The world’s top prospects return to the UFC Apex for their chance to punch their ticket to the UFC.
The Dana White’s Contender Series has produced some memorable action thus far, so let’s take a look at what to look out for when week three takes place on August 18.
Louis Cosce v. Victor Reyna
Cheyanne Buys v. Hilarie Rose
Orion Cosce v. Matt Dixon
Chad Johnson v. Josh Parisian
Oron Kahlon v. Collin Anglin
What do these athletes have to offer, and who should win? Scroll on, and find out!
Note: The Kahlon/Anglin fight has been rescheduled and replaced by the previously scrapped Kevin Syler vs. Kenny Cross fight from Week 1.
Welterweight: Louis Cosce v. Victor Reyna
Louis Cosce (6-0-0) is a fighter out of California and trains out of Lost Boys Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai. Interestingly, his brother, Orion Cosce is also fighting on this card. All six of his wins have come inside the first round, two of which came in under 30 seconds.
Cosce is a fast starter, and likes to put pressure on with punches and kicks in equal measure.
He does have a wrestling background, but often chooses not to use it. It’s not like he’s really had to either with four T/KO’s out of his six wins.
Victor Reyna (11-4-0) returns to the Contender Series after dropping a decision to Miguel Baeza last year. In addition to losing, Reyna missed the welterweight limit by 8 pounds. In all fairness, he took that fight on 10 days notice.
Reyna is tough as hell. In his last DWCS showing, he survived almost a full round of one-way traffic. He showed great recovery and submission defense. In addition, Reyna came back and won the final round.
By the way, if you’ve never watched that fight, do yourself a favor and fix that. It’s fantastic.
The strongest aspect of Reyna’s game is his striking. He has straight punches in quick combination, and his middle-kicks and leg-kicks are powerful and accurate.
In his latest fight, a decision win against Nick Gay, Reyna used superior clinch-work to wear down his opponent and get well-timed takedowns. Reyna appeared to be in fantastic shape, and excelled in all aspects in this dominating performance.
Prediction: Victor Reyna. Experience is seriously underrated in MMA, and I think that it’s going to play a major role in this fight.
Reyna has more than double the fights of Cosce, and while Cosce has competitive experience due to his wrestling, it’s not the same. In addition to having less overall fights, Cosce has never been outside of the first round, only going past four minutes once.
In Reyna, he will have to deal with a durable, slick striker who knows how to survive and can fight competently everywhere. Reyna is relaxed and composed, and as displayed in his last fight on DWCS, he will be in there all three rounds if need be.
I think Reyna will have to survive at times, but he will use his well-rounded game and solid conditioning to wear down Cosce for the victory.
Strawweight: Cheyanne Buys v. Hilarie Rose
Cheyanne Buys (4-1-0) is a Fortis MMA product, fighting out of Texas.
Buys has a well-developed striking game, utilizing quick footwork and counter-striking. At her last bout at LFA 57, commentator called her standup “fluent”, and I would have to agree.
Her best weapons are her right-hook/over-hook, and a really nice jab. She has kicks as well. Buys used her leg-kicks and body-kicks to great effect in the aforementioned LFA fight.
In that LFA 57 showing, Buys’ conditioning maintained through all three rounds against a physically strong, relentless opponent in Rebecca Adney.
Even though the star of Buy’s game is her striking, her bout against Lindsay Garbatt at BTC 6 showcased the wrestling and ground control that she possess.
Hilarie Rose (4-1-0) is a fighter out of Massachusetts and is affiliated with USMMA and Lauzon MMA. She is a wrestler and has some functional muay thai.
Her two most recent competitions took place in the CES cage. Between the two performances, Rose showed much improved standup, going from a rather flat-footed approach at CES 55 to one at CES 57 that used feints and light footwork.
Her ground control leaves a bit to be desired, and in her bout against Rosa Acevedo, she was consistently reversed from dominant position, having to work her way back into the fight.
Just like her opponent at DWCS, Rose has her conditioning under control and can fight consistently through 15 minutes.
Prediciton: Buys. This fight is a hard one to pick, but I feel like the smooth striking of Buys will be the difference here. Even though Rose has improved her striking, we can assume Buys has only gotten better.
The path to victory for Rose is going to be her wrestling, but Buys is no slouch in this department either. Buys has great ground control and heavy hips, so if Rose does somehow end up on her back, I’m not sure she’ll be able to reverse position as easily as she has in previous fights.
Buys gets the pick from me because she has a clear edge on the feet, and is well-rounded enough to be able to counter the strengths that Rose brings to the table.
Welterweight: Orion Cosce v. Matt Dixon
Orion Cosce (6-0-0) is the second Corsce brother on this week of Contender Series. He also fights out of Lost Boys Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, but he has at some points trained with Team Alpha Male.
In terms of style, he is much like his brother, racking up stoppages in all of his six wins. Of those, only two have made their way out of the first round. Cosce’s shortest fight is a KO/TKO at 13 seconds of round one.
