Some of the world’s top prospects stepped into the UFC Apex to prove they have what it takes to compete in mixed martial arts’ top promotion.
Join Film Fight Freaks as we take a look at week 1 of Dana White’s Contender Series. Who got contracts? Who got passed up?
Most importantly, how did I do with my predictions?
Let’s get into it!
Jose Flores v. Jordan Leavitt
First up, the lightweights took to the Octagon.
Leavitt shot early, narrowly avoiding a strange kimura/triangle hybrid from Flores.
Flores had a very active guard and constantly shifted his hips for sweeps and submission attempts.
Leavitt passed, and wretsling against the cage resulted in Flores pulling guard. Leavitt’s top control was on full display here, and Flores did everything he could to nullify, but to no avail.
En route to the finish, Leavitt displayed great control and selective ground strikes.
Result: Jordan Leavitt submits Jose Flores via arm triangle Rd 1.
Luis Rodriguez v. Jerome Rivera
In the second fight of the night, a pair of young flyweights sought to vie for UFC stardom.
The flyweights started quick. Rodriguez looked significantly smaller than rivera.
A slip resulted in Rivera taking the back of Rodriguez. Rodriguez struggled against the body triangle before turning around into the guard of Rivera.
Immediately Rivera attacked with a triangle which resulted in a scramble back to the feet.
Rivera displayed incredible skill against the cage, able to outstrike and outwrestle his smaller opponent.
Rodriguez tried to nullify the reach advantage of Rivera by leaping in with overhand strikes. A slip by Rivera allowed Rodriguez to threaten with strikes from the top.
A good takedown in round 1 from Rivera.
Rodriguez really started to find his range with his overhand hooks.
Rivera used his length and forward motion to control the octagon, guiding Rodriguez around the cage.
Rodriguez hit a hard slam and took the back of Rivera. Rodriguez fell off the top, but he locked up a reverse triangle, attacking the arm of Rivera.
Props to Rivera for getting out. He was eating some elbows and getting his elbow cranked.
The two men struck for the first minute with no major events.
Wrestling against the fence, Rivera hit a great switch and attempted a triangle choke.
Rodriguez displayed great top control and positional awareness. Honestly, Rodriguez showed way better grappling than the little bit of footage I could find breaking down this fight. His scrambling ability, shined bright.
Rodriguez finished the third round on top, attempting strikes.
Fight overall: Super entertaining. Both men were evenly matched, but I feel that Rodriguez did enough to win with his takedowns, control on the ground, and in the clinch. That said, the fight was close, and Rivera dominated on the feet, using his punches and kicks from range.
Result: Jerome Rivera defeats Luis Rodriguez via Unanimous Decision.
Uros Medic v. Mikey Gonzalez
Two strikers with bad intentions stepped inside the caged ring.
Medic pressured early, and it took Gonzalez thirty seconds to throw his pattented hook kick.
A good variety of kicks from both men.
As predicted, the pressure of Medic proved a difficult puzzle to solve for Gonzalez.
A body kick from Medic dropped Gonzalez, and Medic swarmed with ground and pound, getting backed off with a leg lock attempt from Gonzalez.
A lunging straight left hand to a brutal right leg kick dropped Gonzalez for a second time, leading to the TKO finish for Medic.
Result: Uros Medic defeats Mikey Gonzalez via TKO Rd 1.
Ty Flores v. Dustin Jacoby
In the main event, light heavyweights vied for a UFC contract.
The comfort level is immediately noticable.
Jacoby started fast, and aggressive. He had to briefly stifle a takedown attempt
Multiple flying knees from Jacoby.
Flores fought back, firing off punches and kicks, but only connected with a couple.
A flurry of punches lead to an anaconda choke attempt slowed the pace before Jacoby let it go and continued to batter Flores.
Jacoby bullied Flores in every area of the fight.
Credit to Flores, though, he stayed in the fight in the moments that most people would have crumbled.
Jacoby really unloaded this round.
Flores moved quickly to the center of the cage. He impressed me with his will to fight.
His effort did him more harm than good though, because Jacoby unloaded with anything he wanted to and connected with force.
Jacoby defended multiple takedowns with a kimura counter, and stormed right back in to fire off strikes into Flores.
A big right hand finally dropped Flores and he miraculously survived the ground and pound onslaught to wearily rise to his feet.
Jacoby seemed to have punched himself out, getting tagged in the clinch with knees and punches by Flores.
How did Flores not go down?
Flores started this round somehow looking more fresh than Jacoby.
It appeared that Jacoby did punch himself out to some degree.
Flores rushed forward, his will to win on full display.
The two men fought against the cage, trading punches and knees to the head and body.
Flores attempted another takedown, but Jacoby’s defense stayed solid.
The two men collasped to the floor with Jacoby on top. They stayed there shortly before rising to grind on the fence once more.
Flores finally manages a takedown with a minute left in the third, but he falls off the side, and Jacoby stays, showing his fatigue.
Both men left everything in that octagon.
Fight Overall: Jacoby dominated the first and second round, crashing into Flores with every weapon available. The third was more competitive, and you could maybe have given it to Flores, but barely. Pretty clear cut decision.
Result: Dustin Jacoby defeats Ty Flores via Unanimous Decision.
Jordan Leavitt – Submission, Rd 1
Jerome Rivera – Unanimous Decision
Uros Medic – TKO, Rd 1.
Dustin Jacoby – Unanimous Decision
Who Got a Contract?
Dana White awarded Jordan Leavitt, Uros Medic, and Dustin Jacoby a contract. He disagreed with the decision in the Jerome Rivera/Luis Rodriguez, which prompted him to pass on Rivera, stating both men would make it to the UFC one day.
Pretty dang good! 3-1 for Film Fight Freaks on DWCS predictions. Next week is a bit more difficult, so lets see if we can keep it up.
See you next week for week 2!