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Contender Series Week 3 Recap and Reactions

Dana White’s Contender Series 2021 continued last night with six fights. Let’s take a look at the recap and reactions for week 3.

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Dana White’s Contender Series 2021 continued last night with six fights. After handing out ten contracts through two weeks, Dana White has shown how generous he plans to be this season. White chose to continue this pattern by handing out five more contracts during week 3. Although all six winners put on impressive performances, White decided that one fighter needed more experience. Let’s take a look at the recap and reactions for week 3 of the Contender Series 2021.

Mo Miller denied UFC contract at Contender Series week 3

Going into week 3, Mo Miller was considered most likely to earn a UFC contract. Holding a 6-0 pro record, Miller had a tough opponent in Brandon Lewis (5-1). Although he dominated throughout the fight, Miller’s inability to finish Lewis was White’s takeaway. White decided he needed more experience before getting a shot in the UFC. Miller could have gotten the finish, but honestly, he is UFC caliber and deserved the contract. After racking up more experience, no doubt Miller will be in the UFC sooner rather than later.

Jasmine Jasudavicius is a darkhorse in women’s flyweight division

Jasmine Jasudavicius came out against Julia Polastri, looking impressive. Her combination of reach advantage and grappling caught everyone’s attention early. The only issue was her inability to dominate the entire fight. She began to fade in the later rounds, allowing Polastri back into the fight. When the fight ended, Jasudavicius was awarded the unanimous decision victory. The women’s flyweight division always needs more fighters, and White awarded her with a UFC contract. Only time will tell how far she can go, but her well-rounded fight style makes her a dark horse in the division moving forward.

Lukasz Brzeski joins the heavyweight division

Lukasz Brzeski was a perfect representation of Polish MMA. Brzeski had a solid chin, relentless pressure, and looked for the finish constantly throughout the fight. He continued to damage his opponent, Dylan Potter (10-6), deep into the third round. Potter started to fade away, and Brzeski managed to keep the pressure going. Brzeski found himself in a dominant position in the third round and finished the fight with a rear-naked choke. Although Potter did not actually tap, Brzeski was gonna win by decision regardless. The heavyweight division needs new fighters, so White offered Brzeski a contract into the UFC.

Albert Duraev smashes opponent with first-round submission

Albert Duraev came into this fight with the Russian smash mentality. He lived up to the expectations from the second the fight started. Duraev landed a takedown quickly and started to inflict serious damage to his opponent Caio Bittencourt (14-7). He continued to smash until a submission opportunity opened up in the first round. Duraev pulled a brutal neck crank and ended the fight with a first-round submission win. He earned a UFC contract and made a statement to the middleweight division.

Jack Della Maddalena steals the show at Contender Series week 3

Jack Della Maddalena is one of the most exciting fighters in DWCS history. Formerly a rugby player, Maddalena has heavy hands and a never-give-up attitude. He was matched up against a tough opponent in Ange Loosa (7-2), a training partner of Kamaru Usman. Maddalena showed off his fan-friendly style that consisted of endless heavy punches, creative grappling, and cardio to match it. Although the fight went to decision, Maddalena showed the potential to be a problem in the welterweight division. Safe to say, most UFC fans will be tuning it to see his promotional debut.

Jailton Almeida puts the light heavyweight division on notice

In the headliner, Jailton Almeida was a decent underdog against Nasrudin Nasrudinov going into the fight. The tale of the tape was that Nasrudinov was another Khabib-like grappler that could smash anyone. On the contrary, Almeida was a BJJ specialist that developed solid boxing skills. Nobody could have expected the result. Almeida beat Nasrudinov at his own game and relentlessly wrestled his opponent to the ground. Once on the ground, Almeida was searching for submissions and continuing to damage Nasrudinov. In the second round, Almeida sunk in a rear-naked choke and easily earned his UFC contract. If that Almeida shows up every fight, his potential in the light heavyweight division will be endless.

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COPA COMBATE: Brackets Announced For One-Night Tournament, $100,000 on the line

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Combate Global today announced the official brackets and first, or quarterfinal stage, matchups for its coveted “COPA COMBATE” one-night, eight-man, $100,000 grand prize bantamweight (135 pounds) tournament on Sunday, Dec. 12, live on Paramount+ from Miami, Fla.

