The second edition of Dana White’s Contender Series 2021 will go down on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN+. After handing out five UFC contracts in week 1, anything can happen in week 2. The fight card will feature five fights, ten talented fighters, and an endless amount of potential. With fighters featured from all around the world, we are here to make sure you are educated about the fighters looking to earn their UFC contract. Let’s take a look at what to expect from week 2 of the Contender Series 2021.
Muin Gafurov (17-3) vs. Chad Anheliger (10-5)
Firstly, Muin Gafurov will take on Chad Anheliger to start the fight card. Gafurov comes in with more experience than the average Contender Series fighter. Holding a record of 17-3, Gafurov has previously fought for ONE Championship and UAE Warriors. Gafurov is well-rounded with creative striking that makes him dangerous at 135 pounds. His reliable chin and experience offer him the opportunity to win any fight. Gafurov strikes with sneaky power, so make sure not to blink when he is in the cage.
On the contrary, Anheliger has had quite the road to this fight against Gafurov. After starting his pro career 2-5, Anheliger decided this would not be the story of his career. He turned things around and managed to win eight fights in a row. Anheliger leaves everything in the cage and looks to end the fight every chance he gets. Consequently, Anheliger finished nine of his ten wins, six by KO/TKO and three submissions. Anheliger is now one big win away from the ultimate comeback of 2-5 to the UFC.
Bruno Korea (12-3-1) vs. Carlos Vergara (8-2-1)
Secondly, Bruno Korea and Carlos Vergara look to be the newest additions to the UFC flyweight division. After going 2-1 in The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Season 4, Korea got a chance in the UFC against Matheus Nicolau. Unfortunately, he did not get the win and was not given another chance in the UFC. Luckily, Korea found success on the regional scene, going 8-2-1 after his short UFC tenure. Korea’s slick jiu-jitsu and technical striking have earned him another shot in the biggest MMA promotion in the world.
Although Korea’s striking has improved greatly, he must be careful against the explosive Vergara. Holding a record of 8-2-1, Vergara has won five of his fights by KO/TKO. Vergara has now won four fights in a row, dating back to March 2019. Despite the lack of experienced opponents, Vergara has the ability to end any fight at flyweight. Vergara will need to avoid Korea’s BJJ and look for a statement finish on the feet.
Saimon Oliveira (17-3) vs. Jose Alday (14-5-1)
Thirdly, Saimon Oliveira vs. Jose Alday is a matchup between two closely skilled fighters. Since turning pro in 2013, Oliveira has been using his jiu-jitsu to create success. Consequently, Oliveira has won eleven of his fights by submission. The main concern for Oliveira will be the fact he has not fought in nearly two years. With that being said, Oliveira’s BJJ always offers him a path to victory. Additionally, Oliveira’s striking improvements have set him up for success in the UFC moving forward.
Alday is a talented fighter who has had his ups and downs on the regional scene. Holding a record of 14-5-1, Alday has wins over UFC fighters Gustavo Lopez and John Castaneda. After starting his pro career 8-0, Alday struggled at times with step-ups in competition. Alday’s last fight was four months ago, where he won in only 57 seconds by KO. He now looks to ride that momentum into the biggest fight of his MMA career and cash in on a UFC contract.
Mario Sousa (12-1) vs. Chidi Njokuani (19-7) may be the fight of the night for the second week of the Contender Series 2021
Mario Sousa vs. Chidi Njokuani has fight of the night written all over it. Holding a record of 12-1, Sousa can finish this fight wherever it goes. As a result of his fight style, Sousa has finished eleven of his twelve wins. At 24 years old, Sousa has won his last five fights in a row. The last time we saw Sousa, he won on last year’s Contender Series against Mariusz Ksiazkiewicz. Unfortunately, Sousa was not awarded a UFC contract but got invited back for another chance at earning a contract.
Njokuani comes in as potentially the most experienced fighter on the 2021 Contender Series. After building up a record of 13-4, Njokuani signed with Bellator. Njokuani ended up with a Bellator record of 5-3 with tons of experience gained. He ultimately parted ways with Bellator and fought one fight with LFA before getting invited to DWCS. Njokuani uses his striking to control the pace and damage his opponent throughout the fight. Although he comes in as an underdog, underestimating Njokuani would be a mistake.
