Contender Series 2019 Week 1 Results

Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series (DWTNCS) has returned, bringing with it the next rising stars of the UFC. Each week, the match winners (mostly) are awarded with a UFC contract. I’m so happy because I get even more UFC in my week!

Contract winner(s) are highlighted in gold.

 

Punahele Soriano def. Jamie Pickett by Unanimous Decision (MW)

Soriano had his longest fight ever and his cardio and willpower came through, versus Alton Meeks from earlier in the night. His striking was a little too wild and open, but that’s to be expected from someone so early in his career and with a wrestling base. We saw that wrestling take over somewhat in the second round and entirely dominating the third. Soriano really clocked Pickett a few times and his striking held up, except for that wildness factor earlier mentioned.

I think Soriano had a step forward in his career that was entirely necessary. The length of his fights and his cardio were still an X-factor and now those aren’t. Although he did slow down as the fight got longer, but that should become less and less of an issue further in his career. Soriano is a fighter I am excited to see more of and I hope he gets another look should an opportunity open later in the season.

Hannah Goldy def. Kali Robbins by Unanimous Decision (SW)

Goldy reminded me of Elias Theodorou in there. She circled off to the side, trying to bait her opponent into her area. I felt like Robbins could have won if she had only cut her opponent off, as the announcers repeatedly said. Goldy looked solid using that Theodorou style, but she really looked amazing when she was pressuring. If she used that pressure more going forward, she could be a serious threat. Although that power that was highly touted prior to the match clipped Robbins a few times, she was unable to close the show before the final bell. However, she has an interesting career moving forward and it will be interesting to see where she goes.

Brendan Loughnane def. Bill Algeo by Unanimous Decision (FTW)

Loughnane put on a boxing clinic that reminds of Max Holloway. He used leg kicks to almost circle Algeo then outstruck him thoroughly, even landing a takedown at the end of the second round. Loughnane’s boxing was incredibly crisp and even though he didn’t get a contract, I am almost positive the UFC will be seeing him in the future. This fight was so much fun and Loughnane was soooo close to a knockout it wasn’t even funny. Much credit to the toughness of Algeo, because what Brendan was doing would have put almost anyone out.

I did notice some rough spots in the game of Loughnane. For a striking specialist, his defense was too open ended and took more shots than he honestly should have. Aside from that, he looked incredible when pressuring, but when he got put on his back foot, he just wasn’t himself and got taken advantage of in those moments. However, despite being the smaller fighter, Loughnane used his range expertly and worked his opponent over using leg kicks and precision boxing.

Yorgan de Castro def. Alton Meeks by Round 1 Knockout (HW)

Image result for yorgan de castro contender series

Alton Meeks came in as the biggest favorite of the night. In the intros, they said he’s never had a match go past two minutes and I immediately thought, “Uh oh”. That’s pretty much how this went. After Meeks’ wrestling didn’t work out and he couldn’t get on top and get that ground and pound going, it almost seemed like he gave up. In the waning seconds of the first round, de Castro landed a massive leg kick and put his opponent on his back and finished the show with ground and pound.

The key to this match was de Castro’s takedown defense holding up. Aside from that, he showed those massive leg kicks and a surprising swiftness coming from a man so big was impressive. I liked what I saw from his standup, but I would have liked to see more of his kickboxing take over after Meeks was pretty much doing nothing on the feet.

 

 

These were great matches and they should only be getting better as we go forward with the season. We have another weeknight of fights next Tuesday as well, so keep an eye out, Freaks!

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