So far, 2020’s season of Dana White’s Contender Series has delivered great fights and even better prospects. Week 4 should be no different!
Jhonoven Pati v. Jamie Pickett
Mike Breeden v. Anthony Romero
Kyron Bowen v. Collin Huckbody
Rafael Alves v. Alejandro Flores
Jeffrey Molina v. Jacob Silva
Let’s take a look at the action in store for this week’s Dana White’s Contender Series event!
Middleweight: Jhonoven Pati v. Jamie Pickett
Jhonoven Pati (6-3-0) is a fighter out of Texas and is under the StriKings banner.
Pati is a slick strikers who remains calm, and actually looks to be having fun in most of his bouts.
He uses solid movement to set up stout kicks from the southpaw stance. Pati’s weapons of note from striking range include his inside leg-kick and push-kicks.
In the clinch, Pati is strong, especially with the thai plumb on the back of the head of his opponents. Once there, he reliably fires off knees to the body and head.
His clinchwork ties into most of his victories. Pati likes to pressure his opponents back to the cage with long strikes and then use his clinch when he gets them there.
Jamie Pickett (10-4-0) is a fighter out of North Carolina. He has fought twice on the Dana White Contender Series, but has lost in both showings.
A brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Pickett is best-equipped to take opponents down and use his superior ground game en route to victory.
He is not as credentialed on the feet, but that doesn’t mean he can’t crack. Pickett has powerful, long straights and powerful high-kicks from either stance.
Defensively, Pickett throws side-kicks and counter-jabs. He also is good on his bike and is comfortable rolling his shoulders to avoid power-punches coming back at him.
Prediction: Pickett. I think the third time might just be the charm for Pickett.
Pati has a difficulty stuffing takedowns. His bout against Joseph Pyfer showed that a strong takedown offense and top control can really stifle his momentum.
Pickett will have to be careful on the feet against Pati, because his chin is not bulletproof. But, if Pickett can avoid damage in striking range, and mind himself in the clinch, he should be able to find success on the floor.
To me, Pickett’s last bout at NLFC 11, where he relied heavily on the takedown, is a preview of how he’ll look to win at DWCS on Tuesday.
Lightweight: Rafael Alves v. Alejandro Flores
Rafael Alves (18-9-0) is a Brazilian athlete and fights out of the MMA Masters camp. Alves is a powerhouse of a fighter – explosiveness defined.
Alves’ standup is aggressive, and he’s looking for a finish with every strike. That is usually a recipe for a gassed fighter, but the footage shows that Alves can last for a full 15 minutes.
His timing is odd and his strikes are truly unpredictable. For example, in his bout at Titan FC 50, Alves would go from bouncing in place to throwing things like jumping, spinning capoera kicks, and flying knees. Powerful leaping overhand rights were also a part of the menu.
Alves is known to open his bouts by swarming his opponent early, usually with a series of leaping strikes. Unlike other reckless fighters on this card, Alves is fantastic in the clinch and stable on the ground.
Alves is a powerful all-rounder with dynamite in his limbs, and a dangerous guillotine choke.
Alejandro Flores (17-2-0) is a Mexican fighter, but he trains out of VFS Academy in Illinois. This is the same camp that UFC featherweight Yair Rodriguez is a part of.
Flores likes to fight long. The oblique kick is a constant in the arsenal of Flores, and he uses it to maintain distance and keep aggressive fighters from moving in too quick. He is good at circling as well, and he uses his movement to maintain his range and stay off the cage.
From a distance, Flores is effective in using jabs and counter-straights in combination with stinging leg-kicks and body-kicks.
While Flores does like to use his range to his advantage, that is not to say that he avoids exchanges. More often than not, he is willing to throw down more and more as a fight goes on.
Other than his striking, Flores touts an incredible gas tank. His activity level would excuse anyone from wearing down over three rounds, but he is able to set a high pace from bell-to-bell. That is especially impressive when you consider that his game is based around kicking.
Prediction: Alves. Regardless of if I’m right or wrong with this pick, Alves v. Flores is going to be a phenomenal, action-packed watch.
It’s the fight I’m most excited to see on this week’s DWCS.
If Flores were to stay disciplined and keep his range, I would favor him, but that’s not likely to happen. On the feet, Alves is good at drawing people into wild exchanges, and based on the footage available, Flores is very likely to oblige.
I’d also say that, in general, Flores falls on the wrong side of the power equation against Alves.
Other than the likelihood of wild exchanges on the feet, I think Alves possesses a ground game that is high above what Flores has seen in his career thus far.
Now, even though I feel that Alves is the most likely winner, don’t think that this is likely to be a blowout. I think it’s close, which is why it’ll be so fun to watch.
Flyweight: Jacob Silva v. Jeffrey Molina
Jacob Silva (6-2-0) is a fighter out of Texas and is affiliated with Metro Fight Club. He is on a six-fight winning streak that dates all the way back to 2015. All of those win have come via finish. Out of those six wins, five have been ended by knockout.