Paramount+ live coverage of “COPA COMBATE” will begin with a pre-show at 9:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. CT, and will continue with the live fight action, beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/9:00 p.m. CT.

In one bracket, Carlos Briseño (13-2) of Mexico will face off with Cristian “El Scorpio” Barraza (7-3) of Chile, and Frans “The Zulu Irishman” Mlambo (10-5) of Ireland will battle Jose “The Mercenary” Zarauz (22-8-1) of Peru.

In the opposite bracket, Leo Muniz (6-1) of the U.S. will square off with Pierre “The French Hawaiian” Daguzan (6-5) of France, and Kevin Cordero (12-2) of Spain will collide with Luciano “El Aguila” Ramos (8-6) of Argentina.

The winners of the two quarterfinal bouts in each bracket will square off with each other in the semifinal stage of the tournament, and the two semifinal stage fight winners will face each other in the championship stage of action.

Carlos Briseño vs. Cristian Barraza

The 31-year-old Briseño of Mexico City holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and is a member of the Bonebreakers fight camp.  He enters La Jaula, the Combate Global competition cage, on a two-fight win streak after earning a unanimous decision over Adam Martinez in what was Briseño’s Combate Global debut on October 1.

The 28-year-old Barraza of Santiago is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt who has notched all 7 of his professional career wins by way of submission.  He is coming off of a first round (2:01) armbar submission of Mexico’s Diego Silva on October 22.

Frans Mlambo vs. Jose Zarauz

Mlambo, a 30-year-old protégé of famed trainer John Kavanagh and former International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) world championships gold medalist, will become the first fighter in history to represent Ireland in the “COPA COMBATE” tournament.  To date, Mlambo has produced 8 of his 10 career wins via (T)KO or submission, and will enter “COPA COMBATE” on a two-fight win streak.

Fighting out of Lima, the 28-year-old Zarauz holds the most professional experience of any of the “COPA COMBATE” tournament entrants, and will enter La Jaula for the second time in 2021 after securing a unanimous decision win over Fernando Noriega in a regional event in Peru on July 17.

Leo Muniz vs. Pierre Daguzan

The 31-year-old Muniz is a resident of Tobyhanna, Pa. and a native of The Bronx, N.Y.  He put together back-to-back victories over Team Alpha Male member Hector “El Matador” Fajardo on May 29 and August 13, respectively, to secure an entry to “COPA COMBATE.”

At 35 years of age, Daguzan, a native of Versailles, Yvelines and resident of Honolulu, Hawaii, is the eldest competitor in the tournament field.  He holds a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and is coming off a unanimous decision win over Carlos Puente, Jr. in Combate Global action on July 16.

Kevin Cordero vs. Luciano Ramos

The 22-year-old Cordero of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, is the number one pound-for-pound rising star out of Spain, and the youngest of the eight tournament entrants.  He has claimed 9 of his 12 professional wins via (T)KO or submission, including his last start and Combate Global debut on September 3, when he produced a first round (4:59) submission (triangle choke) of veteran battler Ricky Bandejas.

Ramos is a 25-year-old finisher who hails from Concordia, and who relocated to Stockton, Calif. last year in order to train with the team founded by famed MMA siblings Nick and Nate Diaz.  Since making the leap to the Diaz camp, Ramos, who has achieved six of eight career wins by way of (T)KO or submission, has been victorious in both of his MMA bouts in 2021, most recently defeating Keilen Fantroy via first round (1:54) submission (triangle choke) on July 31.

In two previously announced women’s bouts that will be featured on the “COPA COMBATE” card in addition to the tournament, Criszaida Adames (5-1) will throw down with Caroline “Taz” Gallardo (5-4) at strawweight (115 pounds), while Lucero “La Loba” Acosta (2-2) will square off with Rosselyn Chavira (1-0) at flyweight (125 pounds). 

The tournament will also be supported with two “reserve” bouts.  Should any of the tournament’s quarterfinal stage winners be unable to continue his bid in the semifinal stage due to injury, the winner of one of the tournament reserve bouts will replace the injured winner in the tournament’s semifinal stage.  

