Contracts given =
After three more contracts were handed out last week to bring the total for Season two to 15 (with a couple developmental deals mixed in), the five sets of combatants that hit the cage Tuesday on the penultimate Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series card of the season had to be champing at the bit to step into the cage and put on a show in hopes of impressing the UFC brass and joining that stream of talent moving to the UFC roster.
Tuesday’s fight card offered up a first for the series, as it featured not one, but two heavyweight clashes, with a middleweight and featherweight fight sandwiched in between and a lightweight contest closing out the evening.
It was another night of electric performances, with all five contests ending inside the distance, including a trio of first-round stoppages, leaving UFC President Dana White and the matchmakers with more difficult decisions to make.
For the second time this season, White announced that four of the five winners would be making their way to the UFC, prompting an on-air apology to matchmaker Sean Shelby. Heavyweight Juan Adams, middleweight Ian Heinisch and lightweight Roosevelt Roberts got the call, with White adding a contract for Jordan Griffin on the spot after watching the highlights before announcing the contract winners.
It’s been a wild ride all season long and tonight was no different.
Here’s a look at how everything played out.
ROOSEVELT ROBERTS vs. GARRETT GROSS
It was an unbeaten prospect against a regional veteran in this week’s main event as California’s Roberts put his unblemished record on the line against 18-fight vet Gross in the lightweight headliner.
Jason Herzog with the main event assignment this week.
A big right hand over the top from Roberts forces Gross to dip his head and Roberts tries to latch on to a guillotine right away. Gross escapes and presses him into the fence. Roberts reverses along the fence, drops for a takedown and off-balances Gross before slamming him to the canvas. Short shots inside from Roberts and now a left elbow lands.
Roberts controls the posture of Gross, scores with an elbow and hunts for the neck. More short punches land for Roberts and he’s shutting Gross down on the ground. He gets back to his feet and Roberts puts him back down right away. Roberts stands, passes the legs and lands in side control before climbing into half guard on the other side. Short shots land and Roberts dives on the neck once more as the round winds down.
Inside low kick to start for Gross and he lands a couple clean punches behind it. He clinches with Roberts and gets dumped to the ground as Roberts hits a nice knee tap, landing in half guard. Roberts moves to side control and into mount effortlessly. Roberts traps Gross’ arm and unloads elbows, pinning him back to the mat as he tries to buck and work to his feet. More punches follow, Gross gives up his back and Roberts quickly laces up the choke.
Official Result: Roosevelt Roberts def. Garrett Gross by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:13 of Round 2
DON’TALE MAYES vs. MITCHELL SIPE
Mayes returned to the Contender Series for a second time after losing to Allen Crowder last season, hoping to join Alonzo Menifield, Bevon Lewis and Jordan Espinoza as returning competitors who punched their ticket to the Octagon on Season 2. Standing in his way was Sipe, an unbeaten and ambitious 22-year-old from Bakersfield, California.
Mark Smith in with the heavyweights for the second time this evening.
Sipe comes out wild, swinging for the fences right out of the chute. They butt heads, which wobbles Sipe, prompting him to wrestle. A body kick for Sipe lands, countered by a left hook by Mayes. A step in elbow from Mayes lands and he follows with a wild flying attempt that opens the door for Sipe to finish a takedown and land in half guard. He works to side control and as Mayes stands, you can see he’s got a gash above his left eye.
They clash heads again as Sipe looks to get inside and he spins Mayes to the fence. A knee to the body from Sipe and he lands a high kick. Another clash of heads as they close the distance and both are bloody as a result. “Hapa” elbows from Mayes along the fence as Sipe holds on to the clinch through the horn.
Sipe comes out aggressively to start the second, landing a body kick and winging punches. Mayes reaching for big shots and Sipe countering with his own, but neither can connect. Clinched along the fence, Sipe looks tired as Mayes circles out into space. A lead right hand over the top for Sipe lands, but not a lot on it. Sipe now with a massive gash over his right eye and there is a ton of blood.
