Tag: mma prospects

RESULTS | Dana White’s Contender Series: Season 4, Week 4

FOUR more up-and-comers earned UFC contracts in the latest Contender Series instalment, with only one winner missing out on a berth in the top MMA promotion. Jamie Pickett got the nod at the third time of asking with a vicious TKO victory, while Rafael Alves and Collin Huckbody won entry via submissions, and Jeffrey Molina carved out a unanimous decision triumph.


Third time was truly a charm for Pickett, as he inflicted a 22-punch barrage on Jhonoven Pati to put him away early in Round 2. Of his four career defeats, the 31-year-old middleweight suffered two of them in the Contender Series, but proved he has what it takes with his seventh victory via T/KO. Pati (6-4) was a dangerous opponent having earned finishes across his six professional wins, but was left out on his feet by Pickett’s fight-ending combination.

Earlier in the night, Huckbody (8-2) pulled off the quickest stoppage of the five-fight card, leaning on his patented arm triangle to submit Kyron Bowen at 1:28 in Round 1. The 25-year-old now boasts a five-fight win streak, with four first-round finishes and six submissions (five via arm triangle) on his ever-improving record. He pulled off the move from mount too, showcasing a heck of a squeeze to yield the tap against his lighter opponent.

Alves snared the second submission of the night, with the guillotine choke his MO for putting Alejandro Flores (16-3) away. The Brazilian, who is both a high level grappler and striker, looked powerful from the offset, stalking Flores and threatening with his power. Despite Flores’ movement, and ability to land a takedown, he shot right into an Alves guillotine and in a flash, could find no escape. Alves is another fighter enjoying a five-fight tear at 19-9, while Flores’ impressive run over 10 bouts sees another loss added to the tally. Both men are 29 years old.

In one of two unanimous decisions on the night, Molina and Jacob Silva put on a show across 15 minutes of flyweight action. Despite the loss Silva (6-3) remains on the UFC’s radar having proved his dangerous arsenal and durability. But Molina was the one to earn a contract, controlling the distance and pace well while also landing some nice counter strikers and looking incredibly relaxed overall. It was his first decision victory, but Molina is now 8-2 with seven wins on the trot. He also pulled it off after breaking his foot in Round 1.

The unlucky winner of the lot was Romero, who still has time to prove his case at 8-0 and 23 years of age. The Canadian is well-rounded and technical, proving too slick for Mike Breeden, who is as tough as they come. Romero’s inability to clinch a finish while Breeden was badly compromised by leg kicks, and after dropping him, ultimately proved costly.

CONTRACTS: Collin Huckbody, Jeffrey Molina, Rafael Alves, Jamie Pickett


Jamie Pickett def. Jhonoven Pati | TKO (punches) 0:33 Rd 2

Rafael Alves def. Alejandro Flores | Submission (guillotine choke) 2:55 Rd 2

Jeffrey Molina def. Jacob Silva | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 29-28

Anthony Romero def. Mike Breeden | Decision (unanimous) 30-26, 30-27, 29-28

Collin Huckbody def. Kyron Bowen | Submission (arm triangle) 1:28 Rd 1

Featured Image: Chris Unger/DWCS LLC/Zuffa LLC

RESULTS | Dana White’s Contender Series: Season 4, Week 1

THREE fresh faces are set to enter the UFC after earning contracts on Dana White’s Contender Series, which returned for Season 4 this week. Jordan Leavitt and Uros Medic captured the attention of their new boss with first round finishes, while Dustin Jacoby is set to make his UFC return after taking out a unanimous decision victory.

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While the card was stripped down to four fights due to a late scrapping, those in action took full advantage of their spots to earn passage to the elite MMA promotion. As is often the case, the setting of a smaller UFC APEX octagon made for a bunch of high-pace action, kicked off by Leavitt’s Round 1 submission of Luke Flores.

Having fought as recently as July 17, Leavitt kept his momentum going to improve to 7-0 as a professional and take the next step in his MMA journey. The 25-year-old grappling ace wasted no time in securing a takedown – albeit unconventionally – and got to work with a series of transitions on the mat.

No slouch on the ground himself, Flores looked to stay busy from the bottom, but a poorly judged decision to pull guard spelt the beginning of the end for him. Leavitt snatched up the arm triangle in quick time, and celebrated with his now patented split.

