Contender Series 2021 Week 6: Results and Contract Winners

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.

  • Shimon Smotritsky vs. Mike Mallott (WW)
  • Daniel Barez vs. Carlos Hernandez (FLW)
  • Joshua Weems vs. Fernie Garcia (BW)
  • Shonte Barnes vs. Joseph Holmes (LHW)
  • Genaro Valdez vs. Patrik White (LW)

Contract winners are highlighted in gold.

Mike Malott def. Shimon Smotritsky by Submission (0:39 of Round 1)

This one was over just about as quickly as it started. After a few seconds of light exchanges on the feet, Shimon shot for a takedown and Malott quickly snatched up a tight guillotine. Though Shimon did the right things to attempt to get it, it was just too tight, and he was forced to tap.

At 7-1 and training out of Team Alpha Male, Malott is a fantastic addition to the UFC roster. He has massive upside potential, as he has claimed finishes over top prospects like Solomon Renfro and now Smotritsky. He has stopped all of his pro bouts, with four coming by way of submission. The only thing I wished we could have seen more in this fight is more of his striking, which has really impressed me when watching tape.

Carlos Hernandez def. Daniel Barez by Split Decision

This fight was so evenly matched in almost every area of the fight. Both were trading away on the feet, though I thought Hernandez edged the first with a slightly higher output and a massive flying knee that landed, but is certainly could have gone either way. The second round was similarly violent, with a slip that brought the fight to the mat. Barez through up a submission attempt, but Hernandez survived and began dominating the round, riding Barez’ back and threatening rear naked chokes. They came back up to the feet for a moment, though Barez notched his own takedown to ride out the round. The second was a much clearer round for Hernandez with a lengthy amount of top control. The third round was yet another high-paced affair, with Hernandez picking up the volume early. Barez fought back well, notching some takedowns and putting together clean combos in the pocket.

Hernandez really impressed me with his boxing, but both fighters demonstrated they have well-versed styles and are finishing threats on the feet and the mat. The pressure and speed of Hernandez held the advantage on the feet, while he mixed it up well on the mat, particularly in the second round.

Fernie Garcia def. Joshua Weems by Knockout (2:10 of Round 1)

These fighters brought the action quick, exchanging with long combos right from the start. Weems tried to take the fight to the mat after getting caught with a counter right, but was unable to bring Garcia to the floor. After some more quick exchanges on the feet, Garcia surged into the pocket and knocked Weems down with an overhand right, pounding him out on the mat for the TKO finish.

Garcia was generally seen as the one with the most upside here, as Weems came in as a late replacement and missed weight by three pounds, a big no-no on the Contender Series. Garcia is typically known as a grappler, with three of his now five finishes coming by submission. However, his crisp boxing was on display, and he set himself apart through his speed and combinations.

Joseph Holmes def. Shonte Barnes by Submission (2:46 of Round 2)

This began fairly slowly, with the pair trading and fighting well defensively. Holmes made his advantage clear on the mat, controlling position before sinking in a rear naked choke halfway through the second round to secure the win.

Holmes trains with James Krause at Glory MMA and Fitness, and has a well-versed attack. He is most versatile on the mat with five submission wins, but has stopped all of his victories. He will make a fine addition to the relatively slim Light Heavyweight division.

Genaro Valdez def. Patrik White by Knockout (0:44 of Round 2)

This was hands down, one of the wildest fights I have seen in Contender Series history. Both fighters came in pushing the gas pedal, and Valdez went to work early with his grappling, securing three takedowns and almost finishing the bout with a rear naked choke. White kept the offense up on the feet, tagging Valdez with quite a few shots, battering him at the end of the first round when Valdez began to tire. The final ten seconds of the first saw the pair wildly exchange 1-2s int he pocket before the round ended. The fight picked back up quickly in the second, and Valdez needed less than a minute to dispatch white with a left hook.

Now sitting at 10-0, Valdez is a fine addition to the UFC roster. Not that Dana will refuse him the opportunity after the absolute barnburner that ensued. The Lightweight division is stacked with both contenders and prospects, but the well-rounded style of Valdez seeks to present some issues.

The Contender Series will return next weekend with another five-fight card!

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