Smith calls time and the doctor is in to check it out. The placement isn’t terrible, but it’s deep and leaking like a faucet. Replays show it came from a short, step-in elbow that immediately started streaming crimson.
Back on, Sipe kicks low and lands a right to the body. A short uppercut from Mayes hurts Sipe and Mayes pounces, landing punches until he rolls Sipe to his back. Big shots with little power from Mayes prompt Smith to look closer at the action and the blood is just pouring out of the side of Sipe’s head. Mayes keeps raining down blows and Smith finally steps in to wave it off.
What a bloodbath.
Official Result: Don’Tale Mayes def. Mitchell Sipe by TKO (strikes) at 4:49 of Round 2
IAN HEINISCH vs. JUSTIN SUMTER
A battle of standout middleweight prospects manned the middle of this week’s fight card, with the interim LFA champ Heinisch throwing down with Nick Newell’s teammate at Fighting Arts Academy Sumter, who entered on a six-fight winning streak.
Jason Herzog with the refereeing assignment.
Sumter searching for the takedown right out of the gate, but Heinisch avoids it easily. Long lead right scores for Sumter. Heinisch jumps in with a flying knee, but misses, leading to Sumter taking him down. Heinisch fishing for a guillotine, but that’s not there either and now he’s on his back, pressed up against the fence. Sumter throwing short punches and Heinisch hunting for an arm, Sumter escapes and takes his back as the LFA veteran looks to stand. As Sumter looked to roll, Heinisch reversed the position, landing on top in guard. Two minutes left, Sumter with a body triangle from the bottom and Heinisch hits a couple big elbows over the top. Two more follow and Sumter is out.
Official Result: Ian Heinisch def. Justin Sumter by KO (elbows) at 3:37 of Round 1
JORDAN GRIFFIN vs. MAURICE MITCHELL
Seasoned competitors from standout teams squared off in the second bout of the night as Team Alpha Male product Maurice Mitchell locked up with Roufusport representative Jordan Griffin in an intriguing featherweight showdown.
Jason Herzog chaperoned the fighters in this one.
Griffin out southpaw, Mitchell orthodox as we open. A flurry to start from Griffin, countered by a body kick from Mitchell that connected. A left hand from Griffin knocked Mitchell’s mouthpiece flying, but he ate the shot, responding with a pair of kicks, one inside low and the other high. A right hook from Griffin scores as Mitchell looked to close the distance. A straight right from Mitchell backs up Griffin and he scores with an elbow as he breaks off the cage.
Griffin dives in for a takedown and Mitchell snatches up a D’Arce choke, but the Roufusport product climbs the fence with his feet to walk his way out. A right hand and another kick to the body connect for Mitchell, who seems to be getting Griffin’s timing, but as he circled out into space, a left hand clipped him and sent him to the canvas. Griffin chased in and clamped on a deep rear-naked choke, forcing Mitchell to tap right away.
Official Result: Jordan Griffin def. Maurice Mitchell by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:57 of Round 1
JUAN ADAMS vs. SHAWN TEED
Big boys looking to burst onto the UFC roster got things started as “The Kraken,” Juan Adams, put his 3-0 record on the line against Jersey-based heavyweight Shawn Teed, whose lone career setback came against Contenders Series alum Zu Anyanwu in his fourth professional appearance.
Mark Smith was in the cage with the heavyweights.
Teed out quickly, connecting with a right hand, but Adams quickly started walking him down and landing with clean shots of his own that had Teed searching for the clinch. After eating a series of big shots while hunting for a takedown along the cage, Teed pulled guard and started hunting for a heel hook, but Adams eventually rolled free, moved to side control and started unloading heavy shots once again.
As Teed tried to get back to his feet, Adams continued to rain down blows, forcing Smith in to take a closer look. With just under a minute left in the frame, Adams moved to mount and secured the finish, thumping home massive shots from top position, completing a thoroughly impressive performance to open the show.
Official Result: Juan Adams def. Shawn Teed by TKO (punches) at 4:17 of Round 1