Silva is a super fun fighter to watch and is always looking to damage his opponent with hard, looping punches. He moves forward constantly and throws his whole body into his combinations, which explains his high finish-rate.
This hyper-aggressive style, especially when he senses a finish, sometimes leads to Silva getting taken down when he leaps in off-balance. When his strikes land, however, the results are often dynamic and violent.
Off of his back, Silva is good at starting scrambles and getting back to his feet as a result of his quickness and athleticism. That said, his reliance on power has lead him into trouble at times with more technical ground fighters.
Jeffrey Molina (7-2-0) fights out of Missouri and is another prospect under the tutelage of James Krause’s Glory MMA and Fitness.
Molina likes to strike from distance and he circles off the cage with ease. His leg-kicks are hard and accurate, and he gauges distance well with his jab. He is known to set things up well from both orthodox and southpaw.
Offensive wrestling and meticulous top-control is also well-represented in the game of Molina. In his last two bouts, once Molina got top position, he controlled and eventually got a submission.
On bottom, Molina showed great submission and ground defense in his last bout against Ken Porter. In that fight, Molina stayed calm and composed under immense pressure from Porter. That is rare in such a young fighter (Molina is only 23).
Prediction: Molina. I think the recklessness of Silva will eventually lead him into trouble against Molina.
Standing, I think the lateral movement of Molina, combined with his jabs and kicks, will enable him to nullify the blitzing style Silva.
Worst case for Silva is that he finds himself underneath Molina on the floor. Fighters usually don’t survive the position-before-submission approach of Molina’s ground attack.
Lightweight: Mike Breeden v. Anthony Romero
Mike Breeden (8-2-0) fights out of Missouri and represents Glory MMA and Fitness. According to Tapology, his head coach is James Krause who has become a fantastic leader for young and/or up-and-coming fighters.
Breeden is a striker. He primarily relies on his boxing, but has slowly added in a lethal arsenal of knees and kicks.
A big thing to like about Breeden’s style is the way that he sets up his combinations. He is constantly feinting and cutting angles. Once he throws, it is usually at least two punches, but most of the time more.
Anthony Romero (7-0-0) is a Canadian fighter with Para Bellum MMA. He was set to compete in last season of Dana White’s Contender Series, but was unable due to contractual obligations to King of the Cage.
Unbeaten since 2015, Romero touts a well-rounded game, but is ultimately looking to put his opponents on the floor. Once there, he is a submission threat through and through.
Prediction: Romero. This kid is a hot prospect for good reason. His unbeaten streak, combined with his well-rounded approach to the game, continues the influx of talent we’re seeing in these young Canadian fighters.
Romero will see the most experienced opponent of his career yet in Breeden, so this fight will be a good measuring stick to see where Romero is in his development.
Middleweight: Kyron Bowen v. Collin Huckbody
Kyron Bowen (9-4-0) fights out of Arkansas and is affiliated with Family Combat Fitness. He started his career with an unimpressive record, but since dropping two-straight in 2018, Bowen has won seven in a row, all by stoppage.
Comes in tall which makes him susceptible to the takedown, but his long limbs allow him to threaten with submissions from the guard. He does have offensive wrestling as well, but he usually goes for takedowns as a defensive measure.
Where Bowen really comes alive is on the feet. He likes a long left hook and right straight. His kicks to the legs and head have also been effective for him. Bowen knows how to use his frame and fight with his reach.
That said, he gets into trouble when he’s pressured. Bowen has a tendency to back straight up and cover, looking for takedowns as his opponent steps in for larger strikes against the cage.
Collin Huckbody (7-2-0) fights out of New Mexico and has done his last two camps out of Jackson/Wink, so he’s in a great place to develop.
For transparency’s sake, I should let you know that there isn’t too much footage on Huckbody. That said, the little I could find reinforces what you see on his Tapology page.
Huckbody is primarily a wrestler and grappler. His top control and submission attacks are his usual path to victory. He’s particularly fond of the Arm Triangle, as he’s used it to finish four of his five submission victories.
Prediction: Huckbody. This fight is going to end up on the floor, and I think Huckbody is going to be the one on top.
On the canvas, the long limbs of Bowen are a double-edged sword: They assist in attacking from bottom, but they are also bigger leverage points for being attacked.
Bowen will have to keep his elbows in tight and really be careful about how he proceeds getting back to his feet if he needs to. Unfortunately though, we’ve never seen disciplined ground defense like that out of Bowen. He usually is quite erratic off his back if he can’t lock a submission up from his guard.
The way that Huckbody hunts for arm triangles, combined with how Bowen behaves on his back, is a recipe for a submission win for Huckbody.
And that’s it! We’re currently 9-5 in our predictions, so I’m excited to see how we do on this one. Not gonna lie, this week was the most difficult yet.
Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you Tuesday for the play-by-play!