With the fifth season of Dana White’s Contender Series coming on August 31, we are looking back on the stars, contenders and memorable moments the show gave us in its first four seasons.
The second season of the show gave us some of the most notable names in the sport today, including Kevin Holland, Maycee Barber, Edmen Shahbazyan, Sodiq Yusuff and more.
Here’s all that went down in the sophomore season of DWCS:
The premiere of season two introduced fans to a couple heavy-hitters and one notoriously fast talker as fighters vied for a contract from UFC President Dana White.
In the featured bout, Alonzo Menifield would score the fastest knockout in the show’s history, earning him a UFC contract. Heavyweight Greg Hardy made his professional debut on this week’s episode, and his first-round knockout win gave a preview to the kind of athletic powerhouse he would develop into in the Octagon.
Alonzo Menifield def. Dashawn Boatwright – TKO in Round 1 (0:08)
Chris Curtis def. Sean Lally – KO in Round 3 (1:37)
Greg Hardy def. Austen Lane – KO in Round 1 (0:57)
Montel Jackson def. Rico Disciullo – TKO in Round 3 (2:15)
Kevin Holland def. Will Santiago – Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Of course, perhaps the biggest star to emerge from this episode is the “Trailblazer” himself, Kevin Holland. Despite cruising to a convincing victory, his jabber-mouth tendencies rubbed the boss the wrong way, and he would have to wait for a short-notice call-up to get his UFC contract. Since then, he has competed in several main events and is well-known as a man who truly fights anyone, anywhere at any time.
A quartet of fighters earned contracts for their work in week two – Matt Sayles, Anthony Hernandez, Ryan Spann and Dwight Grant – on a night in which every fight ended via finish. Spann was the quickest man on the night, locking up a guillotine choke submission just 26 seconds into the opening round.
Matt Sayles def. Yazan Hajeh – TKO in Round 1 (1:57)
Anthony Hernandez vs. Jordan Wright – No Contest (Overturned)
Austin Springer def. Giga Chikadze – Submission via Rear Naked Choke in Round 3 (4:10)
Ryan Spann def. Emiliano Sordi – Submission via Guillotine Choke in Round 1 (0:26)
Dwight Grant def Tyler Hill – KO in Round 2 (2:08)
Yet again, potentially the most successful fighter in the bunch, Giga Chikadze, walked away without a contract nor a win. Chikadze would bounce back and eventually find his way to the UFC, where his entertaining kickboxing style has helped him earn a main event slot against Edson Barboza on August 28.
The third week of the show provided a historic moment for the UFC. Antonina Shevchenko, sister of UFC flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko, impressed with a second-round TKO and earned her contract. Thus, the Shevchenkos became the first sisters to fight in the UFC.
Te Edwards also earned a contract for his first-round knockout against Austin Tweedy.
Antonina Shevchenko def. Jaymee Nievara - TKO in Round 2 (3:22)
Te Edwards def. Austin Tweedy - KO in Round 1 (0:28)
Josh Parisian def. Greg Rebello - TKO in Round 1 (1:31)
Julian Erosa def. Jamall Emmers – KO in Round 2 (1:10)
Jordan Williams vs. Tim Caron – No Contest (Overturned)
Although Josh Parisian didn’t get a contract offer for his first-round finish, he did earn an invite to The Ultimate Fighter: Heavy Hitters and eventually made his way to the UFC. Julian Erosa also found his way to the UFC despite not earning a contract for his win on the show.
The finishes kept rolling at the season’s midpoint, and the standouts were Bevon Lewis and Jordan Espinosa. Lewis landed some devastating knees to get the first-round stoppage, while Espinosa kept pushing for the finish and got his man out of there with two seconds left in the fight. They both earned contracts for their efforts.
Kevin Aguilar def. Joey Gomez – Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Bevon Lewis def. Alton Cunningham - TKO in Round 1 (3:01)
Ricky Palacios def. Toby Misech - Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Jordan Espinosa def. Riley Dutro - TKO in Round 3 (4:58)
Jalin Turner def. Max Mustaki - TKO (doctor stoppage) in Round 1 (5:00)
Even though Kevin Aguilar didn’t get a contract for his gritty split decision, he eventually competed in the UFC and continued to provide that same entertaining, grinding style in the Octagon. Jalin Turner also made it to the big show after getting his doctor stoppage victory and has since gone 3-2 in the UFC, racking up finishes in each of his three wins.