Just like his brother, Orion is a power-puncher. In his last bout against Wally Wester, Cosce seemed to rock his opponent with every shot he connected with. His striking defense and movement allowed him to avoid most of the damage coming his way.
Cosce’s striking is not the strongest aspect of his game, though. Orion possess some powerful wrestling, and a pressure on the floor that constantly threatens his opponents.
This young fighter is very well-rounded.
Matt Dixon (9-0-0) is a fighter out of Olahoma. This undefeated prospect is a muay thai-centric athlete.
Featuring quick, darting footwork, Dixon threatens opponents with slammin’ leg-kicks and long jabs and hooks. On the inside, he utilizes sneaky elbows and even some uppercuts.
His bout against Braden Smith featured some of the most damage I’ve ever seen from leg-kicks. Within a round, Smith’s right leg was a color I’ve never seen before. Dixon can really whip his shin with some force.
In his LFA 83 bout against Justin Patterson, Dixon put his wrestling on display. When he was not having success in the striking, Dixon used great timing to set up some good double-leg takedowns. It’s not elite, but it works when he needs it to.
Prediction: Cosce. This prediction came down to the wrestling.
Dixon has a speed advantage and a more fluid striking game, but he’s hittable, which is a terrible thing against Orion Cosce.
If Cosce does find himself in trouble on the feet against Dixon, his strong wrestling game will be enough to slow things down and possibly start to wear his opponent out. This is where Cosce wins the fight if he doesn’t catch Dixon with one of his power-punches.
Don’t get me wrong though, Dixon is without a doubt the toughest test of Cosce’s young career. Cosce has never dealt with someone as dynamic and powerful as Dixon.
I just think that Cosce will have a clear wrestling and grappling edge that will get the job done.
Heavyweight: Chad Johnson v. Josh Parisian
Chad Johnson (6-1-0) is a powerful heavyweight out of Wisconsin and is affiliated with Roufusport MMA Academy.
The little bit of footage I could find on Johnson showed me a lumbering, but super strong athlete. His movement and overall technique lack a sense of fluidity, but he makes up for it with power.
That said, it was pretty hard to find footage of Johnson. He trains out of Roufusport, so he’s in good hands and he’s more than likely improved since the footage I was able to hunt down.
Josh Parisian (12-3-0) fights out of Scorpion Fighting System, and hails from Michigan. He has fought once in the Contender Series, a TKO win. Parisian is also an Ultimate Fighter alum. There, he lost via TKO. Since an additional loss, Parisian has rattled off five-straight TKO wins.
Parisian has an impressive arsenal of kicks for a heavyweight. He throws body-kicks, hook-kicks, and spinning-kicks, among others. The spinning-backfist is a favorite of Parisian, and he’s used it to end multiple contests.
Parisian still deals with wrestling issues, displayed in his most recent bout against Marcus Maulding. That said, Parisian stayed in it and came back to win via TKO.
Prediciton: Parisian. If Parisian can deal with the athleticism from Johnson, he should win convincingly. Not to say that I expect one-way traffic for Parisian, but he has shown time and time again that he is able to stay in a fight and find a way to win.
I think he may have to do that on Tuesday night.
Featherweight: Oron Kahlon v. Collin Anglin
Oron Kahlon (16-0-0) is an undefeated fighter out of Israel and Las Vegas. He trains out of Kahlon MMA and is one of the oldest competitors to see the Contender Series cage at 39 years old.
Looking at his Tapology page, it’s clear that Kahlon has difficulty finding experienced competition in his native Israel. That said, Kahlon is an impressive fighter, and I wouldn’t categorize him as “built”.
Kahlon is a true all-rounder, holding six different black belts and the skills to back them up. His standup is smooth and his grappling focuses on well-timed attacks.
Kahlon is a finisher, as all of his 16 wins have been via stoppage.
Collin Anglin (7-1-0) is a fighter out of Denver, originally affiliated with the Scorpion Fighting System, but a recent move has taken him to a new camp.
Anglin is a dynamic striker who utilizes kicks and punches at odd angles. In addition, spinning attacks are not out of the question.
His wrestling defense serves his striking well. Anglin is able to leap in with combinations and quickly pummle in when opponents seek to grapple.
Anglin likes to pressure opponents against the cage and unleash strikes when his opponent is trapped.
Prediction: Anglin. The path to defeating Anglin is to pressure. He does not like it, and he tends to back straight up, putting his back against the cage.
Unfortunately for Kahlon, he doesn’t pressure the way he’ll need to to get Anglin out of his comfort zone.
The other reality that makes me lean towards Anglin is his youth. Young fighters usually improve from fight to fight, and the recent move out to a high-level camp in Denver makes me believe that Anglin is going to see an exponential jump in his skill set.
This will be a great fight for the growth of Anglin, because Kahlon is a well-rounded, experienced mixed martial artist. It will be Anglin’s toughest test to date, but one that he should pass.
And that’s it! Another week, another set of predictions in the books. We’re currently sitting at a prediction record of 6-3 for this season of Dana White’s Contender Series.
Check in next week for results and more predictions for week 4.