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Dana White's Contender Series

Season 5, Week 5 Preview | Dana White's Contender Series

This Week's Slate Of Fighters Taking Their Shot At UFC Glory

Four weeks into the fifth season on Dana White’s Contender Series, there have already been more contracts handed out this season (19) than there were during the entire eight-week first season, and at this rate, last season’s record number of contracts (37) will be eclipsed long before the season finale on November 2.

Getting a finish is still a sure-fire way to get UFC President Dana White’s attention, as each of the nine athletes that have collected stoppage wins this season have all been called to the Octagon, including last week’s lone finisher, Ohio-based middleweight AJ Dobson, but there have been an increased number of competitors that have posted dominant or hard-fought decision wins that have earned a spot on the UFC roster as well, including impressive young welterweight Michael Morales of Ecuador, Brazilians Joanderson Brito and Saimon Oliveira, and battle-tested Canadian Chad Anheliger.

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This week, another five pairs of hopefuls head into the eight-sided proving ground inside the UFC APEX with designs on impressing the UFC brass and getting the chance to compete in the Octagon in the future.

Here’s a look at the lineup for Week 5 on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Lukasz Sudolski vs. Igor Potieria

Promising European prospects Lukasz Sudolski and Igor Potieria square off in this week’s main event clash in the light heavyweight division.

Undefeated in eight professional fights, Poland’s Sudolski arrives in Las Vegas following a 13-seconds stoppage win in his last appearance, a catchweight bout last November in the Babilon MMA promotion. The 28-year-old has finished six of his eight career wins, with five of those stoppages coming in the first round, and he will be an intriguing prospect to track as he moves down to light heavyweight for the first time.

The 25-year-old Potieria enters on a 14-fight winning streak, looking to secure his third win of the year on Tuesday night. A pro since 2015, Potieria has bounced between weight classes over the years, but it hasn’t impeded his progress, as he’s been consistently stacking up victories since beginning his career with a 3-2 mark.

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Both men have good size for the division and solid resumes, so it will be interesting to see how well they adjust to competing under the bright lights of the APEX with Dana White and the UFC matchmakers looking on intently. Finding emerging talent in the light heavyweight division is always a little tougher than in most weight classes, so a strong showing from either man could certainly result in a chance to compete in the Octagon in the future.

Aaron Jeffrey vs. Caio Borralho

Caio Borralho vs Aaron Jeffery Preview | Dana White's Contender Series, Season 5 Episode 5
Caio Borralho vs Aaron Jeffery Preview | Dana White's Contender Series, Season 5 Episode 5
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Canadian Aaron Jeffrey makes his return to Dana White’s Contender Series, stepping into the cage against streaking Brazilian Caio Borralho for a middleweight scrap in the middle of this week’s five-fight card.

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The man with arguably the best mullet in MMA is 4-0 since his loss to Brendan Allen on Season 3 of the weekly talent-search series, earning three finishes and entering off back-to-back wins over TUF 29 alum Andre Petroski and DWCS winner Collin Huckbody. He’s been stationed at Syndicate MMA for the last four months and change, logging rounds with rising UFC contender Sean Strickland (amongst others) and stands as one of the top unsigned talents in North America heading into this one.

Borralho arrives at the UFC APEX having won five straight and unbeaten in his last eight appearances, most recently claiming the vacant Future MMA middleweight title with a unanimous decision win over Wildemar Santos last October. The 28-year-old has a little more experience than Jeffery, but hasn’t faced the same level of competition, so it will be interesting to see how he matches up with his more established Canadian foe on Tuesday night.

Returning fighters are 0-2 so far this season on the Contender Series. Will Jeffery buck the trend or will Borralho hand him another defeat?

Lucas Almeida vs. Daniel Zellhuber

Lucas Almeida vs Daniel Zellhuber Preview | Dana White's Contender Series, Season 5 Episode 5
Lucas Almeida vs Daniel Zellhuber Preview | Dana White's Contender Series, Season 5 Episode 5
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Brazil’s Lucas Almeida and Mexico’s Daniel Zellhuber square off in a meeting of undefeated lightweight hopefuls.

Sporting a perfect 12-0 record, Almeida returns to action for the first time in nearly two years this week, looking to pick up right where he left off. The 30-year-old has earned finishes in his last four fights and each of his 10 contests with a recorded method of victory, but he’s largely faced inexperienced or unheralded competition, which adds to the uncertainty about what to expect from him on Tuesday night.

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Just 22 years old, Zellhuber is already 11-0 in his career, most recently registering a first-round stoppage win under the LUX Fight League shingle in May. Like his opponent Almeida, “Golden Boy” has thoroughly and consistently handled his business, though he hasn’t fought a particularly daunting schedule either.

Which of these unbeaten lightweights will continue forward without a blemish on their records and which one will taste defeat for the first time on Tuesday night?

Rizvan Kuniev vs. Edivan Santos

Rizvan Kuniev vs Edivan Santos Preview | Dana White's Contender Series, Season 5 Episode 5
Rizvan Kuniev vs Edivan Santos Preview | Dana White's Contender Series, Season 5 Episode 5
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This week’s all-international fight card kicks off in the heavyweight division, as Russia’s Rizvan Kuniev takes on Brazilian Edivan Santos.

A Wushu Sanda standout, Kuniev began his career with a 2-2-1 record, losing to future UFC competitors Darko Stosic and Justin Willis. Since then, the 28-year-old has collected eight straight victories, most recently securing a third-round stoppage win in the main event of Eagle Fighting Championship 31.

Santos arrives in Las Vegas on a 10-fight unbeaten streak, having won four straight, including a first-round submission win last time out in February. It’s extremely difficult to know what to expect from the six-foot-four 29-year-old though, making him another wild card heading into the cage on Tuesday inside the UFC APEX.