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A general view inside UFC APEX prior to Dana White's Contender Series season 5, week 9 on October 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Dana White's Contender Series

Dana White's Contender Series Season 5 Results & Scorecards

Dana White's Contender Series has returned for a fifth season with the top prospects in mixed martial arts battling for a chance to earn a UFC contract. You can watch DWCS live from the UFC APEX each Tuesday on ESPN+ beginning at 8pm ET/5pm PT. Not in the US? Watch on UFC Fight Pass.

Season 5, Episode 10 Results, Scorecards & More

November 2, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

Another season on Dana White’s Contender Series came to a close on Tuesday night as the final five pairs of athletes made their way into the cage at the UFC Apex in hopes of impressing the UFC President and earning an opportunity to compete inside the Octagon.

There have already been a record-tying 37 contracts awarded through nine weeks this season, and one of those athletes, Albert Duraev, has already picked up his first UFC victory, having earned a unanimous decision win over Roman Kopylov last week during Abu Dhabi Showdown Week at UFC 267.

Tuesday night, a new record was established, but it wasn’t as high as many might have expected going in, as only two fighters earned contracts, with welterweight Yohan Lainesse and Chinese lightweight Maheshate getting the call, bringing the total for the season to 39 new additions.

Here’s a look at how the action played out.

Contract Winners And Interviews | Dana White’s Contender Series Season, 5 Episode 10
Contract Winners And Interviews | Dana White’s Contender Series Season, 5 Episode 10
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Maheshate vs Achilles Estremadura

Maheshate reacts after his victory over Achilles Estremadura in a lightweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5, week 10 at UFC APEX on November 02, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Maheshate reacts after his victory over Achilles Estremadura in a lightweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5, week 10 at UFC APEX on November 02, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

There was no feeling out process with these two as Maheshate shot across the cage and the duo traded in tight, with the Chinese fighter landing a clean shot that staggered Estremadura momentarily. The Canadian shook it off quickly and came forward, connecting with a heavy right hand on the end of a flurry that sat Maheshate down along the fence, prompting him to clinch.

Back in space, Estremadura controlled the center, walking down Maheshate as he circled on the outside before closing the distance and catching him again with another heavy right hand. They clinched along the fence and when they broke, Maheshate landed a nice knee to the head before taking the center. Maheshate attacked with a series of kicks, nothing landing with much force, before Estremadura again pressed forward behind wide hooks, landing sharply and finishing the round with a good left hook to the body.

The lightweights were a little more patient to start the second, feeling each other out a little more to start before engaging in another exchange where each man flashed their hands and their chins. Estremadura took the center and looked to dictate the terms of engagement, but Maheshate did well to push forward and stand his ground.

The output slowed, but the effectiveness remained high, as neither man threw many wasted shots, with Estremadura picking his spots and initiating a little more. With a little over a minute remaining, Maheshate pressed forward and connected flush with a jumping knee that Estremadura ate before clinching, crimson leaking from his nose as they battled for position along the fence before separating for the final 10 seconds of the round.

Maheshate was the more aggressive of the two coming out of the corner, but it was Estremadura who landed the better shot to start, sticking the jab in the Chinese fighters face. But Maheshate was undeterred, responding with a kick to the body and attempting another flying knee, getting a little loose and feeling himself a bit more.

Estremadura struggled to build anything through the first half of the round, throwing singles and getting worked backwards by Maheshate each time he looked to fire. Down the stretch, Maheshate continued to snipe at Estremadura, countering everything the Canadian had to offer and attacking with some stylish moves, including a stepping back elbow, closing out the contest in control.

Tasked with determining the winner in the final bout of the season, all three judges saw it the same way, awarding Maheshate the unanimous decision victory.

Official Result: Maheshate def. Achilles Estremadura by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Yohan Lainesse vs Justin Burlinson

  • Yohan Lainesse (7-0, fighting out of St. Bruno, Quebec, Canada) and Justin Burlinson (6-0, fighting out of Liverpool, England) collide at welterweight

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Yohan Lainesse and Justin Burlinson trade punches in a welterweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5, week 10 at UFC APEX on November 02, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Yohan Lainesse and Justin Burlinson trade punches in a welterweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5, week 10 at UFC APEX on November 02, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The welterweights got after it straight away, with Lainesse throwing a high kick before changing levels, only for Burlinson to look for a guillotine. Lainesse escaped and landed in top position, with the Brit initiating a scramble immediately, chaining through submission attempts and forcing the Quebec native to defend.

Back on their feet in the center of the Octagon, the two men each looked to fire off power shots and Lainesse connected with a cracking left hook!

The sequence was reminiscent of the finish in the fight between Carlos Condit and Dan Hardy 11 years ago at UFC 120 in London, with a little sloppier technique and far more post-fight shouting and celebrating from Lainesse than there was from “The Natural Born Killer.”

What a massive finish for Yohan Lainesse!

Official Result: Yohan Lainasse def. Justin Burlinson by KO (left hook) at 1:37 of Round 1

Qiu Lun vs Erisson Ferreira da Silva

Less than 30 second into the contest, Qiu caught a kick and dumbed da Silva to the canvas, allowing him back to his feet before sitting him down with a clean left hand in the center of the cage. Qiu backed off and called da Silva back to the feet, continuing to pressure with heavy inside leg kicks while da Silva looked to counter with heavy, wide shots. The flyweights opted to bite down on their gumshields and trade, each landing big shots in the pocket, prompting Qiu to change levels and look for a takedown along the fence.

The Brazilian grabbed a guillotine, but Qiu escaped without issue, circling back into space for the final two minutes of the round. Da Silva looked to land with a flying attack, but missed, giving Qiu the chance to put him on the canvas and work from top position. The Brazilian got back to his feet quickly and went on the offensive, catching Qiu with a right hand that had him wobbling, causing him to shoot for a panicked takedown that was easily stuffed.

Just a tremendously entertaining opening five minutes from these flyweights.

Both men were a little more patient and timid to start the second, neither really committing to anything sharp until nearly two minutes in, when Qiu caught a kick and dumped da Silva to the canvas. The Brazilian quickly scrambled to his feet and looked to land big single shots, only for Qiu to defend or evade, landing a couple clean strikes of his own, including a beautiful left hand down the pipe and a side kick that caused da Silva to stumble backwards.

Da Silva just missed with a powerful right of his own with 90 seconds remaining, and Qiu countered with a right hook that staggered “Gato” momentarily. Each time da Silva looked to land one of his own, Qiu responded with a cleaner, heavier blow.

Both men came out swinging to start the third, with da Silva showing greater urgency and aggression, closing the distance and putting Qiu on the deck less than a minute in, settling into his guard. The Brazilian briefly looked at an arm triangle choke, but gave up on it, allowing Qiu to create a scramble when he landed in top position, working towards a D’Arce choke of his own before letting it go and returning to the center for the final half of the round.

Qiu pressed in for a lazy takedown attempt and da Silva attacked a guillotine, briefly switching to a ninja choke, but he couldn’t complete. Qiu managed to get da Silva off his back and return to his feet, but da Silva remained the aggressor and more accurate of the two with his strikes. Once more, Qiu worked forward for a lazy takedown and da Silva dove on a guillotine, with Qiu patiently riding out the round, giving referee Mike Beltran the thumbs up before the final horn.

This was a fun, action-packed fight from these two flyweights, and when the scores were tabulated, the judges were unanimous in how they saw it, awarding Erisson Ferreira da Silva the unanimous decision victory. 

Official Result: Erisson Ferreira da Silva def. Qiu Lun by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Jonas Bilharinho vs Canaan Kawaihae

Jonas Bilharinho reacts after his knockout victory over Canaan Kawaihae in a featherweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5, week 10 at UFC APEX on November 02, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Jonas Bilharinho reacts after his knockout victory over Canaan Kawaihae in a featherweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5, week 10 at UFC APEX on November 02, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Kawaihae closed the distance initially and opened with a kick, slipping as he threw, but getting up without issue. Bilharinho looked to work forward behind long strikes, but Kawaihae evaded the attacks and grabbed the clinch, pressing the Brazilian into the fence. Bilharinho landed a couple knees off the fence, with Kawaihaei answering in kind, keeping the lanky Brazilian on the wall, dealing with the Hawaiian’s weight and pressure.

Bilharinho landed a short elbow on the break, but failed to follow up, with Kawaihae landing a pair of outside low kicks as they moved back to the center, throwing sporadic shots without connecting on anything serious to the horn.

Kawaihae closed the distance to start again, walking through a heavy body kick from Bilharinho to look for a takedown, only for the Brazilian to successfully defend and break free. Each man was content to throw single shots, looking to land one blow before resetting, neither finding a real home for anything sharp. Midway through the round, Kawaihae got inside and changed levels, working up to a body lock before they each hit the other with a knee below the belt, resulting in the rare instance where both men needed time to recover.

Bilharinho recovered more quickly and they finally clapped the action back in after nearly two and a half minutes, with Kawaihae showing a little more urgency on the restart, chasing Bilharinho across the cage, landing a heavy kick and working back into the clinch. Bilharinho worked free and landed an elbow on the break once more, but continued throwing singles, landing a good kick to the body, but failing to follow it up.

He started to get a little more active in the final minute, connecting with another body kick and a couple good punches as they two stood in the pocket, chirping with one another to the buzzer.

The combatants shared a warm embrace in the center to start the third round, with the Brazilian showing a little more urgency out of the gate, throwing a little more frequently as Kawaihae looked to walk him down. While the Hawaiian continued to march forward, the Brazilian frequently circled out, landing counters until Kawaihae again got his hands on Bilharinho on the fence.

Bilharinho broke into space at the midway point of the round and continued to flash his speed and skill, picking at Kawaihae with single shots that landed clean, but had nothing else behind them, resulting in the Hawaiian never being forced backward. Late in the round, Bilharinho connected with a flush spinning hook kick that took Kawaihae off his feet, ending the contest instantly.

It took nearly 14 minutes, but the Brazilian finally connected with the telling blow he’d been looking for all fight, ending the contest in impressive fashion.

Official Result: Jonas Bilharinho def. Canaan Kawaihae by TKO (spinning hook kick) at 4:00 of Round 3

Shang Zhifa vs Juan Puerta

Juan Puerta punches Zhifa Shang on season 5 week 10 of Dana White's Contender Series (photo by Chirs Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Juan Puerta punches Zhifa Shang on season 5 week 10 of Dana White's Contender Series (photo by Chirs Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The flyweights spent the opening couple minutes feinting and feeling each other out at range, neither man really throwing much of anything before Puerta caught a kick and put Shang on the canvas, settling into his guard. Shang did a good job trying up Puerta and minimizing damage, while the American Top Team representative controlled from top position.

Late in the frame, Puerta worked to advance, but Shang created space and got back to his feet, only to eat a couple knees for his troubles. Shang caught another knee attempt and dumped Puerta to the deck, riding out the remainder of the round tied up in half guard.

Shang came out looking to close the distance to start, putting Puerta on the canvas just over 30 seconds into the second round, quickly advancing to the back, looking to trap the right arm as he sunk his second hook. Puerta remained patient and Shang fell off over the top, resulting in Puerta landing in top position. Shang looked to land some short punches off his back as Puerta was content to hang out in top position, drawing an urging to work from referee Mike Beltran.

As Shang looked to stand, Puerta floated to his back, sinking his near hook and landing short shots as he worked to flatten out the Chinese fighter, setting his second hook with just over a minute to go. Elbows and punches came from Puerta, but Shang did a good job of controlling the wrists, limiting the offence and damage to close out the round.

Shang closed the distance to start the final round, coming in behind wide, looping shots, while Puerta just moved laterally, looking to avoid getting clipped, but throwing little in return. Shang worked into the clinch with three minutes remaining in the round, but Puerta quickly reversed off the fence and broke into space, content to move on the outside, biting on Shang’s feints.

Shang continued coming forward, winging hard shots, looking for a finish and connecting with sporadic blows, getting into the clinch with a minute remaining in the contest. Puerta worked free and Shang stayed after him, hunting for a big shot right through to the final horn, closing things out as the aggressor.

The tens and nines were tallied and when the totals were added up, the judges were split, with Juan Puerta coming away with the split decision victory, extending his winning streak to 12 in the process.

Official Result: Juan Puerta def. Shang Zhifa by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Season 5, Episode 9 Results, Scorecards & More

October 26, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

The penultimate event in the fifth season of Dana White’s Contender Series took place inside the UFC APEX on Tuesday, with a super-sized lineup of six fights featuring a dozen hopefuls looking to add their names to the collection of talent graduating to the UFC this season.

After four contracts were awarded last week to bring this season’s total to 32, the Class of 21 is only five athletes away from matching last year’s record-setting number of 37 fighters called to compete inside the Octagon in a season, and with the action on tap on Tuesday night, there was an outside chance that total would be equaled or maybe even bested here.

Contract Winners And Interviews | Dana White’s Contender Series Season, 5 Episode 9
Contract Winners And Interviews | Dana White’s Contender Series Season, 5 Episode 9
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And the record was equaled, as UFC President Dana White handed out five contracts to fighters from four different weight classes to the roster, bringing in flyweight Karine Silva, bantamweight Javid Basharat, middleweight Gadzhi Omargadzhiev, and Entram Gym teammates Manuel Torres and Cristian Quinonez, who compete at lightweight and bantamweight, respectively.

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Here’s a look at how the new additions earned their contracts.

Gadzhi Omargadzhiev vs. Jansey Silva

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Gadzhi Omargadzhiev
Gadzhi Omargadzhiev reacts after his submission victory over Jansey Silva in a middleweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5, week 9 at UFC APEX on October 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

The middleweights touched gloves to start and Silva took position in the center of the Octagon, connecting with a hard inside low kick to begin the action. But less than a minute in, Omargadzhiev closed the distance, smashed home a right hand, and changed levels, dragging Silva to the canvas without much trouble, settling into half guard.

