Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series (DWTNCS) has returned, bringing with it the next rising stars of the UFC.
Each week, the match winners (mostly) are awarded with a UFC contract. I am personally so happy to get the Contender Series back in action, making Tuesdays a must see for any UFC fans. This week’s full card is as follows.
- Lukasz Sudolski vs. Ihor Poterya (LHW)
- Aaron Jeffery vs. Caio Borralho (MW)
- Daniel Zellhuber vs. Lucas Almeida (LW)
- Rizvan Kuniev vs. Edivan Santos (HW)
Contract winners are highlighted in gold.
Ihor Poterya def. Lukasz Sudolski by Knockout (LHW)
Poterya (Potieria) scored a massive win in the headliner, blitzing Sudolski for the first round knockout win. His advantage on the feet was clear, with crisp hands and an efficient guard.
Poterya is an excellent addition to the talent-starved Light Heavyweight division. In addition to his stellar striking, he has a background in both Combat Sambo and Pankration. This knockout was his fifteenth straight victory, and it is clear he is UFC caliber with the style to present many fighters with a challenge.
Caio Borralho def. Aaron Jeffery by Decision (MW)
This bout was noticeably slower paced, especially after the wild affair preceding it. Borralho found success in using his judo background to take top control and land some strikes in the pocket, though Jeffery held out some stints of control time up against the cage. With two rounds down, Jeffery tried to push forward in the third, but Borralho was able to defend and score a takedown of his own, getting a little control before the two battled it out in the clinch for the majority of the round with Jeffery repeatedly initiating the close-range battle.
Caio displayed high fight IQ, defending expertly and scoring offense when he could. His straights and counters found success striking, while his judo pedigree let him control where the fight took place, all against a highly touted prospect many believe is already ready for the UFC.
Daniel Zellhuber def. Lucas Almeida by Decision (LW)
This match was my personal favorite of the season so far. Both fighters were SWINGING from the opening bell, with Almeida closing the distance with relentless aggression. His pressure and combos gave Zellhuber some trouble in the first round, landing over SIXTY significant strikes. Zellhuber turned it around int he second, getting a power takedown for some top control and being more accurate with his striking and range. In the third, he looked on another level than Almeida, landings strikes at will, though his volume fell off a little.
At just 22 years old, Zellhuber is an incredible addition to the UFC’s already stacked Lightweight division. He has an engaging striking style with a high fight IQ, as well as skills on the mat. I am very excited to see more from Daniel, who likes to fight often.
Rizvan Kuniev def. Edivan Santos by Knockout (HW)
Santos started out hot in this matchup, finding Kuniev’s chin with some heavy shots. The Russian wore the damage well, and kept trying to drag the fight to the mat through his clinch work. He found more success in getting the fight to the mat in the latter two rounds, and did serious damage from top position. He needed just one minute of the third round to pound out Santos.
The Heavyweight division is pretty slim right now and desperately needs more prospects. While Rizvan’s strength of schedule (or lack thereof) and fight style may not immediately entice fans, he has the skillset to mix up the Heavyweight division.
The Contender Series returns next week with a five fight card!