Last week, all five winners secured contracts from UFC President Dana White, with Impa Kasanganay getting a fight booking next weekend against fellow Contender Series alum Maki Pitolo as an added bonus, although he’s not the only winner from Season 4 that will quickly be making their way into the Octagon.
As announced at the beginning of this week’s episode, four other contract winners have already signed contracts to compete later this fall:
Adrian Yanez will square off with Aaron Phillips on October 31, while Dustin Jacoby and Dustin Stoltzfus will both make the walk on November 7, the latter facing fellow Contender Series alum Kyle Daukaus and the former meeting Justin Ledet. On top of that, Welsh newcomer Cory McKenna will debut opposite Kay Hansen in an exciting pairing of 21-year-old prospects.
This week, five more sets of hopefuls ventured into the Octagon inside the UFC Apex, looking to make the same kind of impression that has produced a record-setting number of contracts being handed out through the first two weeks of this season.
Featuring a trio of returning Contender Series veterans and the first brother act to compete on the same card, this week’s collection of contests looked promising on paper and more than delivered once the fists started flying.
For the second straight week, White handed out a bushel of contracts, welcoming both Louis and Orion Cosce, Josh Parisian, and Cheyanne Buys to the UFC, bringing the Season 4 total to an even dozen through three weeks.
Here’s a look at what transpired.
DWCS Week 3: Contract Winners & Interviews
DWCS Week 3: Contract Winners & Interviews
Kevin Syler vs Kenneth Cross
Initially slated to be the main event of this season’s opening card, the pairing between Season 3 alum Kevin Syler and Michigan regional standout Kenneth Cross was pushed back to the opening position on this week’s card.
Cross came out quickly, firing off heavy lefts and surprising everyone by initiating the clinch against Syler to start the round. Midway through the frame, Syler began to find his range and searched for a takedown, briefly taking Cross’ back before getting shaken off over the top. The Michigan native was happy to remain in top position inside Syler’s guard for the rest of the round, avoiding a brief guillotine attempt before finishing the round with a flurry of strikes.
The lightweights traded body kicks to begin the second, each man connecting with the odd punch as well before Cross rushed in for a takedown. Syler did a great job of defending, and as the two made their way to the fence, he jumped on a guillotine choke for a second time. Though this one looked tighter, Cross again popped his head free.
As Syler tried to stand, Cross worked around to the back, initially hunting for an arm triangle choke before opting to unload elbows and punches. When Cross eased off on the pressure, Syler scrambled free and immediately dove on an ankle lock, but didn’t have it, once again giving away top position, which Cross maintained through to the horn.
Syler tried to begin the third with a Fabricio Werdum-style flying side kick, but Cross avoided it with ease. Once again, Cross looked to close the distance and bring the fight to the floor, with Syler hunting a kimura to no avail. Syler worked back to his feet with Cross content to hold on and stall from control position along the fence, defending a switch attempt from the Contender Series veteran and landing back on top as they returned to the canvas.
With 90 seconds left, Syler tried to create space and eventually transitioned to Cross’ back, sliding off with a minute remaining. For some reason, Syler changed levels and hit a clean takedown in the center of the cage, quickly moving to back mount, but it was far too little, far too late.
When the scores were totalled, it was Cross who came away with the victory.
Official Result: Kenneth Cross def. Kevin Syler by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Josh Parisian vs Chad Johnson
Josh Parisian looked to go two-for-two on the Contender Series as the former Ultimate Fighter contestant returned to Las Vegas to face Chad “Big Rigg” Johnson in the season’s first heavyweight scrap.
The big boys came out swinging hammers right out of the gate, with Parisian showcasing his diverse offensive arsenal, throwing a variety of kicks, many of which landed hard. Johnson wasn’t bothered though, as the Wisconsin native traded shots with the much heavier Parisian.
Parisian took control of the contest midway through the round, catching Johnson with a clean shot off the break as they separated along the fence, sending “Big Rigg” to the canvas. The TUF veteran followed him to the ground, initially hunting an armbar before climbing into mount and unleashing a storm of strikes that brought the fight to a close.
For the second time in as many Contender Series appearances, Parisian gets it done in the opening five minutes, pushing his winning streak to six in the process.
Official Result: Josh Parisian def. Chad Johnson by TKO (strikes) at 3:43 of Round 1
Orion Cosce vs Matt Dixon
Two fights before his younger brother Louis made the walk to the Octagon, Orion Cosce ventured into the UFC cage for a welterweight matchup with fellow unbeaten prospect Matt Dixon.
Dixon wasted little time closing the distance and securing the clinch, dumping Cosce to the ground momentarily, only to have the NorCal native pop right back to his feet and separate into space. After feeling each other out in the center for a minute, Cosce looked to press forward and Dixon swiftly changed levels and drove through a takedown, only to have Cosce once again get back to his feet without much trouble.