Silva did a good job to recover butterflies, but Omargaszhiev worked elbows, forcing Silva to surrender guard. Each time he felt there was an opening, Omargadzhiev landed an elbow over the top, climbing back into Silva’s guard with a lunging right hand when it looked like the Brazilian might be able to work to his feet. Silva began attacking elbows from the bottom and did a good job controlling Omargadzhiev’s wrists, limiting his output and prompting him to drop back on a heel hook attempt.

DWCS Scorecards - Omargadzhiev vs Silva

While he couldn’t connect on the submission, Omargadzhiev stayed with it, shifting to a kneebar in the transition and quickly forcing Silva to tap.

A beautiful, vicious finish for Omargadzhiev to close out Week 9 of the Contender Series.

Official Result: Gadzhi Omargadzhiev def. Jansey Silva by submission (kneebar) at 4:19 of Round 1

Xiao Long vs. Christian Quinonez

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Christian Quinonez returns to his corner between rounds of his bantamweight fight against Xiao Long during Dana White's Contender Series season 5, week 9 at UFC APEX on October 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Christian Quinonez returns to his corner between rounds of his bantamweight fight against Xiao Long during Dana White's Contender Series season 5, week 9 at UFC APEX on October 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Both men circled and feinted in space to start, with Quinonez using his length to land kicks and jabs, with Xiao answering with his own kicks, but struggling to find a home for his punches. Xiao kept trying to call Quinonez in, but the young Mexican fighter did a good job of cutting angles, landing and escaping before his Chinese foe could counter.

Quinonez caught a kick midway through the round and spilled Xiao to the canvas, but couldn’t do anything on the deck, with the two returning to their feet midway through the round. Xiao started having a little more success with his strikes, landing a few more kicks and a couple punches while closing the distance, but Quinonez did well to get back to range, backing up Xiao with a right hand with just under a minute remaining in the frame.

Xiao responded with a right of his own that wobbled Quinonez and the two closed out the opening stanza trading in tight, smiling at each other after the horn.

Quinonez offered a high kick to start, but Xiao blocked it and came forward, just missing with a reaching right hand, but connecting with a low kick. Xiao continued to pressure, working inside of Quinonez’s reach, finding little shots that were unavailable in the first. Through two minutes, Xiao worked first and more effectively, turning Quinonez into a counter fighter, which clearly wasn’t something the young Mexican was comfortable with.

Midway through the round, Xiao connected with a right hand that staggered Quinonez as he came forward, with the Chinese fighter continuing to stay active and mix his shots. Late in the round, Quinonez found a home for an uppercut as Xiao looked to change levels, following it with a long, sharp jab to Xiao’s bloody nose, sitting him down with a right hand seconds later, shifting the momentum of the round into his favor right before the close of the round.

DWCS Scorecard Long vs Quinonez

Quinonez took the center to start and put a jab in Xiao’s face straight away, getting back to moving and working from range better than he did in the second.

An uppercut straightened up Xiao in the center of the cage and Quinonez followed it with more long-range attacks, picking apart his Chinese foe, leaving him busted up. While Xiao continued to fire low kicks and try to work from Quinonez’s range, he couldn’t find a home for his strikes, and the Entram Gym representative continued working a stick-and-move approach, picking his spots to attack and connecting at an impressive clip.

Xiao would not go away, and didn’t even flinch when Quinonez landed a spinning back kick right to the midsection, earning a standing ovation after the final horn from the UFC President.

This was a strong effort from Quinonez, who looks to join the growing list of fighters from Tijuana’s Entram Gym on the UFC roster, and become the second member of his family to compete in the Octagon, following in the footsteps of his older brother, Jose Alberto “Teco” Quinonez.

Official Result: Cristian Quinonez def. Xiao Long by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Oron Kahlon vs. Javid Basharat

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 Javid Basharat (top) punches Oron Kahlon in a bantamweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5, week 9 at UFC APEX on October 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Javid Basharat (top) punches Oron Kahlon in a bantamweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5, week 9 at UFC APEX on October 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Both men came out throwing kicks, with Basharat landing heavier and talking to Kahlon when he checked an early kick. A minute in, the London-based lightweight caught a kick and put Kahlon on the deck, settling into half guard and landing short elbows while looking to pass, talking to Kahlon the whole time.

Basharat stayed tight on Kahlon, landing good shots and not allowing the Israeli to create space and work to his feet, opening him up over the left eye of Kahlon. Basharat continued to land clean, heavy blows, attacking the cut, mixing to the body, and continuing to look to advance from top position.

Kahlon briefly looked at a heel hook as Basharat looked to transition, but there was nothing there, and the round ended with the Afghani fighter continuing to score from top position. Just an absolutely dominant opening frame from Basharat.

Kahlon came out looking to throw and land, connecting with a good right hand, but as soon as Basharat looked to answer, he landed heavily. The length, speed, and movement of Basharat looked to be stymying Kahlon, and when the two slipped and a scramble ensued, it was Basharat that controlled the exchange, briefly looking to take the back.

Kahlon worked out of danger, but nearly got taken down, grabbing the fence to keep himself upright, drawing a hard warning from referee Herb Dean. Basharat stayed in on the takedown and pulled Kahlon’s legs out from under him, moving to side control as the two engaged along the canvas. Basharat was a little more patient and Kahlon did a better job of managing his posture and keeping him from landing.

DWCS - Scorecards - Kahlon vs Basharat

With a minute left in the round, Basharat looked to work a little more, but Kahlon did well to control the wrists and limit his opponent; playing defence rather than looking for opportunities to create space or get aggressive off his back.

Basharat crashed home a heavy low kick to start the third, following it with a spinning back kick that found a home and backed Kahlon up. Basharat continued walking down Kahlon, hitting him with a clean right hand and varying his attacks, mixing in low kicks and long punches, avoiding much of the return fire.

Another low kick took Kahlon off his feet and Basharat followed him to the ground, landing in Kahlon’s guard, but passing to half quickly, working elbows and punches atop the body and head as he looked to keep advancing. Basharat could not move to mount, but did work nonetheless, posturing up and putting it on Kahlon, chasing a mounted guillotine choke in the final minute and drawing out the tap.

What an absolutely dominant effort from the undefeated lightweight finisher, who nodded to his corner that he had the choke sunk as soon as he floated into mount. Just a brilliant effort all around.

Official Result: Javid Basharat def. Oron Kahlon by submission (guillotine choke) at 4:12 of Round 3

Yan Qihui vs. Karine Silva

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Karine Silva kicks Yan Qihui in a flyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5, week 9 at UFC APEX on October 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Karine Silva kicks Yan Qihui in a flyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5, week 9 at UFC APEX on October 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Silva kicked Yan in the face right out of the gate, but the Chinese fighter wasn’t fazed, steadying herself and attempting to close the distance on her Brazilian foe. A minute into the contest, Yan got inside and put Silva on the canvas, landing in full guard and looking to rough Silva up while the Brazilian looked to lock Yan up and earn a standup.

Even though she was working from top position, Yan suffered a cut just above her eye, her blood spilling onto Silva’s face, making it look like the Brazilian was the one wearing the damage. Yan climbed back into Silva’s guard and continued looking to work from top position in the final minute of the round, connecting with short elbows. Late in the frame, Silva latched onto a gogoplata attempt, seemingly getting close to finishing the rare submission before her Chinese foe shook free and tried to land shots to the horn.

DWCS Scorecard Qihui vs Silva

Silva began the second the same way she did the first, sticking Yan with a long-range front kick, before diving forward on a takedown attempt. While Yan defended well, Silva stayed dogged in her pursuit, only to finally be forced to break a minute into the round. Silva appeared to be slowing down, prompting Yan to press forward into a takedown attempt, where the Brazilian climbed onto a guillotine choke.

When Yan elevated and slammed Silva to the canvas, she slammed herself deeper into the choke, landing in Silva’s guard, tapping moments later. Silva moves to 14-4 with the victory, while Yan falls to 16-4 with the submission loss.

Official Result: Karine Silva def. Yan Qihui by submission (guillotine choke) at 1:44 of Round 2

Kolton Englund vs. Manuel Torres

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Manuel Torres reacts after his victory over Kolton Englund in a lightweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5, week 9 at UFC APEX on October 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Manuel Torres reacts after his victory over Kolton Englund in a lightweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5, week 9 at UFC APEX on October 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Torres landed three straight long strikes to begin, sticking Englund with a jab, an outside low kick, and a front kick to the mush, staying active as Englund looked to respond. The long jabs had Englund marked up and leaking just a minute in as he continued struggling with the length and diverse attacks of Torres, prompting him to look to change levels.

Englund vs. Torres Scorecard

Torres defended it well and when they broke into space, Englund covered his eye and looked to the official for a pause in the action. Referee Herb Dean didn’t call for a break and Torres pounced, blasting Englund with a series of heavy shots, chasing him to the canvas and pounding out the finish.

Terrific showing from the 26-year-old from the Entram Gym in Tijuana.

Official Result: Manuel Torres def. Kolton Englund by TKO (strikes) at 2:10 of Round 1

Xie Bin vs Olivier Murad

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L-R) Olivier Murad punches Xie Bin in a featherweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5, week 9 at UFC APEX on October 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
L-R) Olivier Murad punches Xie Bin in a featherweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5, week 9 at UFC APEX on October 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

The featherweights came out swinging to start this week’s action, with Murad getting right in Xie’s face and connecting with a flurry of different attacks in the opening minute. But when Xie slipped on one of the decals in the Octagon, he used the level change to get Murad to the canvas, setting up shop in his full guard, landing the occasional short shot from top position through the midway point of the round.

Xie opted to climb out of Murad’s guard and the Miami-based fighter went back on the offensive, walking down the Chinese fighter and connecting with clean shots, led by a left cross and knees in the clinch. Just when Murad started finding his rhythm and gaining control, Xie changed levels and put him on the deck, landing in side control and dropping a few powerful shots from top position to close out the round.

Early in the second, Murad again found a home for his sharp left cross, sitting Xie down, which prompted the Chinese youngster to grab an ankle and halt Murad’s attack. Back in space, with blood leaking from his nose, Xie drove forward and landed a clean takedown, putting Murad on the floor and climbing to half guard with a little more than three minutes remaining in the round. Murad pushed off the fence and timed a roll perfectly, creating a scramble that allowed him to get back to his feet with just over two minutes remaining in the middle stanza.

Xie pressed forward a little more behind his striking, connecting with a couple long right hands as Murad appeared to slow, holding back a little to fend off takedown attempts. It wasn’t enough though, as Xie once again dragged him to the canvas, moving from side control to knee-on-belly, working short punches while short on time to once again finish the round in dominant position.

Scorecard Bin vs Murad

Murad flipped the script to start the third, looking for a takedown of his own, only to have Xie scramble well and scurry back to his feet. While he again landed well in space, Murad couldn’t keep things standing, as Xie put him on his back once more, settling into Murad’s closed guard. The 23-year-old Chinese fighter began attacking with slicing elbows, while Murad offered very little from his back, failing to create space or attack from bottom.

Xie stood momentarily, but as Murad looked to get up, he dropped back in and kept the Titan FC champ on the canvas heading into the final two minutes of the fight. Xie finally postured up and started landing heavy blows, and as Murad looked to scramble, he latched onto a D’Arce choke. Murad forced his way out of the choke and got to his feet with a little over a minute remaining, landing a series of clean shots down the stretch to close out the back-and-forth battle.

This was a competitive fight that played out in two distinct parts, with Murad having greater success on the feet and Xie controlling things in the grappling exchanges, leaving the judges to sort things out after 15 minutes. When the scores were added up, two of the three officials scored the fight in favor of Murad, who moved to 6-0 with the victory.

Official Result: Olivier Murad def. Xie Bin by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Season 5, Episode 8 Results, Scorecards & More

October 19, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

Contract Winners And Interviews | Dana White’s Contender Series Season 5 Episode 8
Contract Winners And Interviews | Dana White’s Contender Series Season 5 Episode 8
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Through the first seven weeks of the season, an average of four contracts have been handed out each night on Dana White’s Contender Series, but after a blistering start to the season, UFC deals have been a little harder to come by in recent weeks.

There were 15 fights and 15 contracts awarded following the conclusion of Week 3, with Carlos Candelario becoming the first fighter to suffer a loss, but earn a contract, and all but one of the winners, bantamweight Mo Miller, getting the opportunity to compete inside the Octagon next time out. Since then, there have been another 19 bouts and 13 fighters getting the Dana White seal of approval, including last week’s three finishers, Martin Buday, Jake Hadley, and Slava Borshchev.

With only a handful of weeks to go and the record for most contracts awarded in an individual season still in jeopardy of being broken, five more pairs of hopefuls made the walk into the cage this evening, hoping to impress the UFC President and join the 28 athletes that have already garnered a call to the biggest stage in the sport this season.

While White passed on bantamweight Pedro Falcao, he inked each of the other four winners, adding Armen Petrosyan, Caio Borralho, Piera Rodriguez, and Jonny Parsons to UFC deals, bringing the total for the year to 32 and the record-breaking pace intact.

It was another entertaining night of action inside the UFC APEX. Here’s a closer look at how the action played out inside the cage.