Josh Quinlan (5-0) vs. Logan Urban (5-1) will headline the second week of the Contender Series 2021
In the headliner, Josh Quinlan and Logan Urban will end the night with a bang. Coming in on short notice, Urban is simply as game as they come. Holding a record of 5-1, every single one of Urban’s fights has ended by a finish. Although his opponents were mostly inexperienced, his dominant performances have continued to speak volumes. Urban is unpredictable and creates damage wherever the fight goes. Despite taking the fight on short notice, Urban always comes to fight and has the skills needed to win.
On the other side of the cage, Quinlan has maintained a perfect record through five fights. Not only has he won all of his fights, but Quinlan has also finished every fight. Quinlan mostly maintains a counterstriking approach with a reliable ground game. At 28 years old, his ability to create damage has made him an interesting prospect. With his previous opponent dropping out, Quinlan will have to make last-second adjustments to his game plan. All things considered, the winner of the main event will most likely earn a UFC contract.
PFL 4 | Clay Collard and Alexander Martinez look to pick up another 3 points
‘Cassius’ Clay Collard once again steps into the PFL Cage on June 17th, this time, facing off against Alexander Martinez, who himself, picked up 3 points in his first season outing. The 4th event of the season will take place at the Overtime Elite Arena, in Atlanta, Georgia.
In Collard’s first bout of the 2022 season, he took on PFL newcomer, Jeremy Stephens, and not only picked up the unanimous decision 3 point win, he dominated in what was a fight of the year contender. In round 1 of their bout, Collard weathered the storm, as he was caught with a few of ‘Lil Heathen’s’ big signature strikes.
After round 1, the Team Bonafide product started to find his rhythm and began striking in combinations, putting Stephens on the back foot.
Collard managed to bounce back from last seasons semi final loss to Manfio, picking up the 3 points, whereas Stephens fell to a 6 fight losing skid, coming up short in his PFL debut.
Alex Martinez also picked up 3 points in the first Lightweight bouts of the season. He defeated Stevie Ray via unanimous decision, getting himself back into the winning column. Martinez’s 2022 season has already equaled his last in which he only picked up 3 points in his 3 season bouts.
PFL’s 2021 Lightweight season champion, Manfio, is also on the card, facing off against Aubin-Mercier, who himself, picked up 3 points, but is sitting at 5th place. Manfio will hope to get the job done early, and will be keeping a look out for the Collard vs Martinez result, in anticipation of a rematch with ‘Cassius’ Clay Collard.
Another man who will be keeping a close eye is ‘Showtime Pettis’. The human highlight reel is currently sitting top of the Lightweight ladder after scoring a first round triangle choke over Myles Price in early May.
Clay Collard will look to put the pressure on as per usual, adding more points to his tally, securing his place in the post season tournament.
UK fans can catch the action as always on Channel 4 from 2:00am, with the prelims live and available on the Channel 4 YouTube channel. How do you see this one playing out?
Frans Mlambo Out, Arturo Vergara In For May 29 Combate Global Event
Frans Mlambo, the number one contender in Combate Global’s bantamweight division, will be replaced by hard-hitting Arturo Vergara (2-0 MMA; 3-1 Kickboxing) of Los Andes, Chile via Miami. Vergara will challenge Martinez of Mexico City, Mexico in a bantamweight non-title bout.
Combate Global today announced a new main event for its show on Sunday, May 29 in Miami, Fla., due to an abdominal injury sustained by Ireland’s Frans “The Zulu Irishman” Mlambo (13-5), who had been scheduled to challenge reigning Combate Global World Bantamweight (135 pounds) Champion David “The Black Spartan” Martinez (6-1) for Martinez’s title.
Combate Global will announce television programming details as well as the complete fight card for the event on Tuesday, May 24.
“We wish Frans a full and speedy recovery,” said Combate Global CEO Campbell McLaren, “and are excited to debut Chile’s Arturo Vergara, who is coming off an incredible, nine-second knockout! I have a lot of respect for Arturo stepping up because David Martinez is as tough an opponent as they come.”