Each time Cosce would find a home for a solid punch, Dixon would close the distance and work from the clinch and he finished the round with another strong takedown in the center of the Octagon, bringing his total to three.
The pair began the second trading punches, with Dixon showing quick hands and solid head movement, while Cosce responded with heavy shots of his own. Time was called just before the two minute mark for an inadvertent low blow, but they quickly got back at it, with Cosce hurting Dixon with a heavy inside leg kick that made the Tulsa-based talent look to wrestle.
Pressed against the cage, Cosce connected with a sharp, short elbow and kept Dixon from getting the fight to the ground, eventually shucking him off and returning to the center of the cage. Back in space, Dixon looked clearly fatigued and Cosce tried to take advantage, landing several hard shots and stuffing two more takedown attempts, shifting the momentum into his favor heading into the final round.
Cosce came out hunting to start the third, pressing forward and firing off heavy punches, connecting with a couple that once again prompted Dixon to wrestle. This time, however, Cosce reversed control along the cage and went hunting for a takedown of his own, dumping Dixon onto his head with plenty of time to work from top position with the two pressed up against the fence.
After softening Dixon up with lefts, Cosce climbed to mount, but Dixon recovered half guard. Cosce continued to connect with short-range shots and keep Dixon’s back on the mat, moving to side control and locking down the crucifix. Dixon tried diligently to get free, but was unable to avoid the punishment, prompting referee Marc Goddard to halt the action.
This was a very good performance highlighted by Cosce taking direction from Urijah Faber between rounds and executing in the cage. With the victory, Cosce improves to 7-0 with seven finishes, while Dixon suffers the first loss of his professional career.
Official Result: Orion Cosce def. Matt Dixon by TKO (strikes) at 4:42 of Round 3
Cheyanne Buys vs Hilarie Rose
After Cory McKenna and Vanessa Demopoulos kicked things off for the strawweight division last week with their entertaining back-and-forth battle, Cheyanne Buys and Hilarie Rose squared off looking to raise the bar in their Tuesday night showdown.
The women got after it from the jump, both coming out swinging and landing a few glancing shots in the fray. Rose jumped on an armbar attempt, but Buys slammed her way out of it before the duelling 4-1 fighters locked up along the fence. Rose attempted an inside trip, but Buys showed good balance, maintaining top position as they transitioned to the ground, but opted to land a left hand as she stood back up.
Trading on the feet, Rose’s speed advantage was apparent, but Buys remained the aggressor, showcasing superior power as she pressed forward. A series of heavy shots made Rose reach for a takedown, but Buys stuffed it with each and converted it into top position, landing in half guard.
Late in the frame, Buys stood up, called Rose to her feet, and the two finished the frame trading punches.
The second round began the way the first round ended, with Buys and Rose trading strikes, Buys continuing to score with the heavier, more meaningful blows. Her strength advantage was even more apparent in the clinch as she was able to neutralize Rose along the fence and control the position, mixing in knees and shoulder strikes.
Rose worked hard to create space and landed a handful of short shots of her own, but every time she appeared poised to break free, Buys would drive her back into the fence. Back in space with two minutes remaining in the round, the two continued trading, with Buys landing heavy counters and connecting at a greater clip than Rose.
With 30 seconds left in the round, Rose hit a body lock takedown, but Buys was able to reverse on the canvas, landing in back position and hunting for a submission through to the horn.
Buys closed the distance to begin the third, initiating the exchanges and scoring with greater volume, though Rose continued to stand her ground and attempt to trade. Once again, the Fortis MMA representative pressed forward into the clinch, putting Rose against the fence, landing a short elbow on the break before connecting with a heavy overhand right once they were back in space.
Midway through the round, Buys twisted Rose back into the fence, hitting with knees to the midsection before finding a home for some stiff shots as Rose began to fade. Another stuffed takedown attempt gave Buys the opportunity to secure back mount, though Rose defended well and eventually returned to her feet.
As the end of the round approached, the women once again started trading punches, with Buys punctuating her performance by continuing to get the better of things.
Official Result: Cheyanne Buys def. Hilarie Rose by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Louis Cosce vs Victor Reyna
Welterweights manned the main event for the first time this season and just the second time in the history of the summer talent search as Victor Reyna looked to rebound from his Season 3 loss to Miguel Baeza in a clash with unbeaten NorCal prospect Louis Cosce.
After scoring an 18-second win last time out, Cosce came out hunting for something similar, throwing smoke at Reyna right out of the chute, getting the returning competitor’s attention immediately. Just over a minute in, Cosce connected with an overhand left that took Reyna’s feet out from under him, giving the younger half of the brother tandem the opportunity to swarm for the finish.
What a performance! What a night for the Cosce Brothers!
Official Result: Louis Cosce def. Victor Reyna by TKO (strikes) at 1:12 of Round 1