Johnny Parsons vs Solomon Renfro

  • Johnny Parsons (7-2, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nevada) and Solomon Renfro (8-1, fighting out of Buffalo, New York) face off at welterweight in the featured bout

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Jonny Parsons knees Solomon Renfro in a welterweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five, week eight at UFC APEX on October 19, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Jonny Parsons knees Solomon Renfro in a welterweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five, week eight at UFC APEX on October 19, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Parsons wasted no time firing off kicks from the southpaw stance, attacking all levels as Renfro looked to find a home for advancing, powerful strikes. They kept throwing power shots at one another and nearly clashed heads a couple times, with Renfro finding a home for a series of big shots that backed up and wobbled Parsons.

Renfro swarmed and looked for the finish along the fence, but Parsons did a good job to cover up, avoid the monster shots, and get back into space, returning to his kicking attacks in the center. As Parsons came forward with a kick, Renfro dropped him with a left hand, and while Parsons was able to get back to his feet, it was clear there was a vast power discrepancy between the two.

Late in the round, Parsons looked for a Muay Thai trip, but Renfro avoided it and secured a takedown of his own, before the welterweight sluggers got back to their feet and traded more punches before the end of the round.

Parsons did a better job picking his spots and mixing his attacks to start the second, varying between punches and kicks, working to different levels, slowing Renfro’s output in the early stages of the round. Both men were a little more measured in their output through the first half of the frame, with Parsons offering and landing a little more, picking his spots and steering clear of the heavy return shots from Renfro.

With just over a minute left in the round, Renfro deftly timed a takedown, dumping Parsons to the canvas and settling into half guard, looking for opportunities to land short blows from top position, but failing to find any before the horn sounded.

Parsons raced across the cage with a flying knee attack to start the third, listening to his corner that told him he needed a finish in order to get the victory. Renfro stayed right there with him, throwing hands of his own, the two running level through the first half of the final stanza.

Parsons found a home with a body kick that got Renfro’s attention and he looked to press forward behind it, but when he did, Renfro backed him off with hard strikes of his own. The remainder of the contest played out with the duo engaging in a tit-for-tat battle in the center of the Octagon, neither landing anything too spicy or dominating the action too clearly through to the horn.

When the tens and nines were totalled, it was Parsons that landed on the happy side of the split decision verdict, causing the Syndicate MMA representative to erupt in celebration.

Official Result: Jonny Parsons def. Solomon Renfro by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Piera Rodriguez vs Valesca Machado

  • Piera Rodriguez (6-0, fighting out of Maracaibo, Venezuela) and Valesca Machado (8-2, 1 NC, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) square off at strawweight

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Piera Rodriguez kicks Valesca Machado in a strawweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five, week eight at UFC APEX on October 19, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Piera Rodriguez kicks Valesca Machado in a strawweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five, week eight at UFC APEX on October 19, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Machado came out and began leading the dance between these two strawweights, showing quickness and speed while working from the outside, jumping in to land a right hand that earned a nod from Rodriguez. The Brazilian continued to work an in and out approach, getting stung with a right hand by Rodriguez that took her feet out from under her briefly. To her credit, Machado wasn’t phased by the power shot, continuing to press forward and try to close the distance and land her shots, leading Rodriguez to look to wrestle.

Machado stuffed the takedown attempt, but ate a big shot on the break, with Rodriguez closing the distance again soon after, only for the Brazilian to keep it upright and split her open with an elbow in the clinch. When they broke into space, Machado continued pressing forward, doing a good job defending another takedown attempt just before the horn.

Machado came out confidently to start the second, backing Rodriguez up with long punches that found a home, avoiding the return fire coming her way. A lazy front kick resulted in Machado eating a clean right hand down the center line, but she ate it well, with each woman getting a little more loose with their hands once they got into range, trading big shots in close.

Rodriguez looked for a takedown just beyond the midway point of the round, but Machado defended it well, breaking free into space and coming forward behind long punches once again. She ducked under a spinning elbow attempt and secured a body lock against the fence, only to have Rodriguez reverse the position, finishing the round hunting for a takedown as the two traded short blows in close.

The combatants touched gloves to start the third with the opening exchange playing out the same as they had throughout the contest, with Machado pressing forward and landing long blows, but eating a heavy shot or two in return. Machado closed the distance and stung Rodriguez with another good right hand, but couldn’t avoid the clinch, with Rodriguez finally dragging her to the canvas.

But Machado worked back to her feet and took the fight to Rodriguez as they broke into space, again hitting Rodriguez with a couple clean shots, with Rodriguez’s return fire coming in much slower and more deliberately. Locked in the clinch heading into the final minute, Rodriguez dumped Machado to the canvas, but the Brazilian again worked back to her feet, only for Rodriguez to drag her to the canvas once more before the buzzer, climbing into mount and trying to unload punishment through to the horn.

This was a close, competitive fight and when the judges totals were added up, it was Rodriguez that came away with the unanimous decision victory.

Official Result: Piera Rodriguez def. Valesca Machado by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Caio Borralho vs Jesse Murray

Caio Borralho reacts after his TKO victory over Jesse Murray in a light heavyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five, week eight at UFC APEX on October 19, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Caio Borralho reacts after his TKO victory over Jesse Murray in a light heavyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five, week eight at UFC APEX on October 19, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Fighting inside the UFC APEX for the second time in a handful of weeks, Borralho made the absolute most of his second opportunity, showing tremendous patience out of the gate, chipping away at Murray before connecting with a clean left hand down the pipe. Chasing him back towards the fence, Borralho unloaded, clipping Murray above the ear and following him to the canvas, unloading a torrent of strikes that forced referee Mike Beltran to step in and stop the fight.

Borralho didn't get a contract after beating Aaron Jeffery three weeks ago, but he might get one here after betting on himself and cashing in big time.

Official Result: Caio Borralho def. Jesse Murray by TKO (strikes) at 1: 41 of Round 1

Kaloyan Kolev vs Armen Petrosyan

 

Armen Petrosyan punches Kaloyan Kolev in a light heavyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five, week eight at UFC APEX on October 19, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Armen Petrosyan punches Kaloyan Kolev in a light heavyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five, week eight at UFC APEX on October 19, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Petrosyan stayed light on his feet to start, but Kolev was able to quickly close the distance and dump the kickboxer to the canvas, returning him there with force seconds after he worked back to his feet. He again worked to a standing position, but Kolev remained locked onto him, controlling the body positioning along the fence and locking onto a body lock as Petrosyan continued trying to fight hands and create space.

Kolev spun Petrosyan to the deck with a single leg at the midway point of the round, but again, the kickboxer scurried back to his feet quickly, returning to that clinch position along the fence. As soon as they broke into space, Petrosyan got loose with strikes, stinging Kolev with a right hand, only for the Bulgarian to again press forward, clinch up and avoid danger.

Petrosyan worked free quickly and once he did, he unleashed hell, blasting Kolev with a nonstop barrage of punches and kicks, stinging him with a pair of right hands and felling him with a knee to the head while throwing a kick.

This was a lights out performance for Petrosyan, who did an outstanding job with his defensive wrestling and capitalizing every second the duo was in space, earning one of the most impressive finishes of the season.

Official Result: Armen Petrosyan def. Kaloyan Kolev by KO (knee) at 4:27 of Round 1

Pedro Falcao vs James Barnes

Pedro Falcao vs. James Barnes

It only took 30 seconds for the bantamweight grapplers to work into the clinch, with Barnes closing the distance and putting Falcao against the fence and chipping away with short knees to the thighs. Falcao reversed the position and returned the short knees, but Barnes was able to work into space relatively quickly and go on the offensive, pressing forward and catching the Brazilian with a couple clean shots.

When Falcao rushed forward for a level change, Barnes stuffed it and locked onto a front headlock, working from there into the clinch, with neither man doing much as they battled along the fence for a second time. After seeming a little hesitant with his hands out of the clinch to start, Falcao finished the round landing a couple short, clean shots that Barnes didn’t seem to like.

Falcao came out more aggressive to start the second, popping Barnes with a couple more quick, crisp strikes, but the American veteran worked through it and into the clinch once again. This time, Falcao got free quickly and changed levels, scooping Barnes into the air and depositing him on the canvas, settling into top position and methodically looking to pass and attack.

He worked through to side control midway through the round, but Barnes was able to work up to his feet, only to have Falcao slam him to the deck once more. The Brazilian bided his time and floated into mount, quickly clamping down on an arm triangle choke. When he was unable to finish, Falcao let it go and attacked with punches through to the horn, entering the final stanza in complete control of this opening contest.

Barnes tried to come out aggressively to start the third, landing a leg kick and changing levels, but Falcao stuffed it with ease and worked into a body lock of his own, easily putting the veteran on the canvas. Barnes got back to his feet with ease and dumped Falcao to the ground, with the Brazilian looking at a guillotine that wasn’t there before wall-walking back to his feet.

When they broke into space, Barnes chased a sloppy takedown attempt that Falcao avoided, landing in top position as the American stumbled to the ground, settling into half guard and working to soften Barnes up with heavy lefts to the body and head. Falcao climbed into mount and postured up with just over a minute to go, unloading on Barnes and securing the finish, wrapping up a dominant performance with a stoppage.

This was the kind of urgency UFC President Dana White often talks about wanting to see from fighters on the Contender Series and it could very well make the difference between leaving with a victory or departing with a UFC contract in hand.

Official Result: Pedro Falcao def. James Barnes by TKO (strikes) at 3:55 of Round 3

Season 5, Episode 7 Results, Scorecards & More

October 12, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

Twenty-five fighters have been added to the UFC roster through the first six weeks on Season 5 of Dana White’s Contender Series, with every division on the men’s side of the roster being represented and the lone female victor of the season, flyweight Jasmine Jasudavicius, getting the call as well.

Not only is that more contracts that were handed out through both the first (16) and second (23) seasons, but it’s a record-setting pace where the total number of contracts handed out in the third season could be matched or exceeded if five or more fighters are brought into the fold this week.

Contract Winners And Interviews | Dana White’s Contender Series Season 5 Episode 7
Contract Winners And Interviews | Dana White’s Contender Series Season 5 Episode 7
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The depth and diversity of talent that has come through the UFC APEX this season is what has been most impressive, as there has been a mix of prospects and veterans from all across the globe, with last week’s event being the first without an American competitor on the card in the four-plus year history of the series.

This week’s slate was a perfect mix of all of those elements, with bouts across five divisions, including the second fight featuring female combatants this season, with half the competitors hailing from outside the United States and the level of talent being outstanding.

A pair of weight misses complicated things this week, as Christian Rodriguez and Jake Hadley were each a pound over on Monday, but maintained their unbeaten records by turning in impressive performances on Tuesday.

Only one of them came away with a contract, as White went against his position that missing weight means you don’t get a contract by bringing Hadley into the flyweight fold, but passed for the time being on Rodriguez, acknowledging his skill and upside.

There was no hesitation pulling the trigger with offering lightweight Viacheslav Borshchev and heavyweight Martin Buday UFC contracts, bringing the total for Season 5 up to 28 heading into the final three events of the season.

Here’s a look at what transpired inside the cage on Tuesday night.

Reyes Cortez vs Christian Rodriguez

Christian Rodriguez punches Reyes Cortez in a bantamweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five, week seven at UFC APEX on October 12, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Christian Rodriguez punches Reyes Cortez in a bantamweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five, week seven at UFC APEX on October 12, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The bantamweights wasted no time getting after it in the main event, with Rodriguez and Cortez meeting in the center and trading blows to start before Cortez initiated the clinch, looking to get into his wrestling game and wear on Rodriguez, who missed weight yesterday morning.

Rodriguez worked off the fence, but Cortez ducked under to take the back, securing his hands around Rodriguez’s waist. While he wasn’t able to get him off balance and put him on the floor, Cortez continued to stay after it before Rodriguez broke the grip and circled into space. Back in the center, Rodriguez started piecing up Cortez, cracking him with a “crispy” jab and cleaner, more technical strikes, busting him up a little and taking control of the fight in space.

The Roufusport product really started getting loose late in the frame, attacking Cortez with a sharp elbow and precise strikes through to the horn.

Rodriguez got right back into his bag to start the second, sniping home clean strikes with quickness, stuffing Cortez’s takedown attempt and getting right back in his face. Cortez ducked under a hurried Rodriguez punch, securing a body lock momentarily, but the 23-year-old Rodriguez worked free and resumed his assault.

Each time Cortez tried to respond and landed a couple shots of his own, Rodriguez responded with greater effectiveness, showing great hips every time Cortez looked to change levels. After a brief clinch along the fence, Rodriguez landed a heavy one-two that backed up Cortez, who showed tremendous toughness and grit, taking everything coming his way, but was clearly getting out-worked through two rounds.

Cortez looked to shoot right out of the chute, but Rodriguez sprawled beautifully, keeping the fight standing and again taking it to Cortez. The Fight Ready representative slipped under a Rodriguez punch and dragged him to the canvas, but couldn’t maintain control, with Rodriguez getting to his feet and into space without taking any punishment.

At each turn, Rodriguez was the sharper man, picking at Cortez who kept trying to grapple, but couldn’t muster much of anything. Just past the midway point of the round, Cortez again briefly put Rodriguez on the deck, but the Roufusport product got back up and got back after it, continuing to piece up Cortez.

While he didn’t get the finish he surely wanted, this was an impressive performance from the 23-year-old Rodriguez, who pushed his record to 6-0 with the unanimous decision win, handing Cortez his second career loss in the process.

Official Result: Christian Rodriguez def. Reyes Cortez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Lorenzo Hood vs Martin Buday

Martin Buday reacts after his victory over Lorenzo Hood in a heavyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five, week seven at UFC APEX on October 12, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Martin Buday reacts after his victory over Lorenzo Hood in a heavyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five, week seven at UFC APEX on October 12, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The action between the gigantic human beings Buday and Hood was just starting when the action was paused momentarily for what appeared to be an inadvertent eye poke. The replay looked like it might have been a punch from Buday, and when the action restarted, the Slovakian closed the distance and put Hood against the cage, leaning into him as the duo traded big knees in tight.