Flores is now 0-2 in his Contender Series digs, which remain the only two losses on his professional record. At 32-years-old, time may be running out on any hopes of a UFC berth.

MMA judging again came under fire after Jerome Rivera got the unanimous nod over Luis Rodriguez, with the former’s volume of kicks and perennial forward movement perhaps sticking in the judges’ minds. Most significantly, two of the judges had him taking out all three rounds, totally discarding Rodriguez’s dominance in Round 2.

It was an incredibly close fight nonetheless, and the LFA vet is now 10-2 as a pro, but still yearns for his UFC contract. 22-year-old Rodriguez, who is now 11-2, was impressive on his flyweight debut and looked strong across each discipline. His wicked hooks, leg kicks, and takedowns all took toll across the bout, but his seven-fight win streak was ultimately broken.

It seems inevitable that we may see both men in the UFC someday though, and there was plenty to like about their well-rounded skillsets.

Arguably the performance of the night belonged to Serbian prospect, Medic, who lays claim to one of the great MMA nicknames – ‘The Doctor’. He put on a clinic too, taking out Mikey Gonzalez via TKO in Round 1 to send a resounding message to all UFC lightweights and welterweights.

As Nick Diaz would put it, Gonzalez began to throw ‘spinning shit’ early, but it proved ineffective in the face of Medic’s slamming body kicks. Medic had him folded with one early, but he snapped up one of his opponent’s legs to survive the incoming onslaught.

It took just a few more moments for Medic to land another though, with the referee stepping in as Gonzalez could only cover up against the fence. Unsurprisingly, the quick and nasty work warranted a ‘Goddamn’ from Uncle Dana.

Now 6-0, Medic has five first round finishes to his name, and a 100 per cent stoppage rate in his fledgling professional career. The rise to the top looks a steep one for the 27-year-old.

After eight years away from the promotion, Jacoby secured the final contract of the night in the featured bout, but required all three rounds to do so against a tough a durable Ty Flores. Having cut his teeth of late in Glory Kickboxing, Jacoby showed a clear striking advantage as he lit up Flores on the feet in Rounds 1 and 2.

The 32-year-old’s punishing straight punches and flurries with Flores backed up against the fence almost had the fight stopped in Round 2, with knees and elbows also thrown into the masterful striking display.

Jacoby seemed to have emptied the tank looking for an early finish though, with both men looking gassed as the pace completely slowed during the ultimate period. It mattered little for White as he granted Jacoby a second shot in the UFC, and he looks poised to make a mark at 205lbs as he enters his fighting prime.


Contracts: Jordan Leavitt, Uros Medic, Dustin Jacoby

Dustin Jacoby def. Ty Flores | Decision (unanimous) 30-26, 29-27, 29-27

Uros Medic def. Mikey Gonzalez | TKO (punches) 2:12 Rd 1

Jerome Rivera def. Luis Rodriguez | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 30-27, 30-27

Jordan Leavitt def. Luke Flores | Submission (arm-triangle) 4:15 Rd 1

Card recap: LFA 84 – J-Train steams to featherweight title

THE NEW Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) featherweight champion was crowed in today’s four-fight LFA 84 event, with Justin Gonzales claiming the vacant title in dramatic fashion. Fans were treated to three finishes in what was the promotion’s first card in 18 weeks, streamed via UFC Fight Pass out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Each bout brought along enthralling twists and turns, confirming that the elite level feeder promotion is in good shape upon its return to full-time activity. The action will not stop here either, with LFA’s inaugural women’s strawweight title fight set to headline next week’s LFA 85 card, back in South Dakota.

But for now, check out our full run-down of each fight from today’s impressive showcase, highlighted by an entertaining main event.

Justin Gonzales def. Jake Childers | TKO (body kick and punches) 0:45 Rd 4

A rollercoaster main event saw the vacant LFA featherweight title go to Justin Gonzales, as the now 11-0 Contender Series alum again pushed his case for a UFC contract. The American claimed victory early in the fourth round, taking out formerly undefeated compatriot Jake Childers with a barrage of strikes as the latter faded.

Both men, who came in boasting perfect records also held similarities in their styles; adept wrestlers with terrific durability, who like to push the pace and turn fights into brawls. Gonzales would have greater success in the early goings, landing a takedown from against the fence followed by ground-and-pound with bad intentions. Everything seemed to be happening on his terms, with his superior size and smothering pressure taking toll on Childers.

