-4) and Harry Hunsucker (6-3). When the fight got underway, it looked like Hunsucker had the big advantage on the feet.

Hunsucker had his hands down at times and appeared to be finding a groove in the first round. However, Vanderaa was able to land a takedown late in the first and he pinned Hucksucker against the fence. Some big ground and pound followed that haulted the action.

Dana White said that the UFC is always looking for heavyweight talent. Vanderaa earned himself a contract with the promotion after the fight last night. Definitely showed some holes in his game, but nothing he can’t clean up with time.

Luis Saldana

Arguably the most impressive UFC newcomer last night was featherweight Luis Saldana (14-6). Saldana took on Vince Murdock (11-6) in the second fight of the evening. Saldana was the taller fighter and enjoyed a decent reach advantage.

It was a great standup fight, but Saldana was just outclassing the smaller Murdock. Murdock had really good speed and power, but always seemed a little out of reach. Saldana did a beautiful job of sniping from range last night.

In the third round, Saldana landed a beautiful front kick to the face. A nice combination was then followed by another upkick that spelled the end for Murdock. Saldana followed up beautifully to end the fight and earn himself a UFC contract.

Ignacio Bahamondes

The third UFC contract of the evening was handed out to lightweight Ignacio Bahamondes (11-3). Bahamondes took on fellow lightweight Edson Gomez (6-2) in the third fight of the evening. This produced one of the highlight finishes of the evening.

In the first round of the fight, Gomez really tried taking the fight to the ground. Bahomondes was much slicker on the feet and he did a fantastic job of using his range. He also did a really good job of defending takedowns in the first round.

In the second round, Bahamondes really started to go to work. He landed some beautiful combinations including one that knocked Gomez’s mouthpiece out. Just about at the halfway point and Bahamondes landed a nasty front kick knocking Gomez out cold. That’s an easy way to earn yourself a UFC contract.

Carlos Ulberg

The final UFC contact of the evening was handed out to light heavyweight, Carlos Ulberg (3-0). Ulberg trains at City Kickboxing alongside the UFC‘s middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya. He took on Bruno Oliveira (8-2) in the featured fight last night.

Ulberg entered the cage with professional kickboxing credentials. Oliveira has really good striking as well, however, he relies more on his hands than his kicks. In the first round, Ulberg was doing a fantastic job of using his kicks to keep Oliveira just out of range.

Then out of no where, Ulberg lands a massive combination that sent Oliveira face first into the canvas. A devastating knockout and the UFC has added another solid fighter from New Zealand in the form of Carlos Ulberg.

DWCS Week 7 Recap: Who walked away with UFC contracts last night?

UFC, Dana White

Last night, the UFC hosted their seventh and final episode of Dana White’s Contender Series for this current run. With the upcoming trip to Fight Island, the show is going to be taking a break for the next six week or so.

So far this year, the Contender Series has brought many new fighters to the UFC. In the six episodes leading into last night, Dana White had awarded 23 fighters UFC contracts through the first six weeks. White handed out three new contracts last night. Let’s take a look at the UFC newcomers.

UFC Newcomers

Before we dive into the newest members of the roster, there were two fighters who didn’t get contracts last night. Michael Lombardo (11-2, 1 NC) and Kyle Driscoll (12-3) both won decisions, but the UFC president wasn’t impressed enough to give either man a contract.

Danyelle Wolf

The first UFC contract of the evening was handed out to Danyelle Wolf (1-0). The record there is not a typo, last night was her MMA debut. Wolf came in as a professional boxer having fought over 40 times professionally in the squared circle.

White alluded to the fact that Wolf benefits from fighting at featherweight. The UFC women’s featherweight division is extremely light, and the promotion is looking to build up that weight class for the champion, Amanda Nunes.

The fight Wolf had last night was very competitive with Taneisha Tennant. In fact, there were quite a bit of people that scored the fight for Tennant. Normally you wouldn’t see Dana White give someone like this a contract, but the lack of featherweights assisted here.

Collin Anglin

The second UFC contract of the evening was handed out to featherweight Collin Anglin (8-1). Anglin had a fight that made White give a standing ovation once the fight was over. It was an absolute war, and White praised both Anglin and Muhammadjon Naimov.

Naimov stared out the fight strong, and I gave him the first round. However, Anglin really started to go for it in the final two rounds and took that fight. He earned that UFC contract last night, and both men were very impressive.

After the event, White said that Naimov was extremely disappointed in himself. However, White said that Naimov is on the short list in case someone falls out so don’t be shocked to see him with the promotion sooner or later.

Jordan Williams

The final contract of evening was handed out to the fighter who had the most impressive performance to me. Jordan Williams (9-3, 1 NC) was on his third attempt to get into the UFC being on DWCS. Third time was the charm last night.

Williams took on Gregory Rodrigues, and he left little doubt that he deserved to be inside the octagon. Just before the halfway point in the round, Williams pushed Rodrigues back and landed a combination from hell that put Rodrigues out.

Williams screamed after he won the fight, “Give me my contract!”. The camera panned to the UFC president who had a big smile on his face. The talented middleweight finally made it to the big show.