Hood got free from Buday’s clutches and opened up with his hands, connecting with heavy shots that had Buday backing up, prompting the Slovak to clinch once again. He again started working knees to the thigh, mixing in short punches to the head, busting Hood up as he continued to chip away with sharp knees to the quad.

Hood showed no ability to get himself off the fence and Buday continued to unload, landing short punches before launching a knee upstairs that landed clean, dropped Hood to a knee, and brought the fight to a close.

There was a rocky patch early, but Buday navigated the challenge and put it on Hood, overwhelming him with heavy shots along the fence before felling him with the knee Paul Felder was calling for throughout the contest.

In the same week as the first Slovakian fighter in UFC history is slated to compete, could Buday join his teammate Ludovit Klein on the UFC roster?

Official Result: Martin Buday def. Lorenzo Hood by TKO (strikes) at 4:56 of Round 1

Jake Hadley vs Mitch Raposo

Jake Hadley secures a rear choke submission against Mitch Raposo in a flyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five, week seven at UFC APEX on October 12, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Jake Hadley secures a rear choke submission against Mitch Raposo in a flyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five, week seven at UFC APEX on October 12, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Hadley got right into Raposo’s face to start this one, flicking out a jab and attacking with a kick to the body, marching down the Team Volkanovski veteran without concern for what was coming back his way. Raposo timed up a beautiful level change, putting Hadley on his back, but the Brit quickly started looking for submissions, transitioning from an omoplata to a gogoplata and an armbar before creating space and getting back to his feet.

Hadley once again looked to walk Raposo down, but this time, the Massachusetts native pushed him back with strikes of his own, keeping Hadley guessing a little more and throwing more volume than the Cage Warriors champion before driving through another takedown with 30 seconds remaining in the round, closing out the frame in top position.

The flyweights met in the center to start the second, Hadley again looking to press forward, Raposo doing a good job of firing back, snagging a single, but letting it go when he didn’t put Hadley on the deck. Hadley fired off another body kick, which Raposo blocked, but still felt, before the Brit dragged the fight to the canvas.

Hadley immediately controlled Raposo’s off-arm and climbed around to the back, locking in a body triangle and floating with the American as he looked to escape the position. Hadley clamped onto a neck crank and started squeezing, torquing Raposo’s head sideways, forcing the TUF 29 alum to tap.

Missing weight complicates things for Hadley, but this was a dominant performance by the undefeated Englishman, as he climbs to 8-0 while handing Raposo the first loss of his professional career.

Official Result: Jake Hadley def. Mitch Raposo by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:11 of Round 2

Chris Duncan vs Viacheslav Borshchev

Viacheslav Borshchev reacts after his knockout victory over Chris Duncan in a lightweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five, week seven at UFC APEX on October 12, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Viacheslav Borshchev reacts after his knockout victory over Chris Duncan in a lightweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five, week seven at UFC APEX on October 12, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Borshchev opened with a high kick and continued looking to land strikes as Duncan remained patient, making his reads and trying to find an opening. The technical Borshchev bloodied Duncan’s nose early with his clean jab and took it to the Scotsman, landing combinations and stinging him with a thudding kick to the liver.

Duncan quickly (and wisely) changed levels and hunted for a takedown, dragging Borshchev to the ground and settling into top position, chipping away with small shots before they returned to their feet. Borshchev busted out a “Rolling Thunder,” but missed, and Duncan quickly changed levels again, scooping the Team Alpha Male representative into the air and dumping him to the canvas, only for Borshchev to scurry to his feet with ease.

Back in space, the lightweights kept slinging, Borshchev touching Duncan’s liver again with another kick, and the unbeaten Scottish fighter responding with some shots of his own to close out a frenetic opening five minutes.

Duncan pressed forward to start the second and the duo traded kicks to the body, with Borshchev continuing to show superior technique. As Duncan came in with a reaching left hand, Borshchev slid out of the way, countered with a left hand on the jaw, and put Duncan to sleep.

Just an absolutely brilliant performance and blistering finish from Borshchev, bouncing Duncan from the ranks of the unbeaten and bringing UFC President Dana White out of his seat.

Official Result: Viacheslav Borshchev def. Chris Duncan by KO (left hook) at 0:28 of Round 2

Maria Silva vs Kathryn Paprocki

Maria Silva reacts after her victory over Kathryn Paprocki in a strawweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five, week seven at UFC APEX on October 12, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Maria Silva reacts after her victory over Kathryn Paprocki in a strawweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five, week seven at UFC APEX on October 12, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The women spent the opening two minutes of the first round working in space, feeling each other out, landing sporadic shots, with neither Silva nor Paprocki landing anything too sharp. Silva opted to close the distance and initiate the clinch, controlling Paprocki along the fence, chipping away with a smattering of knees to the midsection and thighs, but ultimately losing the position when referee Jason Herzog decided to split them apart.

Back in space, the women started swinging, with both athletes throwing heavy blows, connecting with a couple shots each before Silva once again crashed into the clinch, driving Paprocki back into the fence and resuming her work with knees in tight through to the end of the round.

Paprocki started the second quicker, looking to push the pace and take the fight to Silva, attacking with long punches and a sharp low kick before pressing forward in search of a takedown. Silva saw it coming and denied it with ease, using the opportunity to clinch and quickly twist Paprocki to the canvas, only for the Coloradan to return to her feet with ease.

The duo broke into space momentarily, with each woman throwing strikes, only for Silva to again close the distance and drag the fight to the canvas, landing in full mount and taking Paprocki’s back as she looked to escape the position. The Brazilian landed a series of short punches, fishing for submission opportunities and clamping down on a neck crank, with Paprocki fending off the uncomfortable hold before spinning into top position, only to eat a series of shots from Silva off her back.

Silva opened the third throwing low kicks, mixing strikes in between, catching Paprocki with a clean right before closing the distance and initiating the clinch once again. They broke into space much quicker this time, with Silva taking the center and each woman throwing from distance, landing very little before the Brazilian secured the body lock and took the fight to the canvas once more.

With just over two minutes left in the round, Silva climbed into mount, sliding to the back as Paprocki looked to find safety. Each time the American looked to adjust and turn into Silva, the Brazilian beat her to the punch, floating well and landing occasional punches, controlling the action throughout.

Each of the three officials saw the fight the same, awarding Silva the unanimous decision victory, advancing her record to 6-0 with the victory.

Official Result: Maria Silva def. Kathryn Paprocki by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Season 5, Episode 6 Results, Scorecards & More

October 5, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

Last week, Dana White welcomed two fighters to the UFC roster — light heavyweight Ihor Poteiria and lightweight Daniel Zellhuber — and it felt like a surprise; not because of the two names he added, but because it was just two out of the four victorious fighters.

The last time less than three fighters emerged from an episode having been given the opportunity to pursue their dreams inside the Octagon was the penultimate episode of Season 3, when “The Fresh Prince,” Phil Rowe, was the lone fighter to get the call to compete on the biggest stage in the sport.

Over the next 15 episodes, three or more fighters matriculated to the UFC, including 19 fighters from 18 bouts to begin Season Five, before last week’s shift in pattern.

This week, it was back to what has been the norm for the majority of the last two-plus seasons, as the UFC President doled out four more contracts, bringing lightweight Genaro Valdez, Fernie Garcia, Carlos Hernandez, and Mike Malott into the fold. He also announced that middleweight winner Joseph Holmes would fight on the upcoming Fury FC card in Colorado that will be featured on Lookin’ for a Fight, giving him a chance to make another impression on the UFC brass and secure an invite to the Octagon.

Here’s a look at how the action played out.

Shimon Smotritsky vs Mike Malott

Mike Malott secures a guillotine choke against Shimon Smotritsky in a welterweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5 week 6 at UFC APEX on October 05 2021 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Mike Malott secures a guillotine choke against Shimon Smotritsky in a welterweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5 week 6 at UFC APEX on October 05 2021 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Both men came out throwing kicks and trying to find their range with their hands. When he reached forward with two lunging punches that missed, Smotritsky dropped his head and Malott immediately jumped on the guillotine choke, adjusting his grip to secure the tap just 39 seconds into the opening stanza.

Team Alpha Male fighters have always been known for having nasty guillotines and Malott showed that he’s got one too. Just a dominant finish for the Canadian.

Official Result: Mike Malott def. Shimon Smotritsky by submission (guillotine choke) at 0:39 of Round 1

Daniel Barez vs Carlos Hernandez

Carlos Hernandez kicks Daniel Barez in a flyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5 week 6 at UFC APEX on October 05, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Carlos Hernandez kicks Daniel Barez in a flyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5 week 6 at UFC APEX on October 05, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Barez pressed forward to start, with Hernandez moving laterally on the edges as the Spanish fighter looked to open up and immediately take control of the fight. Hernandez got his back off the fence and started attacking more, darting in to land shots before shuffling back out of range, catching Barez with a left hook as he looked to jump in with a knee.

The flyweights started getting a little more loose with their hands two minutes in, both fighters offering more offense and working multiple levels, digging shots to the body as well as targeting the head through the midway point of the round. Hernandez grabbed a single leg and pushed Barez into the fence, but couldn’t complete, with Barez looking for a guillotine choke that wasn’t there.

As they broke into space, Hernandez landed a flush knee that Barez somehow ate, and the ‘25s just stayed after it, both men working at a steady clip wherever the action was situated. Late in the round, Barez elevated Hernandez for a big takedown and climbed onto his back, attacking a neck crank through to the horn.

Terrific round from the flyweights!

It was back to full go to start the second, as Barez came forward. Hernandez responded by working inside, and each man landed solid shots. Barez cracked Hernandez with a right hand that backed him up to the fence, looking for space, only for Hernandez to drop Barez with a right of his own as he came hunting for more.

The two quickly hit the canvas, with Barez attacking an inverted triangle choke, but he got too aggressive and lost the position, resulting in Hernandez scrambling to side control. From there, the Chicago-based fighter took the back and flattened the Spaniard out, searching for a rear-naked choke. Barez defended well and it became a cat-and-mouse on the canvas, with Barez looking to neutralize Hernandez’s attacks and Hernandez trying to punch his way to openings.

With a minute left in the round, Barez scrambled back to his feet, but Hernandez remained the aggressor, only for the Spanish flyweight to change levels and hit a double leg takedown, finishing the round getting a breather inside Hernandez’s full guard.

Barez landed a clean right hand to start the third and looked to take the fight to Hernandez, buckling Barez with a left hand less than a minute in. Once more, Hernandez attacked with a flying knee that allowed him to work into the clinch, only for Barez to easily break free into space.

An accidental finger to the eye brought things to a pause as referee Chris Tognoni checked on Hernandez, who was good to continue.

On the restart, Hernandez tried to come forward, but each time he did, Barez cracked him with a check hook counter, timing a level-change right before the midway point of the frame. Just as soon as Hernandez got up and out into space, Barez dropped down again, driving him backward and to the canvas.

Hernandez kicked his way free and the two broke into space, with Barez chasing the takedown and getting stuffed. After landing a few punches, Hernandez went for a takedown of his own, which he couldn’t complete. Barez tried once again and Hernandez denied it, taking the fight to the Spaniard on the feet over the final 20 seconds.

This was an entertaining, fast-paced flyweight battle where both men had positive moments. For the first time this evening, the judges were called upon to determine the winner, and when the scores were tallied, the judges were split, with Hernandez landing on the happy side of the verdict.

 

Official Result: Carlos Hernandez def. Daniel Barez by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Joshua Weems vs Fernie Garcia

Fernie Garcia reacts after his victory over Joshua Weems in a bantamweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5 week 6 at UFC APEX on October 05, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Fernie Garcia reacts after his victory over Joshua Weems in a bantamweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5 week 6 at UFC APEX on October 05, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Weems came out showing his quickness and diverse weapons, chopping at the lead leg and throwing hands behind them, spinning Garcia around with a couple kicks before running into a counter right as he looked to close the distance.

After breaking off the fence, Garcia stalked forward, backing Weems up and hitting him with a right hand behind the ear that sent him tumbling to the canvas. The follow-up blows came hot and heavy and referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop it, giving Fernie Garcia the first-round finish and a fifth straight victory.

Official Result: Fernie Garcia def. Joshua Weems by TKO (punches) at 2:10 of Round 1

Shonte Barnes vs Joseph Holmes

Joseph Holmes punches Shonte Barnes in a middleweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5 week 6 at UFC APEX on October 05, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Joseph Holmes punches Shonte Barnes in a middleweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5 week 6 at UFC APEX on October 05, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The middleweights took the opening minute to feint and feel each other out, Barnes working out of a southpaw stance, while Holmes looked for openings from the orthodox position. After the first minute, Holmes started letting go with his strikes a little more, throwing long kicks and punches at the much shorter Barnes before the two clashed heads, bringing the fight to a momentary pause as referee Chris Tognoni checked on both fighters.

On the restart, Barnes attacked with a body kick, but Holmes quickly responded by closing the distance and looking to grapple, controlling the clinch along the fence, landing knees and looking to drag Barnes to the mat. Barnes showed good takedown defense, keeping things upright, leading to the two breaking into space.

Both continued attacking with kicks and the occasional punch, each having modest success before Barnes changed levels looking for a takedown, only to have Holmes stuff it, reverse position along the fence, and land a knee to the body right before the horn.

Barnes came out as the aggressor to start the second, backing up Holmes with reaching punches, taking the fight to the taller man, only to have Holmes respond with a body kick that echoed throughout the venue. Barnes responded with two of his own before Holmes worked into the clinch behind a long jab, quickly taking the fight to the canvas.

