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A general look at the UFC APEX during Dana White's Contender Series. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Preview all the fights from Week 3 of Dana White's Contender Series

The hopefuls hitting the Octagon this week are surely wishing that Dana White snuck in a quick two-day getaway between UFC 252 on Saturday night and the action returning to the UFC Apex on Tuesday night as last week, the UFC President returned from vacation and handed out contracts to all five victorious fighters.

Two weeks into Season 4, eight fighters have already graduated from the summer talent search to the biggest stage in the sport, establishing the potential for another record-setting number of contracts to be awarded this year.

But that is all determined by the performances inside the Octagon every Tuesday night, so here’s a closer look at the competitors hoping to prompt White to keep passing out contracts by winning impressively this week on the Contender Series.

Watch Dana White's Contender Series on ESPN+


Welterweights at different points of their career trajectories clash in this one as 34-year-old veteran Victor Reyna returns to the UFC Apex in a showdown with unbeaten upstart Louis Cosce.

Reyna competed last season on the Contender Series, dropping a unanimous decision to Miguel Baeza, who has since gone on to post a pair of impressive stoppage wins in his first two Octagon appearances. He rebounded from that setback with a unanimous decision victory in November and looks to emulate fellow Texan Ryan Spann this week by winning his second Contender Series appearance and earning himself a contract in the process.

Cosce, who shares the card with his brother Orion, is just six fights into his professional career and has yet to see the second round. He’s handled his business efficiently and expertly on the regional circuit, battering the opponents that have been stationed across from him, but is taking a step up in talent here.

Will the seasoned professional Reyna make the most of his second chance to compete in front of the UFC brass or will Cosce collect another stoppage win and perhaps a UFC contract in the process?


Strawweights with matching 4-1 records meet in this one as Fortis MMA product Cheyenne Buys squares off with New England product Hilarie Rose.

Buys is the wife of former (and impending) Contender Series competitor JP Buys, but she’s earned her place in Las Vegas this week entirely on her own, as the 25-year-old has rattled off three straight victories heading into Tuesday’s clash with Rose. Fortis MMA has enjoyed a great deal of success over the first three seasons of the Contender Series and you can be sure that head coach Sayif Saud will have Buys ready for whatever comes her way inside the Octagon this week.

The 27-year-old Rose has actually done one better than Buys heading into their meeting at the UFC Apex, bouncing back from a stoppage loss in her professional debut with four consecutive victories, collecting finishes in three of those four triumphs. She’s yet to face anyone with as strong a record as Buys, but like her opponent, she’s surrounded by a strong collection of coaches and training partners that will surely have her fully prepared to step into the Octagon on Tuesday night.

The Ultimate Job Interview: Dana White's Contender Series is Back
The Ultimate Job Interview: Dana White's Contender Series is Back

The first of two welterweight fights on Tuesday’s card is a matchup between unbeaten talents, as Orion Cosce looks to begin another successful family night of fighting as he takes on “Magic” Matt Dixon.

Like his brother Louis, Orion Cosce has marched through the NorCal regional circuit with little resistance, posting a 6-0 record while never seeing the scorecards.

The 24-year-old Dixon has never faced a fighter with a losing record while amassing a perfect 9-0 record to begin his professional career. Last time out, the Tulsa, Oklahoma native defeated Texas regional vet Justin Patterson, who’s previous three setbacks all came against UFC-bound opponents — Joaquin Buckley, Chance Rencountre, and Derrick Krantz.

Someone’s “0” has got to go, but will it be the first of the tandem “Fighting Cosce Brothers” to step into the Octagon on Tuesday night or the streaking Oklahoma product?


It’s a battle in the heavyweight division, as Josh Parisian makes his return to the Contender Series to take on Chad Johnson.

Parisian turned a first-round stoppage win over Greg Rebello on the second season of the Contender Series into a spot on the cast of Season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter, where he lost to Michel Batista in the opening round of the heavyweight competition. He dropped his first bout after exiting the TUF house but has bounced back with five consecutive stoppage victories heading into his return to Las Vegas this week.

A fixture under the King of the Cage banner throughout his career, Johnson has yet to go the distance in seven professional appearances, earning six stoppage victories while also getting settled in his lone career setback. He responded to his first loss with a first-round finish of Calyn Hull at LFA 77 last September but is taking a step up in competition in sharing the Octagon with Parisian on Tuesday night.

Will Parisian earn the contract that eluded him last time he was on the Contender Series or will Johnson punch his ticket to the UFC by scoring the biggest win of his career?

DWCS Week 3: Parisian vs Johnson - Preview
DWCS Week 3: Parisian vs Johnson - Preview

Lightweights originally scheduled to face off on Week 1 clash here in Week 3 as Kevin Syler returns for his second appearance on the Contender Series in a showdown with Michigan native Kenneth Cross.

Syler delivered an impressive performance against Lance Lawrence last summer to push his record to 9-0, but unfortunately, he missed weight for their featherweight matchup and was thereby out of the running for a contract. The unbeaten 26-year-old moved up to lightweight for his next appearance and secured a second-round submission win, and if he can maintain his perfect record with a second victory in front of Dana White and company, he could very well secure himself a ticket to the UFC.

Cross enters Tuesday’s contest on a four-fight winning streak and has earned victories in seven of his last eight appearances. A member of the Michigan Top Team crew that helped propel Cody Stamann to the UFC several years ago, the 25-year-old Cross has yet to go the distance in any of his 13 professional appearances and has only seen the third round once.

With Syler having already made a strong first impression with his in-cage efforts last season, a victory for Cross would make a statement, especially if he maintains his perfect finishing rate.

DWCS Week 3: Syler vs Cross - Preview
DWCS Week 3: Syler vs Cross - Preview