After three weeks of contracts being tossed around like toilet paper, it’s hard to see how these performances can top it.
Don’t shut your eyes though, because we have some furious and hungry fighters, opening up with Heavyweights and closing with a pair of 4-0 Light Heavyweights!
Contract winner(s) highlighted in gold.
Aleksa Camur def. Fabio Cherant by Round 2 Knockout (LHW)
Wow. Another knee.
This one didn’t turn the lights off outright, instead letting Camur finish the job with his hands. Camur’s striking is clearly developing and the Golden Gloves champ did much more than just box in there. He held off a powerful opponent and really let his hands go wild once he was hurt, but was patient and well balanced.
I was worried about his cardio with not going more than one round and although we didn’t exactly see a long fight, Camur chose all of his shots well and wasn’t looking tired. Although we have quite a few heavy hitters at the Light Heavyweight division, Camur has the skills to take things to the next level.
Aalon Cruz def. Stephen Nguyen by Round 3 Knockout (FTW)
This was a UFC-caliber fight through and through between these two hulking Featherweights. Cruz went heavy with the kicks from all sorts of angles while Nguyen’s traditional boxing was taking the edge in volume. The defense by Nguyen, both for the kicks and takedown attempts, clearly threw off Cruz a but, but he closed the show with a flying knee at the end of the third round.
I think Cruz will shake things up in a major way. He is really big, but also brings an odd stance and odd fighting style along with some real power. He looks great when pressuring, but can handle an opponent coming onto him heavy like Nguyen was. While we are still yet to see his ground game, I see Cruz as a powerful up-and-comer for the future of the UFC.
Tracy Cortez def Mariya Agapova by Unanimous Decision (FLW)
After trading on the feet for a bit, Cortez took to the mat and worked over Agapova, really showing off her wrestling skill and jiu-jitsu. Agapova did well in terms of defense, but really struggled in recovering position. Both fighters did incredible on the feet and Agapova utilized her range beautifully, but the power of Cortez came through when she stepped in close. The massive advantage Cortez was able to utilize was raw strength, tossing Agapova around like she was a second grader. She is incredibly promising and I am excited to see what else comes through as she develops further in her career.
Daniel Rodriguez def. Rico Farrington by Unanimous Decision (WW)
This fight was pretty slow for the first two rounds. A large Welterweight in his own right at 6’1, Rodriguez had to deal with a 6’4 mammoth in the cage tonight. He made the right moves, throwing 32 leg kicks and trying to get in close to utilize his power, but was unable to close the show. He had some success in the wrestling and used that to greater effect in the third round to almost get a ground and pound TKO, with the bell just barely saving Farrington. Rodriguez demonstrated a well-balanced game, good cardio, and an impressive fight IQ, but was unable to find the stoppage he usually does en route to his first decision win.
Rodrigo Nascimento def. Michal Martinek by Round 1 Submission (HW)
A big knee derailed the striking attempts of Michal Martinek and rushed him into attempting a poor body lock takedown. This led to Nascimento on top and is bad news for anyone when you have an expert BJJ practitioner on top of you. Sure enough, he tossed in some ground and pound before transitioning to dominant position and securing a choke.
This was a good performance for Nascimento here. He showed out with his striking and using the right methods to neutralize his opponent but sliced through Martinek like a hot knife through butter on the ground. That could seriously churn up the 265 lb. division with few ground specialists and making an easily exploitable path for the grappling of Nascimento.
So. Many. Finishes. This was insane and the pace and evolution of this sport is incredible to watch. Be sure to check out last week’s Contender Series fights to see the next UFC stars.
Until next time, Freaks.
Categories: Contender Series