Holmes immediately took the back and secured a body triangle, fishing for a rear-naked choke and settling for a neck crank, drawing a tap out of Barnes to secure the victory.

“Uglyman Joe” looked solid here, playing to his strength in the second round to secure the finish and extending his winning streak to seven.

 

Official Result: Joseph Holmes def. Shonte Barnes by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:46 of Round 2

Patrik White vs Genaro Valdez

Genaro Valdez and Patrik White trade punches in a lightweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5 week 6 at UFC APEX on October 05, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Genaro Valdez and Patrik White trade punches in a lightweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season 5 week 6 at UFC APEX on October 05, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The opener took a little longer to get going than expected as White needed to return to the locker room to put on his cup and get his mouthguard, but once the action got started, the lightweights got after it.

White came out firing, forcing Valdez to grapple, with the Entram Gym fighter taking him to the canvas and controlling him with a waist lock through the opening minute. A brief break into space gave both men the opportunity to let loose with their strikes, and despite connecting with a couple good shots, Valdez looked to wrestle again.

For the third straight time, White quickly bounced back up to his feet, only for Valdez to chase a rear-naked choke. He got too aggressive and couldn’t seal the deal, but continued to take the fight to the wild Alaskan competitor, dislodging his gumshield while the two swung heavy hooks.

Valdez again took the fight to the canvas and rained down elbows from top position, but this time, White was able to reverse the position and have some success of his own. Late in the frame, White took it to Valdez, busting him up with big swings as both men battled exhaustion through to the horn.

What an absolutely insane round!

Out of the break to start the second, the lightweights picked up right where they left off at the end of the first, with White serving as the aggressor, taking the fight to Valdez. But once again, the momentum shifted, as Valdez sent White’s mouthguard flying for a second time with a counter left hook, chasing him down and dropping him with another two-piece that landed flush.

Just an absolutely chaotic opener where both men got after it and left it all in the Octagon.

 

Official Result: Genaro Valdez def. Patrik White by TKO (punches) at 0:44 of Round 2

Season 5, Episode 5 Results, Scorecards & More

September 28, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

For the second time this season, we were down to only four fights on Dana White’s Contender Series, but after the opening week of the season produced fireworks despite a reduced number of bouts, expectations were high that the Week 5 slate could do the same.

And they did.

Two finishes and two entertaining 15-minute battles produced a couple more additions to the UFC roster, as undefeated lightweight Daniel Zellhuber and light heavyweight underdog Ihor Potieria got the call to the Octagon, bringing the total number of contracts awarded so far this season to 21.

Here’s a closer look at how things played out inside the cage on Tuesday night.

Contract Winners And Interviews | Dana White’s Contender Series Season 5 Episode 5
Contract Winners And Interviews | Dana White’s Contender Series Season 5 Episode 5
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Lukasz Sudolski vs Ihor Potieria

Sudolski opened by attacking the inside lead leg of Potieria, but he was quickly forced to look to clinch as Potieria fired back with powerful shots that got Sudolski’s attention. They traded short, sharp shots to the body inside the clinch, taking turns with their backs on the fence before a low blow paused the action momentarily.

Ihor Potieria reacts after his victory over Lukasz Sudolski in a light heavyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five week five at UFC APEX on September 28 2021 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Ihor Potieria reacts after his victory over Lukasz Sudolski in a light heavyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five week five at UFC APEX on September 28, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Sudolski apologized on the restart and the light heavyweights worked their way right back to where they were, twisting each other back-and-forth along the fence, neither man able to gain a clear advantage or connect with anything too sharp in tight. But when they broke into space, Potieria quickly chased Sudolski down with long punches, a right hand knocking him to the ground.

The follow up blows came quickly and with precision, prompting referee Jason Herzog to call a halt to the action.

Just an outstanding finish for Ihor Potieria and a tremendous way to close out Week 5 on the Contender Series.

Official Result: Ihor Potieria def. Lukasz Sudolski by TKO (punches) at 3:41 of Round 1

Caio Borralho vs Aaron Jeffrey

Borralho came out as the aggressor, working from the southpaw stance and offering a high kick early. Jeffery shifted to pressing forward and eventually managed to get inside, eating a couple shots as he tried to close the distance before finally putting Borralho’s back against the fence momentarily.

The Canadian got back to that position quickly and the duo exchanged knees along the wall, with Borralho reversing the position before they broke into space with 90 seconds remaining in the round. As Jeffery came forward, Borralho elevated in place and landed the jump knee he’d been looking for all round, but Jeffery wore it well, continuing to press forward, even as the Brazilian continued to outland him at a significant clip.

Caio Borralho of Brazil punches Aaron Jeffrey of Canada in their middleweight bout during Season 5, Episode 5 of Dana White's Contender Series on September 28, 2021. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Caio Borralho of Brazil punches Aaron Jeffrey of Canada in their middleweight bout during Season 5, Episode 5 of Dana White's Contender Series on September 28, 2021. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

As the two men circled each other in the center to start the second round, Borralho quickly changed levels and drove through a takedown attempt, though Jeffery was able to work back to his feet and into space without taking any damage. The Canadian resumed his forward pressure and almost ate another flying knee, but this time, he was able to get into the clinch, only to have Borralho dig an undertook and work off the fence.

Midway through the round, Jeffery once again crashed forward and closed the distance, getting Borralho up against the fence, hunting for takedowns, only for the Brazilian to put Jeffery on the deck momentarily. Once they stood up, Jeffery was right back into the clinch, showing impressive resiliency and determination, eating knees in tight while continuing to struggle to execute any real sustained offence.

After a touch of gloves and show of respect to start the round, Jeffery picked up where he left off to end the second, putting Borralho against the fence once more, only to have the Brazilian defend the takedown attempt and circle into space. As they returned to the clinch following a brief separation, Borralho once again dumped Jeffery to the floor, controlling the clinch position as they returned to their feet.

Jeffery showed increased urgency as the clock ticked down to two minutes remaining in the round, trying to throw more volume and land something sharp, attacking with elbows over the top on the clinch. But nothing crisp landed and Borralho defended well, tying up the Canadian through to the final horn.

This was a smooth, technical effort from Borralho and the judges rewarded him properly, handing him a well-earned unanimous decision victory.

Official Result: Caio Borralho def. Aaron Jeffery by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Lucas Almeida vs Daniel Zellhuber

The unbeaten lightweights wasted no time getting after it, with Almeida immediately closing the distance and taking the fight to Zellhuber, wading through some return fire to hit the 22-year-old Mexican with a series of clean, crisp punches. Zellhuber wisely initiated the clinch, but as soon as they broke into space, Almeida was right back in his grill, connecting with heavy right hands that again prompted Zellhuber to grab onto the Brazilian and get a bit of a break.

Once again, they broke into space and Almeida continued to attack, with Zellhuber doing a slightly better job of returning fire and throwing combinations, settling in a little more while still getting touched up. Just when Zellhuber seemed to be starting to claim a bit of the momentum, Almeida fired back, connecting with a couple more clean shots right before the horn.

Daniel Zellhuber of Mexico kicks Lucas Almeida of Brazil in their lightweight bout during Season 5, Episode 5 of Dana White's Contender Series on September 28, 2021. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Daniel Zellhuber of Mexico kicks Lucas Almeida of Brazil in their lightweight bout during Season 5, Episode 5 of Dana White's Contender Series on September 28, 2021. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

They got right back after it on the restart, with Almeida again coming forward, only for Zellhuber to initiate a clinch sooner and drive the Brazilian to the canvas, settling into top position and starting to get off some heavy shots. A technical mistake gave Almeida the space he needed to scurry back to his feet, but when he did, it was clear his pace had slowed, as Zellhuber was able to have more success countering, using his range and quickness to control the striking and dictating the terms of engagement.

While Almeida still found a home for the odd shot, Zellhuber handled them far better than he did in the first and responded with much greater frequency and fire, adding a question mark kick in to showcase the full depth of his arsenal, his confidence growing to the point that he was taunting Almeida in the waning seconds of the round.

Both men came out throwing to start the third with Zellhuber maintaining the momentum he captured in the second — connecting with far greater frequency while avoiding much of what Almeida offered in return. The 22-year-old continued to stalk Almeida, his pace and output slowing, but his accuracy and his defensive movements remaining sharp.

Down the stretch Zellhuber got a little flashy, taunting Almeida, connecting with a spinning back kick and beautiful check left hook as he completed an impressive comeback after being on the business end of things in the opening round.

The judges were called on to render a decision, but there was no uncertainty of what the cards would reveal, with Zellhuber collecting a unanimous decision victory, pushing his winning streak to an even dozen while handing Almeida the first defeat of his career.

Official Result: Daniel Zellhuber def. Lucas Almeida by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Rizvan Kuniev vs Edivan Santos

The big fellas touched gloves and then started firing in Tuesday’s opener, with Santos getting the better of things in space early, cracking Kuniev with a pair of clean right hands that backed the fighter from Dagestan up. After shaking it off and getting a little more settled, Kuniev worked to secure the clinch, driving Santos into the fence before an inadvertent knee to the groin from Kuniev brought the fight to a momentary pause.

As soon as they restarted, Santos’ outstretched finger grazed Kuniev’s eye, pausing the action again.

Rizvan Kuniev of Russia knocks out Edivan Santos of Brazil in their light heavyweight bout during Season 5, Episode 5 of Dana White's Contender Series on September 28, 2021. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Rizvan Kuniev of Russia knocks out Edivan Santos of Brazil in their light heavyweight bout during Season 5, Episode 5 of Dana White's Contender Series on September 28, 2021. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Level at one foul each, Kuniev pressed forward on the second restart, crashing home heavy outside kicks to the thigh and initiating the clinch once more, finally chaining together a takedown attempt to put Santos on the canvas. The Brazilian reversed the position with a kimura sweep, scurrying to his feet and feeding Kuniev a knee to the body as he stood before the 28-year-old betting favorite put Santos back on the fence for the remainder of the round.

Kuniev opened the second offering a variety of kicks, closing the distance and working into the clinch without much pushback. Santos went searching with long punches when they broke into space, but came up empty, prompting Kuniev to close the distance once again and grind out more time on the fence.

The heavyweights began to fall into a pattern a couple minutes into the round, with Kuniev working into the clinch, Santos fighting his way off the fence, and Kuniev quickly pressing forward again. Midway through the round, the Eagle FC titleholder elevated Santos into the air and sent him crashing to the canvas, landing in side control, only to have the Brazilian go hunting for a kimura sweep again, forcing Kuniev to reset his pressure and settle back into top position, finishing the round pummelling Santos with heavy punches.

Kuniev called Santos in to begin the third, but before the Brazilian could take a forward step, Kuniev put a two-piece in his mush, closed the distance, and used a body lock takedown to put Santos on the canvas. As soon as Kuniev opened up with ground-and-pound, Santos rolled and covered up, prompting referee Mark Smith to quickly step in and stop the fight.

It was a bit of a slow start, but once Kuniev settled in, the talented 28-year-old showed he’s an intriguing potential addition to the heavyweight division.

Official Result: Rizvan Kuniev def. Edivan Santos by TKO (ground and pound) at 1:00 of Round 3

Season 5, Episode 4 Results, Scorecards & More

September 21, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

The fifth season of Dana White’s Contender Series is off to a torrid start, as the first 15 fights have produced three submissions, five knockouts or technical knockouts, a bunch of close, entertaining clashes, and 15 new additions to the UFC roster.

Last week, five of the six victorious fighters got the call to the Octagon, and two of those competitors, middleweight Albert Duraev and light heavyweight Jailton Almeida, have already been penciled in for their promotional debuts, with Duraev facing Roman Kopylov at UFC 267 on October 30, and Almeida taking on Danilo Marques two weeks later.

This week, another group of fighters marched two-by-two into battle inside the APEX, looking to make their UFC dreams a reality by delivering the kind of performances that impressed Dana White and the matchmakers.

Middleweight headliner AJ Dobson closed out the show with the week’s lone finish, submitting Hashem Arkhagha in the first round to earn a call to the Octagon along with three other competitors — lightweight Victor Martinez, flyweight Kleydson Rodrigues, and welterweight Michael Morales — bringing the total number of contracts doled out on Season 5 to 19 through four weeks.

Here’s a look at how the action played out inside the cage.

Contract Winners And Interviews | Dana White’s Contender Series Season 5 Episode 4
Contract Winners And Interviews | Dana White’s Contender Series Season 5 Episode 4
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Hashem Arkhagha vs AJ Dobson

The headliners came out swinging hammers, and it didn’t take long for Dobson to put Arkhagha on the deck, catching him with a wild right hand that knocked him off balance. Dobson settled into top position, working from side control, Arkhagha tying him up, providing few opportunities for the Ohio native to attack before recovering guard.

But Dobson actually had more success from being in Arkhagha’s guard, landing several heavy shots before he kicked free and got back to his feet. Arkhagha sprinted away from Dobson, who gave chase, landing heavy blows, leaving Arkhagha dazed and firing wild, winging punches in return. Stationed in front of his corner, Dobson unloaded with short punches, looking to secure the finish, shifting his game plan and sinking in a no-hooks rear-naked choke to secure the finish.

Just a blistering effort from the unbeaten American middleweight.

Official Result: AJ Dobson def. Hashem Arkhagha by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:21 of Round 1

Michael Morales vs Nikolay Veretennikov

Veretennikov took the center to start and after Morales backed him up with long, wide punches, the Kings MMA product started pressing forward with a little greater sharpness, only for Morales to change levels and secure a body lock, spinning Veretennikov to the fence. The fighter from Kazakhstan defended well, forcing Morales to look to change his approach, resulting in the two separating and moving back into the center of the cage.