After continuing to land hefty body kicks and blows up top, a takedown from Gonzales allowed Childers to turn the contest completely on its head. Childers put everything into securing a submission, first threatening a kimura and using it to sneak around to the back, where he locked in the body triangle and searched for a rear-naked choke. As the composed Gonzales turned out, he landed straight in the way of an arm-triangle, which looked to be incredibly tight.

But the new champ weathered Childers’ craftily constructed storm, and it soon became clear how much the submission attempts had taken out of the aggressor, who very nearly ended the fight. It was no surprise that Gonzales looked to keep the fight standing in the third period, and he did so with aplomb. He would repeatedly tag the fading Childers, with his right hand a main weapon of choice to go with great combinations to punish both the head and body of his opponent.

Gonzales was now close to the finish himself having initiated a measured striking clinic, and it took just 45 more seconds in Round 4 to secure victory. Despite Childers’ incredible heart, he could do little more than cover up and Gonzales began to wing heavy shots, with a pair of front kicks to the body spelling the beginning of the end. Gonzales finished the job on a retreating Childers, handing ‘The Working Man’ his  first professional loss.

With ‘J-Train’ remaining undefeated himself, and 20-0 including his amateur career, the future looks bright for this 29-year-old prospect whether he decides to stay and defend the belt, or move on to grander pastures should the opportunity present.

Maycon Mendonca def. Kassius Kayne | Submission (triangle choke) 2:16 Rd 2

A battle of two big welterweights ended in style as Maycon Mendonca submitted Kassius Kayne via a slick triangle choke in Round 2. It was the Brazilian’s first career submission victory, moving him to 9-4 with a third-straight win after having dropped three-consecutive bouts.

Kayne came out in typical fashion, throwing big shots on the feet, but came undone in Round 1 as Mendonca landed a massive slam takedown from the clinch. Ground-and-pound followed, before the American snuck in a leg lock attempt late in the piece.

He continued to look for a way inside, but Mendonca’s kicks kept him at bay. A beautiful spinning back kick to the body hurt Kayne, backing him up towards the cage. A flying knee would follow, but it only saw Mendonca give up the takedown.

In another twist within the short, fight ending period, Mendonca rode his legs up high to lock in a triangle position, before yielding a tap with the choke midway through Round 2. The 27-year-old is on a tear, and looked unfazed by the late change in opponent.

Boston Salmon def. Shawn West | DQ (illegal knee) 0:53 Rd 2

An ugly, but completely instinctual illegal knee handed Boston Salmon a DQ win over former training partner, Shawn West, bringing an unfortunate end to what was a highly entertaining fight in Round 2.

The now 7-3 Hawaiian looked to be kicking the pace and power up a gear early in the second period, landing some beautifully timed counters up top and cracking West with heavy body shots to follow.

It came after West had arguably taken out Round 1, credit to the damage he had inflicted to Salmon’s lead leg, and a slight knockdown by way of one of his many powerful punches.

The fight ending sequence was brutal, as both men landed big shots to stagger the other. West recovered quicker as Salmon hit the mat, and rushed over to finish the job on his grounded opponent.

That was the exact problem – he was grounded. West’s savage flying knee landed flush to put Salmon out cold and bring an immediate end to proceedings, but it soon became clear that he would not be earning a 17th career victory.

No bad blood was evident after the fact though, with the two showing great mutual respect for one another. We’d love to see this one run back, although Salmon has taken some heavy punishment over his last three fights, including two first round TKOs in his UFC outings.

Bruno Souza def. Kamuela Kirk | Decision (split) 28-29, 29-28 29-28

Machida Academy prospect Bruno Souza leant on his karate skills to get the nod in a split decision against Kamuela Kirk, notching his seventh-straight victory to improve to 7-1 as a professional.

The bout was fought exclusively on the feet across the 15 minutes, with Souza’s sharp lateral movement, quick hands up top, and heavy kicks to the body helping to slow the closing Kirk.

The Brazilian simply found a greater rhythm and was more active throughout the fight, landing a greater volume of blows in response to Kirk’s thudding boxing combinations. While the first round belonged to Souza, Rounds 2 and 3 were much tighter, and Kirk produced some nice moments with his left hook in range.

But those efforts proved futile for the former Contender Series fighter, who now moves to 9-4 with his 100 per cent finishing rate intact. With a win in his fight in almost a year, the Souza remains perfect after his debut loss in 2016.