Week five gave the UFC two of the brightest prospects to ever come off the show. In the featured bout, Maycee Barber showed off her impressive power and skill set at just 20 years old, immediately making herself a fighter to watch. Dana White was all-in on the confident youngster, giving her a UFC contract that night.
The opening bout of the night also provided a young star in Edmen Shahbazyan. An undefeated 20-year-old himself, Shahbazyan displayed his heavy hands en route to another first-round finish and a UFC contract. Domingo Pilarte also earned a contract for his second-round submission win.
Maycee Barber def. Jamie Colleen -TKO in Round 3 (4:15)
Domingo Pilarte def. Vince Morales - Submission via Rear Naked Choke in Round 2 (1:52)
Chibwikem Onyenegecha def. Anthony Adams – Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Austin Vanderford def. Angelo Trevino - Submission via Rear Naked Choke in Round 2 (2:42)
Edmen Shahbazyan def. Antonio Jones - TKO in Round 1 (0:40)
Vince Morales would bounce back from his submission loss to carve out a good spot in the UFC’s bantamweight division, as well.
A trio of prospects emerged from week six, which also featured what some might consider the best fight on the show’s history.
In a back-and-forth striking affair, Sodiq Yusuff came out on top in a fight many circled as a coming-out moment for Mike Davis. However, Yusuff’s calculated and entertaining striking style shone through en route to his decision win and UFC contract.
Australia’s Jimmy Crute showed himself to be a much-desired light heavyweight prospect with his first-round TKO win. At 22 years old, it was clear that he had many finishes ahead in the UFC. Jeff Hughes also received a contract for his work, getting the job done in the first round.
Alex Munoz def. Nick Newell - Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jimmy Crute def. Chris Birchler - TKO in Round 1 (4:23)
Sodiq Yusuff def. Mike Davis- Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jeff Hughes def. Josh Appelt - TKO in Round 1 (4:26)
Chase Hooper def. Canaan Kawaihae – Unanimous Decision (29-26, 29-26, 28-26)
Then known as “The Teenage Dream,” Chase Hooper earned a developmental contract for his efforts on the show at just 18 years old. Since then, Hooper has made a name for his toughness and slick ground game as he continues to develop in the UFC. Alex Munoz also earned a call-up after the show.
The penultimate episode of the second season provided finishes up and down the card as well as a bevy of current UFC fighters known for bringing the fireworks.
Roosevelt Roberts submitted his way to a UFC contract in the featured bout, and Ian Heinisch, Jordan Griffin and Juan Adams all locked up contracts as well after they each tallied first-round finishes.
Roosevelt Roberts def. Garrett Gross - Submission via Rear Naked Choke in Round 2 (2:13)
Don'Tale Mayes def. Mitchell Sipe - TKO in Round 2 (4:49)
Ian Heinisch def. Justin Sumter - KO in Round 1 (3:37)
Jordan Griffin def. Maurice Mitchell - Submission via Rear Naked Choke in Round 1 (3:57)
Juan Adams def. Shawn Teed - TKO in Round 1 (4:17)
Don’Tale Mayes found his way to the Octagon eventually despite his second-round TKO not being enough to get Dana White’s attention in the moment.
The season finale brought the fireworks, a fitting end to what was quite the summer of bouts. Greg Hardy returned in the featured bout, scoring another devastatingly quick TKO in the first round. The night also provided an introduction to “King Kage” himself, Devonte Smith. He and Kennedy Nzechukwu notched first-round knockouts as well as UFC contracts.
Bobby Moffett earned his contract with his second-round submission effort and provided a memorable moment in the Octagon with his Fight of the Night effort against Bryce Mitchell.
Greg Hardy def. Tebaris Gordon - TKO in Round 1 (0:17)
Devonte Smith def. Joseph Lowry - KO in Round 1 (2:52)
Kennedy Nzechukwu def. Dennis Bryant - TKO in Round 1 (1:48)
Bobby Moffett def. Jacob Kilburn - Submission via D’Arce choke in Round 2 (1:02)
Alex Gilpin def. JR Coughran - Submission via D’Arce choke in Round 2 (1:55)
Hardy would fight once more outside of the UFC before joining the roster and throwing himself into the heavyweight division.