Morales continued to be the more aggressive striker of the two, keeping this fight at distance with long attacks before an inadvertent eye poke pressed pause on the action.

Michael Morales punches Nikolay Veretennikov of Kazakhstan in a welterweight bout during Dana White's Contender Series season five week four at UFC APEX on September 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Michael Morales punches Nikolay Veretennikov of Kazakhstan in a welterweight bout during Dana White's Contender Series season five week four at UFC APEX on September 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Resuming with a little over 90 seconds to go in the round, Veretennikov came forward and found a home for a pair of clean punches, prompting Morales to look to wrestle, only to have Veretennikov quickly and easily spin him back into the center of the Octagon. Down the stretch, Veretennikov was the more active of the two, but Morales remained game, continuing to land from range and seemingly frustrate his opponent at times.

Veretennikov came forward again to start the second, but once again, it was Morales who landed the best shots early, connecting with a Superman punch and long-range attacks before changing levels and driving Veretennikov to the canvas. Morales settled into top position inside Veretennikov’s guard, trying to chip away with the Kings MMA fighter looking to tie him up and get a standup from the referee.

After getting told to work, Morales listened, attacking with a series of strikes before dragging Veretennikov back to the mat after he scrambled up to his feet. When Morales got a little loose from top position, Veretennikov scrambled back to his feet, but Morales continued to dominate the action, opening up more with his hands and putting it on his tiring opponent, forcing him to reach for a desperation takedown to avoid the punishing blows coming his way. Morales stuffed the takedown and battered Veretennikov with short shots to either side of his head, drawing a closer look from referee Mark Smith and sending himself into the third in total control.

Morales got right back after it to start the third, landing punches to the head and body as Veretennikov lumbered forward, clearly exhibiting superior freshness and confidence, beginning to showboat and add a little flair to his attack. Two minutes in, Morales pressed forward for a takedown and looked for a throw when he was stuffed, giving Veretennikov an opportunity to work from top position after hitting Morales with a hard knee to the body.

After fending off an armbar attempt, Veretennikov made a mistake and allowed Morales to climb off his back and return to being the aggressor, the two getting into a stalemate while Veretennikov hunted for a takedown against the lengthy fighter from Ecuador. When they got back to a standing position, Morales hit a slick sit-out, depositing Veretennikov on the canvas, hitting a statement throw right before the horn to seal up the victory.

Very impressive effort from the undefeated 21-year-old Morales, who moved to 12-0 with the victory, while bringing Veretennikov’s eight-fight winning streak to an end in the process.

Official Result: Michael Morales def. Nikolay Veretennikov by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Steven Nguyen vs Theo Rlayang

Fighting on the Contender Series for the second time, Nguyen came forward confidently to begin his return to the UFC APEX, closing the distance on Rlayang, pushing forward with punches and kicks, parrying and blocking much of what came back his way. While Rlayang was a little more active, Nguyen continued landing the more impactful blows, picking his spots and making them count throughout the opening round.

Nguyen looked to reclaim the position he held for the entirety of the first five minutes, but Rlayang grabbed a single leg and dumped the Fortis MMA product to the canvas, only for Nguyen to quickly work back to his feet. Once he did, “The Ninja'' got back to advancing, closing the distance and stinging Rlayang with a combination along the fence, but failing to build on it.

 Kleydson Rodrigues of Brazil punches Santo Curatolo in a flyweight bout during Dana White's Contender Series season five week four at UFC APEX on September 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Kleydson Rodrigues of Brazil punches Santo Curatolo in a flyweight bout during Dana White's Contender Series season five week four at UFC APEX on September 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Rlayang timed a beautiful takedown and put Nguyen on the deck, but once again, the more experienced fighter quickly reversed the position, standing up and backing out, allowing Rlayang to get back up and the fight to retake it’s familiar distance and pace. Each time Nguyen looked to press forward behind strikes, he found success, but there was a little lack of urgency there, which allowed Rlayang to continue hanging around and chopping at his lead leg and Michael Bisping to question his approach from the booth.

Nguyen came out a little more aggressive to begin the third, heeding the advice of his coach, Sayif Saud, looking to land with a little more pop and trying to get Rlayang out of there. A low blow paused the action momentarily with just over three minutes remaining in the contest, and when they restarted, it was more of the same, with Nguyen fighting a clean, technical fight, landing the odd sharp blow, but failing to follow up on those punches.

An eye poke paused things again and Nguyen got a stern warning from referee Mike Beltran about his fingers, and when the action resumed, Rlayang cranked up the volume, trying to find a home for something sharp to change the direction of the fight. The action was halted for a third time in the round for a second eye poke, this time Rlayang catching Nguyen, with Beltran deducting a point from Rlayang.

With a minute remaining, Nguyen started opening up a little more, having success with his hands, but as he’d done throughout the fight, he stayed technical and safe, securing the victory without ever really being in any trouble.

It’s a nice rebound effort from Nguyen after his knockout loss in his first Contender Series appearance, but it remains to be seen if it was enough to secure a UFC contract at the end of the night.

Official Result: Steven Nguyen def. Theo Rlayang by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 30-26)

Kleydson Rodrigues vs Santo Curatolo

Rodrigues took the center of the Octagon to start this one, stalking forward while looking significantly bigger than Curatolo, who was content to circle on the outside, bouncing on his feet and moving in a manner reminiscent of his training partner, UFC standout Frankie Edgar. The Brazilian used his height advantage to keep Curatolo on the periphery, attacking with kicks and long punches before springing into a flying knee and crashing forward to close the distance.

Curatolo dealt with the knee without issue and controlled the brief clinch, reversing position along the fence and separating with ease, the duo getting back to their cat-and-mouse striking engagement, with Rodrigues continuing to chip away with kicks and keeping the CFFC standout guessing and largely inactive through the opening five minutes.

SEPTEMBER 21: (R-L) Kleydson Rodrigues of Brazil kicks Santo Curatolo in a flyweight bout during Dana White's Contender Series season five week four at UFC APEX on September 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
SEPTEMBER 21: (R-L) Kleydson Rodrigues of Brazil kicks Santo Curatolo in a flyweight bout during Dana White's Contender Series season five week four at UFC APEX on September 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

It was more of the same out of the gate to start the second, with Rodrigues attacking with kicks to different levels, keeping Curatolo off balance and causing him to switch stances due to the accumulated damage of the inside low kicks to the lead leg. While the Staten Island-based flyweight tried to press forward a couple times, he was just too passive on the outside, and even after finally dragging Rodrigues to the canvas for the first time, the Brazilian was able to quickly get back to the feet and resume his forward attack.

An errant low kick momentarily brought the action to a pause, but it was more of the same when the action resumed, with Rodrigues confidently coming forward, clipping Curatolo with a spinning heel kick and blasting him with a knee up high as the two exited a clinch in the center of the Octagon, sending him into the final round in complete control.

Curatolo got a stern lecture from Sean Santella in his corner between rounds, with “Shorty Rock” imploring his charge to come forward and leave it all in the Octagon, and Curatolo responded initially, hitting Rodrigues with the best shot of the fight early in the round. But Rodrigues resumed dictating the terms of engagement soon after, the variety of kicks and range on his strikes causing Curatolo to hesitate and eat heavy kicks.

Even in the positions where Curatolo would seem to be favored, Rodrigues dominated, attacking well in the clinch with knees and short strikes, before clamping onto a guillotine choke with just over a minute left in the round. Curatolo took it to the ground and popped his head free, but once again, he was unable to control the Brazilian on the canvas, with Rodrigues working back to his feet and cracking the Nick Catone MMA representative with another hard shot on the exit.

This was a complete and impressive effort from the 25-year-old, who pushed his record too 7-1 overall and extended his winning streak to six with a one-sided decision win.

Official Result: Kleydson Rodrigues def. Santo Curatolo by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Jacob Rosales vs Victor Martinez

The lightweights came out of the gate firing, with Martinez catching Rosales almost immediately, prompting the CSW representative to reach for a takedown that wasn’t there. Through the first half of the round, Martinez got the better of the striking exchanges, landing the more telling punches and moving well, while Rosales countered with a steady diet of leg kicks, just missing the mark with his hands.

But things shifted a little in the second half of the opening round, with Rosales initiating a grappling exchange behind a clean right hand, momentarily taking Martinez’ back and looking for a submission opportunity, but coming up empty. Late in the frame, Rosales crashed home a clean one-two that put Martinez on the deck, giving the returning Contender Series competitor a chance to press for a finish before the round ended.

EPTEMBER 21: (L-R) Victor Martinez punches Jacob Rosales in a lightweight bout during Dana White's Contender Series season five week four at UFC APEX on September 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
EPTEMBER 21: (L-R) Victor Martinez punches Jacob Rosales in a lightweight bout during Dana White's Contender Series season five week four at UFC APEX on September 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The one-minute break between the first and second rounds didn’t lessen Rosales’ momentum, as he instantly closed the distance and opened up with his hands, stinging Martinez with combinations and getting the better of the exchanges in space before dragging his foe to the ground with another takedown. Martinez popped back to his feet and circled into space quickly, settling in a little more and starting to steal back the advantage, putting his shots together in combination more and varying his levels as Rosales’ pace slowed and his offerings became more labored.

Late in the frame, Martinez deftly stuffed a takedown attempt along the fence, digging an underhook and working off the fence, moving into space smacking Rosales with a combination to grab the momentum heading into the final round.

In the corner between rounds, Rosales spoke to to his coach Ben Jones about his right hand, while Martinez was urged forward by “The General,” Sayif Saud, with both coming out looking to throw to begin the final five minutes. Rosales clearly wasn’t throwing his right hand and struggled to get in on a takedown attempt, with Martinez slipping out easily and popping home shots throughout the round as the two remained in range of one another, slinging punches.

To his credit, Rosales continued coming forward, offering everything he could with his left hand and mixing in plenty of kicks, while Martinez sniped home individual counters while moving backwards into the final minute. Late in the round, Martinez bashed Rosales with a two-piece that connected flush, closing out the fight with a takedown, the duo drawing a standing ovation from UFC President Dana White once the final horn sounded.

The judges were called upon to render a verdict and when their scores were tallied, it was Martinez who came away with the victory with scores of 29-28 across the board.

Official Result: Victor Martinez def. Jacob Rosales by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Season 5, Episode 3 Results, Scorecards & More

September 14, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

The first two weeks of Season 5 featured nine fights and 10 contracts being awarded, with all nine winners and split decision loser Carlos Candelario being invited to join the UFC roster over the previous pair of Tuesday nights.

With an additional bout this week, the opportunity was there for another record to be established if all the victors once again impressed Dana White and got the call, but that wasn’t the case, as for the first time this season, not everyone that earned a victory was called to the Octagon, although it was close.

Canadian wrestler Jasmine Jasudavicius, former rugby man Jack Della Maddalena, Polish heavyweight Lukasz Brzeski, middleweight mauler Albert Duraev, and light heavyweight Jailton Almeida all got the nod, with former All-American wrestler Mo Miller standing as the only victor left behind, with the UFC President suggesting the Strong Style Fight Team member has the potential to earn a couple more victories and earn a place on the roster in the near future.

With five more contracts being doled out this week, there have been 15 fighters brought on board in 15 fights through three weeks, setting a blistering pace for this season.

Here’s a closer look at how the fights played out.

Jailton Almeida vs Nasrudin Nasrudinov

Much to everyone’s surprise, Almeida was the one to shoot right out of the gate, closing the distance and changing levels, but Nasrudinov quickly reversed the position and put the Brazilian on the canvas, the two locked into a stalemate along the fence. They worked back to their feet and Almeida stayed sticking on Nasrudinov’s waist, powerfully returning him to the canvas and climbing onto his back, sinking in one hook.

Nasrudinov defended well, fighting off the choke attempt, but Almeida continued to remain tight to his body. This time, however, Nasrudinov reversed the position, putting Almeida on his back with two minutes to work. The Brazilian created space, elevating Nasrudinov and chasing a leg lock from his back.

Jailton Almeida reacts after his victory over Nasrudin Nasrudinov in a light heavyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five week three at UFC APEX on September 14 2021 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Jailton Almeida reacts after his victory over Nasrudin Nasrudinov in a light heavyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five week three at UFC APEX on September 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

While there was nothing doing, it did create an opportunity for Almeida to get back to his feet, where Nasrudinov welcomed him with a heavy low kick, only for the Brazilian to again take him down with a beautiful outside trip, finishing the round peppering with shots and searching for yet another takedown.

Seconds into the second round, Almeida again collected Nasrudinov around the waist and put him on the canvas, sinking in one hook and keeping the Russian from spinning by controlling his wrist. He patiently worked to get the sink hook in, fished his arm under the neck, and locked up the choke, leaving Nasrudinov no choice but to tap.

The Brazilian instantly broke down in tears, overjoyed with the victory and what it likely means, closing out the show with a dominant performance and a massive upset win.

Official Result: Jailton Almeida def. Nasrudin Nasrudinov at 1:49 of Round 2

Brandon Lewis vs Mo Miller

Things started out tactical in this one, with Miller stalking forward and Lewis content to work on the outside, looking to attack with low kicks. Because of the height disparity, he struggled to land too many of those kicks as Miller looked to land long range punches before chasing forward, closing the distance and dragging this fight to the floor.

On the canvas, Miller was in complete control, peppering Lewis with short punches before putting his shoulders on the canvas, working from inside his guard for all but the final 10 seconds of the round.

Mo Miller punches Brandon Lewis in a bantamweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five week three at UFC APEX on September 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Mo Miller punches Brandon Lewis in a bantamweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five week three at UFC APEX on September 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Lewis again came out looking to chip away with the low calf kicks, having some success initially before Miller pressed forward and backed him towards the fence. Lewis circled out well and connected with another hard low kick that got Miller’s attention, but the wrestler responded by sticking a sharp jab in Lewis’ mug that busted him up and created an opportunity to wrestle.