DWCS Week 6: Who won UFC contracts last night?

UFC, Dana White

Dana White’s Contender Series was back last night for the sixth week of this season’s run. The UFC entered last night having given out 19 contracts over the span of five weeks. There has been a lot of great talent added to the roster.

Last night was another incredible night for the Contender Series. The UFC awarded another four contracts after some incredible performances from the fighters last night. Let’s take a look at the newest additions to the roster.

UFC Newcomers

Before we dive into the four fighters who were welcomed into the UFC, there was one winner who was left out. Sherrard Blackledge (5-0) was the one fighter who didn’t get a UFC contract despite his victory last night over Cameron Church.

White said that he loved what he saw for the first two rounds of the fight, but the third round left much to be desired. White said that they do like Blackledge, and because they do, they are inviting him back for the next run of the Contender Series.

Aliaskhab Khizriev

The first UFC contract of the evening was handed out to Russian prospect Aliaskhab Khizriev (13-0). Khizriev entered with a good amount of hype as a guy that was 12-0 and many people thought he deserved to be in the UFC already.

Khizriev made very quick work of his opponent. He was able to get Henrique Shiguemoto down to the ground quickly and secured a rear-naked choke within the first minute. Dominant performance by the UFC newest welterweight.

Drako Rodriguez

The second UFC contract was handed out to 24 year old bantamweight Drako Rodriguez (7-1). White was a fan of Rodriguez’s story after Rodriguez said that he got into fighting after watching the free UFC fights on SpikeTV.

Rodriguez also secured a first round finish last night. When he was on the ground with Leomana Martinez, he showed how slick his ground skills were. He transitioned through multiple submissions before securing a triangle choke in the first round earning him a shot in the UFC.

Another thing that White loved was Rodriguez’s attitude after the fight. He was more upset that he couldn’t show his striking. White said that he would be able to show it off inside the UFC.

Phil Hawes

The third UFC contract was handed out to middleweight Phil Hawes (8-2). Hawes had fought on the Contender Series back in 2017. That night, Hawes looked to wrestle a lot, and he was caught with a head kick that knocked him out.

Last night, Hawes really showed the UFC how much better he’s become. Hawes stepped forward with a variety of strikes before landing a big shot that floored Khadzhimurat Bestaev. Hawes quickly followed up for the first round TKO earning him a shot in the UFC.

Tafon Nchukwi

The final UFC contract of the evening was handed out to Tafon Nchukwi (4-0). Nchukwi looked sensational last night with nasty striking that really impressed Dana White. Nchukwi finished Al Matavao with a savage head kick in the second round.

White said that normally they would put someone like Nchukwi in a developmental deal with that little of experience. However, because of the nature of his win, he’s going right into the UFC. Nchukwi also holds a knockout over Contender Series vet and UFC newcomer, William Knight.

DWCS Week 5 Recap: Who walked away with UFC contracts last night?

UFC, Dana White

Dana White’s Contender Series was back for the fifth week of 2020. The UFC has shelled out an astonishing 16 contracts through the first four weeks of the shows run this year. Dana White has been blown away by the prospective talent from this show.

The fights last night showed why the UFC uses the contender to sign new talent. The fights were very solid and you saw some real potential from guys last night. After the night was over, White and the UFC signed three new fighters to contracts.

UFC Newcomers

Before we dive into the new UFC fighters, there were two guys who won last night who didn’t get contracts. Melsik Baghdasaryan (5-1) and Tucker Lutz (10-1) both won decisions last night.

However, the UFC President was not ready to hand them contracts to get into the big show. Instead, he’s inviting them back for the Contender Series’ November run in a few months. If they win impressively there, he will sign them.

William Knight

The first UFC contract of the night was handed out to William Knight (8-1). Knight is a light heavyweight who stopped Cody Brundage in the first round. Knight survived some adversity early and finished the fight with some brutal elbows along the cage.

The UFC‘s light heavyweight division is the wild west right now with Jon Jones moving up to heavyweight. It will be interesting to see if the promotion continues to target light heavyweights. Knight is an exciting addition who’s finished all eight of his victories.

Ronnie Lawrence

The second contract the UFC handed out last night went to bantamweight Ronnie Lawrence (6-1). Lawrence put on a clinic last night from the opening bell to the end of the fight shutting out Jose Johnson over three rounds.

While White normally looks for guys who get finishes, he labeled Lawrence as, “Special.” Lawrence is going straight into one of the UFC‘s most stacked divisions. The bantamweight division is insanely deep and filled with killers, and they got another good one last night.

Jimmy Flick

One of the UFC‘s divisions that they are constantly looking to add to is men’s flyweight. The talent pool isn’t extremely deep, but they found themselves a new contender last night. Jimmy Flick (15-5) defeated Nate Smith by arm-triangle in the third round to earn himself a contract.

Not meaning to rhyme, but Flick is slick on the ground. The guy never stops looking for submissions and finishes. That is what really impressed Dana White last night. Given the lack of a deep talent pool, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Flick fighting a ranked contender sooner than later.