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.
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.
Fight To Watch | Muhammad Mokaev vs Charles Johnson
Fights are being booked fast and furiously for July 23rd as the UFC’s anticipated return to London approaches. With fireworks expected throughout the whole event, MMAPlay365 and VMTV have scoured through the card and selected Muhammad Mokaev vs Charles Johnson as our ‘Fight To Watch’ on the night.
Muhammad Mokaev returns to the octagon following a successful debut back at UFC London in March against Cody Durden. ‘The Punisher’ made light work of his American counter-part, submitting him in the first round via guillotine choke with very little problems. His upcoming opponent, Charles Johnson, signs with the UFC after an impressive four-fight winning streak on LFA, which saw him capture and defend flyweight gold.
His ability to mix it up on the feet and in grappling scenarios make this a much more dangerous bout for Mokaev stylistically, but it’s still nothing the 21 year old won’t be able to handle in the eyes of MMAPlay365 CEO, Adam Newsome:
“At this stage of Muhammad Mokaev’s UFC career every fight is going to be a test. And just because you haven’t heard of Charles Johnson doesn’t mean he isn’t a good fighter. Johnson was the Flyweight Champion in LFA. If you aren’t familiar with LFA it’s basically the American equivalent of Cage Warriors. You are battle tested in LFA and if you become a Champion the chances are the UFC are going to sign you.
So this is a very interesting match-up but still right now I don’t think that Mokaev gets tested enough to the point he loses. This is going to be another fight I see him doing extremely well in and I don’t see Mokaev losing a fight until he hits the top 20 of the division. But even when that time comes, he is going to have improved and developed so much that he could run through that pool of fighters at that time. If a fighter is going to beat Mokaev outside the best fighters in the division then now is the time to do it whilst he’s still developing. But even though he’s still developing he’s still a problem. I’m not sure Mokaev finds another finish here so I am predicting a dominant three round decision victory for Muhammad Mokaev.”
Cauley Quilty, Editor for VMTV, had this to say on the fight: “Muhammad Mokaev is always a treat to watch in action and his UFC debut back in March was nothing short of spectacular! He came to make a statement and did exactly that getting the first round finish and I see him doing the same thing when he steps back out there against Charles Johnson. His extensive amateur career and impressive run of professional performances make it almost impossible to not side with Mokaev in this bout, especially with the way he defeated Durden on his debut.
However, Charles Johnson isn’t an opponent anyone should underestimate as his resume and recent performances speak for themselves! His fight vs Carlos ‘Mota’ Tizil was a barnburner and with 8 of his 11 wins coming by way of finish you know he can get the job done when needed. Both fighters are highly touted and respected so expect the winner of this to receive a bump up in competition on their next outing.”
Who do you think leaves the ‘Fight To Watch’ with their hand raised? Be sure to let us know your predictions below!
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