Just as he did in the first round, Miller easily put Lewis on the deck and controlled things from top position, keeping the Florida-based fighter stuffed up against the cage, landing sporadic ground-and-pound and not giving Lewis a chance to land anything of substance or get back to his feet.

Lewis worked forward to start the third, pressuring Miller and attacking with those same low kicks, but once again, the former All-American changed levels and continued to work for the takedown, staying with it until he put Lewis’ shoulders on the canvas. Lewis tried to attack from body, but Miller refused to give him any real space to work, keeping Lewis’ hips covered and peppering with short shots from top position.

Brandon Lewis vs Mo Miller Scorecards | Dana White's Contender Series Season 5 Episode 3
Brandon Lewis vs Mo Miller Scorecards | Dana White's Contender Series Season 5 Episode 3

Lewis created space and worked back to his feet with a little over 90 seconds remaining, coming forward and attacking with strikes, only to have Miller drop down, turn the corner, and put him on the canvas one more time, grinding out the final minute from top position.

This was a one-sided, wrestling-heavy showing from Miller, who dominated on the canvas and remains undefeated after sweeping the scorecards. While this wasn’t the most exciting effort of the night, it was a dominant showing from the Strong Style Fight Team representative, but will it be enough to secure him a contract at the end of the night?

Official Result: Mo Miller def. Brandon Lewis by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Albert Duraev vs Caio Bittencourt

Bittencourt came out firing long-range weapons, attacking with low kicks and long strikes, but Duraev took it all and quickly pressed forward, taking Bittencourt to the canvas. While the Brazilian tried to work free, Duraev was able to keep him on the canvas, climbing into mount before wrapping up wrist control and bombarding Bittencourt with a steady stream of short, persistent punches.

Try as he might to build his way back to his feet, Bittencourt could not get there and Duraev switched gears, clamping onto a neck crank, flattening the Brazilian out and collecting the tap.

Albert Duraev celebrates his victory over Caio Bittencourt on Dana White's Contender Series Season 5 Episode 3
Albert Duraev celebrates his victory over Caio Bittencourt on Dana White's Contender Series Season 5 Episode 3

From there, the 32-year-old Xtreme Couture representative went and had a little chat with Dana White, asking the UFC President if he liked the performance (he did) and telling him he’d smash anyone in the division.

Just a dominant effort from Duraev from start to finish, all three-and-a-half minutes of it.

Official Result: Albert Duraev def. Ciao Bittencourt by submission (neck crank) at 3:29 of Round 1

Lukasz Brzeski vs Dylan Potter

There was no feeling out process with the heavyweights, as Potter came forward to get in Brzeski’s face right out of the chute, only to have the Polish fighter respond with a pair of heavy leg kicks. They continued slinging at one another in bunches for the next minute before the early energy waned a little and the output slowed.

Just ahead of the two minute mark, Brzeski put Potter on the deck with an outside low kick, crowding him along the fence and working from top position, attacking with punches and elbows while easily avoiding an armbar attempt. Potter hit a nifty reversal off the fence, kicking off the wall to escape over the back of Brzeski and get back to his feet with roughly 90 seconds remaining in the round, with the pace slowing dramatically, Brzeski landing the significantly better blows, but also showing signs of fatigue as the horn sounded.

Lukasz Brzeski submits Dylan Potter on Dana White's Contender Series Season 5, Episode 3
Lukasz Brzeski submits Dylan Potter on Dana White's Contender Series Season 5, Episode 3

Brzeski went right back to the calf kick to start the second, prompting Potter to fire back wildly, with the striking getting a little sloppy. The Polish heavyweight closed the distance and initiated the clinch, but wasn’t able to do anything with it, as Potter worked free into space without taking any damage. Though he appeared to be the fresher, looser man, Potter couldn’t land any real significant offense, prompting Brzeski to again push forward and unload combinations, forcing the American to cover up along the fence.

Midway through the round, Brzeski forcibly slammed Potter to the canvas from a body lock, quickly climbing into a mounted crucifix position and attacking with elbows. While Potter was able to escape the trapped position, he remained turtled on the canvas, with Brzeski attacking with short punches for the remainder of the round.

Brzeski started the third with another low kick before backing Potter up with punches, returning to the same position along the fence where he finished the second, only for Potter to work his way free and into space. While Brzeski was clearly tired, he continued pressing forward and throwing, taking the fight to the wilting American, who showed a ton of grit and heart, but little in the way of effective offense.

Lukasz Brzeski vs Dylan Potter Scorecards | Dana White's Contender Series Season 5, Episode 3
Lukasz Brzeski vs Dylan Potter Scorecards | Dana White's Contender Series Season 5, Episode 3

With two minutes remaining, Brzeski dumped Potter to the canvas with an easy takedown, attacking with a no-hooks rear-naked choke. After readjusting his positioning, Brzeski attacked the choke again and the fight was halted.

Potter questioned why the fight was halted, saying he never tapped, and replays showed he was likely trying to peel Brzeski’s arm away.

While the finish may have been hurried, the final outcome was never in doubt, as Brzeski dominated the contest and was headed towards a victory.

Official Result: Lukasz Brzeski def. Dylan Potter by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:51 of Round 3

Ange Loosa vs Jack Della Maddalena

Right out of the gate, Loosa came forward, pumping the jab and landing outside low kicks, trying to get in rhythm quickly against the traditionally slow starting Australian. Following a frantic scramble where both men performed well, Della Maddalena began getting loose with his hands, landing a right hand to the side of the head that wobbled Loosa a little.

Once he started throwing, Della Maddalena controlled the remainder of the frame, switching stances, mixing his strikes, and catching Loosa with interrupting shots that kept the Sanford MMA representative from being able to settle in and land with frequency, forcing him to settle for single head shots that rarely found a home.

Jack Della Maddalena elbows Ange Loose in their Dana White's Contender Series bout on Season 5 Episode 3.
Jack Della Maddalena elbows Ange Loose in their Dana White's Contender Series bout on Season 5 Episode 3.

The crispness and cleanness of Della Maddalena’s strikes was on display early in the second as he put together a series of shots that stung Loosa, prompting a “that didn’t hurt me” head shake from the Switzerland native, a telltale sign that it did indeed hurt. The former rugby man continued pressing forward behind his hands, finding additional success before the fight was paused due to an inadvertent knee below the belt, earning Della Maddalena a warning and Loosa a chance to shake it off.

Restarted with roughly half the round remaining, Della Maddalena again connected in combination, peppering Loosa as they stood in close range of one another. But Della Maddalena slipped in the center of the cage and Loosa capitalized, chasing him to the canvas and locking up a deep arm triangle choke, forcing the Aussie to defend and work his way free, timing his explosion and scramble perfectly. Back on the feet for the final stretch of the round, Della Maddalena began throwing lead elbows, clipping Loosa with a pair right before the horn.

Taking the center to begin the third, Della Maddalena again started by picking at Loosa, defending an early takedown shot to keep the action on the feet. As it had been throughout the contest, Della Maddalena continued to throw and land combinations, snapping home punches with much greater frequency than Loosa, mixing in a takedown attempt just to keep his foe off balance.

Fighting in the third round for the first time in his career, Della Maddalena began to slow and Loosa started having a little more success, only to have the Australian dig deep and begin upping his output once again. Late in the round, Loosa changed levels and drove through a takedown attempt, putting Della Maddalena on his back, only to have the Perth native show more urgency and aggressive before working his way back to his feet. Down the stretch, Della Maddalena closed it out by throwing more volume, taking it to the bloodied Loosa through the horn.

For the second time this week, the judges were called upon to declare the winner and all three saw it the same way, awarding Della Maddalena a clean sweep of the scorecards.

Official Result: Jack Della Maddalena def. Ange Loosa by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) 

Jasmine Jasudavicius vs Julia Polastri

The size difference between Jasudavicius and Polastri was apparent as soon as they walked out to the center to start the fight and came into play early as the Canadian patiently worked into the clinch and put Polastri on the deck. Once it got there, Jasudavicus never allowed the Brazilian to return to her feet, battering Polastri from top position, climbing to mount and opening up down the stretch with punches and elbows that made referee Mark Smith come in for a closer look.

Polastri came out of the corner throwing, catching Jasudavicius with a clean left hand and a high kick early in the second round, only to walk into a body lock that allowed the Niagara Falls native to take the fight to the ground. This time, Jasudavicius couldn’t find a way in and Polsatri got back to her feet, opening up with strikes again and calling Jasudavicius in. The Canadian obliged, changing levels and taking the fight to the canvas once more, only for Polastri to again work her way back up, with the two engaging in the clinch along the fence.

Jasudavicius vs Polastri Scorecards | Dana White's Contender Series Season 5 Episode 3
Jasudavicius vs Polastri Scorecards | Dana White's Contender Series Season 5 Episode 3

Jasudavicius controlled the action in close, logging knees to the midsection and forcing Polastri to carry her weight along the cage, but as they moved into space, the Brazilian again had success, sniping at the former CFFC title challenger, diversifying her strikes, and connecting with more than a couple solid blows prior to the end of the second.

Polastri continued walking down Jasudavicius and putting it on the Canadian to start the third, forcing her to move backwards while connecting with several solid shots as Jasudavicius’ energy bar continued to slide towards zero. Emboldened by her success, Polastri got a little over-confident and careless late in the round, allowing Jasudavicius to change levels and drive through a takedown, working to half guard and attacking with elbows, finishing the round and the fight in dominant fashion.

After the tens and nines were tallied, the judges all saw the fight the same way, awarding Jasudavicius the unanimous decision victory. With the win, the Canadian advances to 6-1, while Polastri falls to 8-3 with the loss. 

Official Result: Jasmine Jasudavicius def. Julie Polastri by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)

Contract Winners And Interviews | Dana White’s Contender Series Season 5 Episode 2
Contract Winners And Interviews | Dana White’s Contender Series Season 5 Episode 2
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Season 5, Episode 2 Results, Scorecards & More

September 7, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

One week into the fifth season of Dana White’s Contender Series and there has already been an historic moment and a highlight reel knockout, with the UFC President awarding the first-ever contract to a losing fighter and AJ Fletcher kicking off this year with a first-round flying knee finish last Tuesday on the opener.

While the bar for this week’s second event of the season was set exceptionally high, the strong collection of athletes assembled in Las Vegas this evening did their best to reach those heights, combining to deliver five exciting bouts that produced another collection of contract winners with intriguing upside headed to the UFC roster.

After handing out five contracts to open the season, White brought five more fighters into the fold on Tuesday night, bringing all five victorious talents into the fold.

Opening fight underdog Chad Anheliger, flyweight finisher CJ Vergara, hardened Brazilian Saimon Oliveira, veteran Chidi Njokuani, and unbeaten welterweight Josh Quinlan all got the call, upping the roster count in five different divisions by one, and bringing the season total to 10 already.

Here’s how the action played out on Tuesday night.

Logan Urban vs Josh Quinlan

Urban took the center of the cage to start, Quinlan content to stay on the outside and look for an opening. When he stepped in to close the distance, the Hawaiian blasted the short-notice replacement with a hellacious right hand, putting Urban on rubber legs.

Dana White's Contender Series Season 5 Episode 2 (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Josh Quinlan gets it done on DWCS (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

While the Ohio native stayed upright, Quinlan chased him down and continued throwing, blasting him with a series of right hands, chopping Urban down a little more with each blow, prompting referee Mike Beltran to jump in and stop the fight.

What an absolutely brilliant showing from Josh Quinlan!

Official Result: Josh Quinlan def. Logan Urban by TKO (strikes) at 0:47 of Round 1

Mario Sousa vs Chidi Njokuani

The middleweights traded kicks at range early, each man making reads, taking their time to begin the contest, Sousa landing hard to the outside of the lead leg twice. They continued trading kicks for the next minute, with Sousa finally closing the distance after Njokuani slipped on the canvas, only to have the long-time veteran take the control position on the fence.

As they battled in the clinch, Sousa connected with a flush knee below the belt, pausing the action. Njokuani wisely took several minutes to recover, refusing to rush back into the fray while compromised, with referee Herb Dean giving Sousa a hard warning for the foul.

They touched gloves and the fight restarted with roughly half of the round remaining, the kick-heavy chess match continuing briefly before Sousa pressed forward, resulting in a scramble. Njokuani landed in the control position on the fence and Sousa once again landed low, halting the action again.

Njokuani again took his time recovering, and Dean took a point from Sousa for the second illegal blow. They restarted once more with just over a minute remaining, with Sousa showing a little more urgency with his hands, with Njokuani sniping clean counters, prompting the Brazilian to initiate the clinch and pull guard, giving Njokuani the opportunity to work from top position through to the horn.

Njokuani on Dana White's Contender Series Season 5 Episode 2 (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Njokuani celebrates the big win on DWCS (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Njokuani came forward to start the second, and when Sousa looked to rush forward and throw, the veteran connected with a counter strike that stopped him in his tracks. Clinched along the fence, Njokuani landed at will inside, mixing in knees to the body and strikes to the head as Sousa looked to work free. The Brazilian changed levels and looked for a takedown, dragging Njokuani to the canvas, but the Texas native quickly reversed position, attacking from inside Sousa’s guard.

While Sousa tried to look for openings, Njokuani flowed with him, battering the Brazilian with elbows and punches from top position. As Sousa tried to control wrists, Njokuani happily banged home more elbows, avoiding every small opening the Brazilian manufactured, floating through scrambles and punishing Sousa all the while.