In one tournament reserve bout, Felipe “Pipe” Vargas (7-2) of San Jose, Calif. via Bogota, Colombia will take on unbeaten Diego “El Niño” Gomez Manzur (4-0) of Santiago, Chile and, in the second tournament reserve contest, Ricky Bandejas (14-6) of Brick, N.J. via Coconut Creek, Fla. will face Alan “Beche” Cantu (9-7) of Monterrey, N.L., Mexico.

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Jose “Froggy” Estrada headlines Combate Global Dec. 3 show against Martin Bravo

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Combate Global today announced a six-fight Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event, live on Paramount+ on Friday, Dec. 3 from Miami, Fla. In the featherweight (145 pounds) main event, hard-hitting American star Jose “Froggy” Estrada (7-2) will square off with The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 3 reality television series winner, Martin “El Toro” Bravo (12-3).
 
The 30-year-old Estrada of Oxnard, Calif. secured his career-best victory to date on July 2, defeating seasoned Nicaraguan star Leonardo “Chimmy” Morales by way of majority decision.
 
The result marked Estrada’s only victory to date that has gone to the judges’ scorecards.  All six of his other wins have come via (T)KO or submission within two rounds of action.
 
Hailing from Rosarito, B.C., Mexico and fighting out of Newton, N.J. the 28-year-old Bravo made his Combate Global debut in 2021, scoring a first round (1:09) TKO (punches) on veteran Andrew “The Beast” Whitney on September 17.
 
In a featured strawweight (115 pounds) contest, Stephanie “Macaquinha” Frausto (8-8) of Dublin, Calif. will face Camila Rivarola (3-3-1) of Montevideo, Uruguay via Stockholm, Sweden.
 
The other featured main card bout will pit Tommy “The Spaniard” Aaron (9-5) of Los Angeles, Calif. against Ivan “Choko” Castillo (21-13) of Ensenada, B.C., Mexico at welterweight (170 pounds).
 
In preliminary card action, Jonathan Sepulveda (9-3) of Isabela, Puerto Rico will throw down with Adrian Garcia (6-1) of Miami, Fla. at a catchweight of 130 pounds.
 
“Slick” Rick Zelada (1-0) of Los Angeles will meet Gustavo “Volcan” Navarrete (0-1) of Chandler, Ariz. at bantamweight (135 pounds).
 
Elizabeth Avila (0-2) of Mexico City, Mexico will look for her first professional victory in an atomweight (105 pounds) fight against Tamika Jones (0-0) of Las Vegas, Nev.

Paramount+ live coverage will begin with a Combate Global pre-show at 10:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. CT, and will continue with the live fight action, beginning at 11:00 p.m. ET/10:00 p.m. CT.
 

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Sergio Pettis looking to follow in his brother Anthony’s footsteps and earn two belts

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Sergio Pettis won the Bellator Bantamweight World Championship belt opposite Juan Archuleta back in May. He will defend his belt for the first time against Kyoji Horiguchi at Bellator 272 on December 3rd.

The younger Pettis has big plans and wants to match his brother’s legacy. Anthony Pettis captured WEC and UFC in his long and storied career, but Sergio feels there is space on the mantel place for a belt from an Asian promotion (he spoke to MMA Fighting about the defense and his dreams).

“I think it would be a great opportunity for me to cross-promote,” Sergio Pettis said of an overseas move. “Anthony has a WEC belt and a UFC belt, and it would be awesome to have a Bellator belt and Rizin belt as well, to have all the belts in all the organizations – it would feel like a completion.”

Horiguchi has done some cross promotion with Bellator and actually took the belt from Darrion Caldwell before vacating and going back to Rizin. In Sergio’s eyes he holds the true belt because The Gooch injured his knee and could not defend the Bellator belt and by the time he healed up he was back in Rizin again. This is a welcome fight for Pettis who feels this fight will be the capturing of the true belt.

“I feel like the title in general is on the line. I think this is a fight where it’s really going to show who has the real championship in my division.”

The Rizin belt isn’t on the line, but Pettis does not rule some cross promotion at Flyweight or Bantamweight.

“It would be an honor to go overseas and get that opportunity,” he said. “But as of right now, my main focus is next week. I’m not looking ahead of Horiguchi at all. This is one of my toughest fights.”

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