The proving ground to get into the UFC returns this week with five more matches. That means five more chances for up-and-coming stars to get their shot at the bright lights of the Octagon. Last week saw five new contracts and 10 new fighters will have their chance to make their claim at that tonight, all headlined with a Middleweight bout between Stephen Regman and Antonio Arroyo.
Contract winners are highlighted in gold.
Antonio Arroyo def. Stephen Regman by Round 2 Submission (MW)
Arroyo dictated the first round with his kicking game, spare a minute-ish with Regman in dominant position. It was more of the same in the second, but Regman was having more success on the mat. When Arroyo found his way to his feet, he used a big kick to pave the way for an arm triangle he finished the fight with.
I thought Arroyo looked incredible here, aside from the time off his back. He pressured well and was not shy of the kicking game. He will find issues if he does not remedy the holes in his wrestling game, but his dangerous submission game will leave him open for his own offenses.
Ode Osbourne def. Armando Villarreal by Round 1 Submission (BW)
Osbourne was a wild man on the feet, firing all sorts of kicks, knees, punches. He was putting some real work in and almost got a knockdown, even taking out the mouthpiece of his opponent. The tide looked to be turning when Villarreal landed a takedown and was putting in good work on the mat. That was until Osbourne found a submission towards the end of the first round and sealed the deal.
Don’Tale Mayes def. Ricardo Prasel by Round 1 Knockout (HW)
After his loss to Greg Hardy in his last shot, Mayes returned to the show in much better fashion. This time, he was on the other end of the first round KO. You could see that every shot he had had brutal power in it and his takedown defense and fight IQ only made that better. He will look to shake things up with that power in the big show and he is well-equipped to do it with that power and fight smarts, as well as perfect defense.
Kevin Syler def. Lance Lawrence by Unanimous Decision (FTW)
This was the first match where I actually thought the loser deserved the contract more. Syler started the fight by using a Max Holloway striking approach, battering his opponent with volume, but then went to the ground in the second round and dominated. He then gassed and was taken advantage of by the younger fighter in the third. The heart and toughness really showed out for Lawrence, being able to avoid some tight chokes, striking, and dealing with the 7-pound advantage Syler had by missing weight. Still, Syler won and for good reason, but he will need to work on that gas tank if he wants to succeed in the big show.
Brendan Allen def. Aaron Jeffery by Round 1 Submission (MW)
This was domination from the opening bell. Allen opened up with some power strikes before Jeffery went into the clinch. Allen then worked his way out, landed a big knee that knocked his opponent down and finished him off with a choke. He showed an all-out warring style when he was pressuring, but did look exposed when he couldn’t get all his shots off. Still, he hung in there and was rewarded with the knockdown when he saw the opportunity.
We had a tremendous card this week with great fighters and amazing finishes. I am excited to see how they fare in the Octagon and what we will get in the future from these young fighters.
Until next time, Freaks.