Njokuani walked down Sousa to start the third, grabbing the Thai clinch and felling the Brazilian with a knee to the midsection, following him to the canvas and resuming the offensive onslaught he delivered to close the second round.

Working in front of his corner, Njokuani poured on the pressure, forcing Sousa to cover up and Dean to stop the fight.

Just a tremendous all-around effort from the veteran middleweight to get the stoppage, pushing his record to 20-7 in the process.

Official Result: Chidi Njokuani def. Mario Sousa by TKO (strikes) at 1:35 of Round 3

Saimon Oliveira vs Jose Alday

Oliveira opened up with kicks and a spinning backfist attempt, coming forward and offering offense as Alday happily waited to counter and figure out his timing. That paid off just a few ticks after the first minute, as Alday cracked Oliveira with a clean combination, prompting the Brazilian to look to respond and the pace of the contest to quicken.

Oliveira continued to look for kicks and spinning attacks, coming up empty on the spins each time, but it allowed him to get inside and elevate Alday to the canvas, landing in top position midway through the round. Oliveira patiently worked to side control and looked to establish position to attack an arm-triangle choke, but ran out of time before the horn sounded.

The Brazilian again offered a spinning attack and missed, creating an opportunity for Alday to land a solid punch in return, following it with a digging uppercut to the midsection. Oliveira looked for a takedown, but the Mexican veteran stuffed it and reversed him into the fence, the duo trading knees in the clinch.

They broke into space with three minutes remaining in the round and resumed throwing big shots at each other, with Alday landing clean and Oliveira responding in kind. A low kick knocked Oliveira off balance and he missed another spin, but still managed to chase down Alday and initiate the clinch, only to have the position reversed. Back in space again, Alday chopped at the lead leg once more and landed a clean left hand, only for Oliveira to return fire again, keeping things close between the warring bantamweights heading into the final round.

Dana White's Contender Series Official Scorecard Season 5 Episode 2 (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Oliveira started the third with a flying knee attempt that fell short and the two started slugging it out, firing hammers in close quarters, with the Brazilian connecting with a straight right hand and stunning Alday. Surprisingly, Oliveira took the fight to the canvas, landing in Alday’s guard, providing the Mexican fighter a chance to recover before trying to work back to his feet.

Two minutes in, Alday got back to his feet and they broke into space with half of the round remaining. Alday called Oliveira in and the Brazilian obliged, driving through a takedown and putting him on the canvas in the center of the cage. Once again, the action on the ground was limited, with Oliveira looking to pass and Alday simply trying to tie him up and stall.

Back up with 30 seconds remaining, Oliveira called Alday in and hit him with two good shots, with the Mexican veteran looking to respond at the horn, sending the decision to the judges.

When the tens and nines were tallied, the officials were once again split, with two of the three seeing things for Oliveira.

Official Result: Saimon Oliveira def. Jose Alday by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

CJ Vergara vs Bruno Korea

Vergara came out pressuring Korea right away, clipping him with a right hook out of the chute that got the Brazilian’s attention, and he never let off the gas. He continued pressing forward behind his hands, forcing Korea to look to clinch, and as they started to break apart, Vergara buried a knee into Korea’s midsection, folding the former Ultimate Fighter contestant over in pain, bringing the fight to an immediate halt.

CCJ Vergara on Dana White's Contender Series Official Scorecard Season 5 Episode 2
CJ Vergara celebrates his win on Dana White's Contender Series Season 5, Episode 2 (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Just a beautiful performance from the Pete Spratt protege against a talented, experienced opponent.

Official Result: CJ Vergara def. Bruno Korea by TKO (knee to the body) at 0:41 of Round 1

Muin Gafurov vs Chad Anheliger

It took all of 30 seconds for Gafurov to change levels and drive through a takedown, putting Anheliger on his backside in the center of the Octagon. Though he worked his way to the fence and tried to stand, Gafurov stayed sticky and returned the Canadian to the canvas, climbing on his back and sinking in his hooks.

While Anheliger looked to scramble, Gafurov continued to stay with him, floating through every transition through the opening half of the round. As they continued to grapple, Anheliger worked his way to top position, landing in side control before they stood and reset with two minutes remaining in the round.

Back on the feet, Anheliger dropped the Tajik fighter with a knee up the middle, continuing to throw offense from top position while Gafurov looked to recover and remain active off his back. Gafurov recovered and they ended the frame battling along the fence, the momentum shifting into Anheliger’s favor heading into the second round.

Early in the second, Anheliger attacked with low kicks, taking Gafurov off balance and prompting the grappler to shoot for a takedown. While “The Monster” grabbed onto a guillotine, he couldn’t lock it down, resulting in Gafurov landing heavy punches from top position. Anheliger threw up an armbar attempt that resulted in a scramble, but Gafurov remained tight on his back, grabbing a waist lock as they battled along the fence, kicking out Anheliger’s foot and climbing on his back as they hit the canvas.

Dana White's Contender Series Official Scorecard Season 5 Episode 2

Anheliger swiftly reversed position and allowed Gafurov to get back to his feet, hitting him with a sharp elbow. As they traded along the fence, an errant knee from Gafurov landed low, prompting a pause in the action and a stern warning from referee Mike Beltran.

Restarted with two minutes remaining in the round, they went right back into the clinch, with Gafurov elevating Anheliger and depositing him on the canvas, settling into half guard, spending the rest of the round stationed in the position with Gafurov finishing the round with a little ground-and-pound.

Gafurov began the third closing the distance behind an overhand right, getting in on Anheliger’s hips, searching for a takedown, only for the Canadian to defend and break free into space. Stationed on the Howler Head logo in the center of the Octagon, Anheliger picked at Gafurov with strikes, prompting the Tajik fighter to close the distance. Once more, Anheliger stuffed the takedown and sniped from range, resulting in another level change and takedown attempt from Gafurov.

Anheliger again stayed upright and broke free, connecting with shots in space and landing in top position after a sloppy clinch attempt from Gafurov with 90 seconds remaining in the fight. As they got back to their feet, it was Gafurov who let loose a clean left hand while looking to close the distance, but Anheliger wore it well, with the two men trading punches through to the final horn.

This was a solid scrap to start the night and a closely contested battle, with the judges being tasked with determining the victor. When the scores were tallied, it was Anheliger that came out on the happy side of the split decision verdict, extending his unbeaten streak to nine in the process.

Official Result: Chad Anheliger def. Muin Gafurov by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Season 5, Episode 1 Results, Scorecards & More

August 31, 2021 | UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada

Through four seasons, Dana White’s Contender Series has been a goldmine of new talent for the promotion, both inside and outside of the Octagon.

In addition to graduating 127 competitors to the UFC over those course of the past four years, the Tuesday night staple has also been where current broadcast staples Brendan Fitzgerald, Paul Felder, Michael Bisping, and Laura Sanko cut their teeth on UFC airwaves, going from hopefuls to fixtures the same way standouts like Geoff Neal, Alex Perez, and Sean O’Malley have parlayed Contender Series success into huge opportunities inside the Octagon.

This evening, another season of action got underway inside the UFC APEX, with four pairs of fighters squaring off in hopes of joining Alonzo Menifield, Punahele Soriano, Dustin Jacoby, and Uros Medic as competitors to secure contracts on the opening night of a new season.

Following the completion of this season’s first four fights, UFC President Dana White reviewed the action and started handing out contracts, making history in the opening event of the season.

White awarded contracts to both Victor Altamirano and Carlos Candelario, praising the former’s sense of urgency in the third round and the latter’s effort after taking the bout on two weeks' notice. In doing so, Candelario becomes the first fighter to earn a contract despite not earning a victory.

In addition to the flyweight combatants, White handed contracts to each of the three additional winners — welterweight AJ Fletcher, featherweight Joanderson Brito, and light heavyweight Azamat Murzakanov.

It’s a big start to the new season with five fighters joining the UFC roster this evening.

Here’s a look at what transpired inside the Octagon.

Matheus Scheffel vs Azamat Murzakanov

 

Headliners Matheus Scheffel and Azamat Murzakanov took a little time to feel each other out in the opening round of this season’s first main event, with the orthodox versus southpaw matchup and power of both men keeping them tentative.

But as the round progressed, Murzakanov started getting closer with each reaching left power shot, and as he backed the Brazilian into the fence midway through the round, “The Professional” finally connected clean, dropping Scheffel in a heap and ending the fight in a flash.

Azamat Murzakanov of Russia reacts after his knockout victory over Matheus Scheffel of Brazil in their light heavyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five week one at UFC APEX on August 31, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Azamat Murzakanov of Russia reacts after his knockout victory over Matheus Scheffel of Brazil in their light heavyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five week one at UFC APEX on August 31, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris U

This was a blistering finish for the 32-year-old Russian, who was forced to withdraw from a UFC assignment in the spring of 2016, which ended up creating Dominick Reyes’ opportunity to enter the Octagon for the first time. Having now run his winning streak to 10 after closing out the show with a flash, there is a good chance Murzakanov will get another chance to make the walk to the Octagon for the first time in the not too distant future.

Official Result: Azamat Murazkanov def. Matheus Scheffel by TKO (punches) at 3:00 of Round 1

Joanderson Brito vs Diego Lopes

It took Joanderson Brito four seconds to press forward and gather up Diego Lopes, dumping him to the canvas and controlling him on the mat for the opening two minutes of their featherweight contest, peppering Lopes with heavy elbows and a handful of heavy body shots in the process. But the talented Lopes wasn’t at all bothered, working to shift his hips and position himself to attack an armbar, lacing up the arm and forcing Brito to defend.

After breaking free and returning to the center of the Octagon, the Brazilians got after it on the feet, slinging hard shots, with both men landing at times, setting the stage for an exciting second round.

They wasted no time getting after it to begin the middle frame, with Brito serving as the aggressor, only to get stuck in a tight guillotine choke. Lopes looked to have the hold locked in, but Brito managed to extract his neck, and when he did, he unloaded from top position, connecting with some nasty blows. Once again, Lopes countered by hunting submissions, first attacking a leg in transition before chasing an anaconda choke, neither of which were particularly close, but each of which forced Brito to slow his offensive output momentarily, only for the streaking 26-year-old to return to top position and continue to bomb away on Lopes, before the LUX Fight League champ chased a kneebar in the closing moments of the round.

Dana White's Contender Series Season 5, Episode 1 - Brito vs Lopes
Dana White's Contender Series Season 5, Episode 1 - Brito vs Lopes

Ten seconds into the final round, Brito extended his finger in Lopes’ eye, bringing the action to a halt. The doctor came in to speak with Lopes, who relayed that he was having problem seeing out of both eyes, and the bout was ultimately waved off.

Brito had been warned by referee Chris Tognoni on multiple occasions earlier in the bout, and a point was deducted even after the fight was halted, as the round needed to be scored in order to determine the final decision.

Lopes was understandably heartbroken with the way the fight ended, fighting off tears as the fighters awaited the verdict. Brito emerged with the decision win, but he was none too excited either, disappointed that he wasn’t able to finish the contest the way he had hoped.

Official Result: Joanderson Brito def. Diego Lopes by technical unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Victor Altamirano vs Carlos Candelario

Flyweights Victor Altamirano and Carlos Candelario started at a good clip and never let off the gas, meeting in the center and letting loose with their weapons instantly, with Candelario quickly taking control of the action in the first. While Altamirano landed a couple sharp low kicks, the returning Season 1 alum mixed things up well, stinging the 30-year-old LFA champ with a few sharp punches and successfully bringing the fight to the canvas on multiple occasions, getting off some good ground-and-pound from top position.

The pace slowed a little early in the second and Altamirano was more successful defending takedowns to start. But a clean left hand served as a tremendous entrance opportunity for Candelario, who worked hard to get Altamirano on the deck and control him on the canvas for an extended stretch. Once they got back to their feet, Altamirano showed a little more urgency and finished the frame with a throw, heading into the third having finally gathering some momentum.

Dana White's Contender Series Season 5, Episode 1 - Altamirano vs Candelario Scorecareds
Dana White's Contender Series Season 5, Episode 1 - Altamirano vs Candelario Scorecareds

In the final stanza, Altamirano was the aggressor, getting off with his strikes far more than he did in the first two rounds as Candelario’s output waned and energy stores ran low. Though he wasn’t able to secure a finish, the 30-year-old clearly won the frame, sending the decision to the judges.

When the tens and nines were tallied, the judges were split, with Altamirano coming away on the happy side of the verdict. With the win, the LFA titleholder advances to 10-1 overall, while Candelario moves to 8-1 and falls from the ranks of the unbeaten.

Official Result: Victor Altamirano def. Carlos Candelario by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Leonardo Damiani vs AJ Fletcher

AJ Fletcher got the season off to an explosive start, setting the bar for the best knockout of the season extremely high as he laid out Leonardo Damiani with a flying knee knockout midway through the opening round.

AJ Fletcher reacts after his knockout victory over Leonardo Damiani of Italy in their welterweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five week one at UFC APEX on August 31, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
AJ Fletcher reacts after his knockout victory over Leonardo Damiani of Italy in their welterweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season five week one at UFC APEX on August 31, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The welterweight hopefuls got after it right out of the gate, meeting in the center of the Octagon and swinging heavy leather immediately, skipping the entire feeling out process. After settling in a little and chopping at Damiani’s lead leg with a couple heavy calf kicks, Fletcher showed the range of his skill set, dropping down for a perfectly timed takedown that put the Italian on the deck.

While Damiani worked his way back to his feet, he remained with his back against the fence, and Fletcher capitalized, landing a picturesque flying knee. Damiani dropped in a heap and Fletcher erupted in celebration, closing out the first fight of the season in memorable fashion.

Official Result: AJ Fletcher def. Leonardo Damiani by KO (flying knee) at 2:24 of Round 1