Unbeaten to date under MMA rules, Vergara produced a stunning, nine-second knockout via a flying knee strike of Cody Schieve on May 6. The speedy win followed another first round (2:21) TKO (strikes) that Vergara notched in his MMA rules debut against Steven Orozco on February 19.
Prior to his first MMA start, Vergara had competed exclusively under kickboxing rules, amassing over 80 bouts as an amateur, and a 3-1 record as a professional. The 23-year-old Martinez of Mexico City will enter La Jaula, the Combate Global competition cage, for the first time since he was crowned world champion one year ago, on May 29, 2021.
A member of Team Bonebreakers, Martinez defeated three consecutive opponents – including championship round adversary Francisco “Cisco” Rivera, Jr. via second round (0:17) TKO (head kick and punches) – in one night, to become world champion.
UFC London | 5 Fighters Who Have To Be On The Card
Immediately after UFC London earlier in the year, the ball started rolling towards a second UK event in 2022 after Dana White made it clear he wanted to come back soon. Whilst the year’s first event at the O2 Arena delivered one of the best non-PPV events in recent history, there’s still more ground to cover. Aspinall vs Volkov was stacked with home fighters but there are still a handful that missed out on fighting in front of the UK.
Here are five UK fighters that deserve a chance to fight at the O2 Arena after missing out the first time. Not that we’re complaining if the likes of Paddy Pimblett and Jai Herbert show up on this card also.
5. Dom Wooding
Yes it is true, we will never stop banging this drum. After defending his Cage Warriors bantamweight title in December of last year, we had our fingers crossed that London would come around in time for Dom Wooding. The ‘Black Panther’ didn’t get the call up on that occasion but absence has only made the heart grow fonder. This is the time for Dom Wooding to fight in the UFC and if you don’t believe us, maybe ‘The Last Stylebender’ can change your mind.
4. Mason Jones
Mason ‘The Dragon’ Jones has had quite a stop and start UFC career since joining the promotion as a double champion in Cage Warriors. The Welshman is 1-1-1 in the UFC so far and would have picked up some decent momentum if his fight with Alan Patrick hadn’t been stopped due to an accidental eye poke in a fight he was winning comfortably. A win over late notice replacement David Onama, who recently picked up a first UFC win of his own, has got Jones back on the right path after a tough introduction to the UFC against Mike Davis. Jones always delivers great fights due to his high pressure and output style and a win in London could be exactly the kind of moment he needs to really put the past behind him and push on in the UFC.
3. Lerone Murphy
For the vast majority of UK fight fans, Lerone Murphy came out of nowhere when he debuted in the UFC. Now on a 3-fight win streak after his debut resulted in a draw at UFC 242, Murphy has been putting on increasingly impressive performances every time he has stepped foot in the Octagon. Still yet to fight in front of UK fans, ‘The Miracle’ will have a huge fight on his hands in his next outing as he looks to step foot in the rankings of the stacked featherweight division.
2. Davey Grant
Davey Grant has really made a name for himself in recent times as a must watch fighter who will steal a main card. After chaining back-to-back finishes, Grant may have lost two of his last three fights but his stock in the UFC has risen massively. His fights with Marlon Vera and Adrian Yanez put Grant on the map when it comes to value for money fighters. Now back in the win column after his 3rd round finish over Louis Smolka at the weekend, Grant said in his post fight interview about making a quick turn around and potentially fighting in London. We know we are asking for a lot with the card already being incredibly busy but Davey Grant opening the main card with a barnburner is sure to blow the roof off of the O2 just like the last time the UFC came calling.
1. Nathaniel Wood
Luck has not been on Nathaniel Wood’s side as of late. Three cancelled fights in a row meant he missed out on the first London card even after he was found a replacement opponent. An illness forced Vince Morales out of their bout which seemed to be opening the event and setting the tone for the evening with the return of ‘The Prospect’ in front of his people. After going 4-2 as a bantamweight in the UFC but losing to two top fighters in John Dodson and Casey Kenney, Wood has announced he is moving up a weight class since his fight in London fell off. Nathaniel Wood deserves this chance to fight in London after losing out at such short notice last time around and we can’t wait to see how he stacks up amongst the rest of the 145 pound division.
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