Another Tuesday, another set of contenders showing their stuff!
Our predictions are in, so now all that’s left is to see how we did, and who of tonight’s competitors walks away with a UFC contract.
Aliaskhab Khizriev v. Henrique Shiguemoto
Khizriev takes the cinter.
the pair trade kicks.
Khizriev slips, but as Shiuemoto comes in, the Dagestani fighter gets to the wrestling.
After a short bit of clinch-wrestling, Khizriev gets a bodylock takedown and very quickly gets the back!
Shiguemoto is flattened out and Khizriev is working for a choke.
It’s locked in and Khizriev gets the tap!
Fight Overall: Dang, ya’ll. We’ve got a good thing here in Khizriev, and we didn’t even see him in his normal weight class.
Result: Aliaskhab Khizriev def. Henrique Shiguemoto Round 1 (0:50) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Mana Martinez v. Drako Rodriguez
The bantamweights come to the center and touch gloves.
A powerful leg kick from Rodriguez is followed by a left hook that stuns Martinez.
Martinez slips and ends up on the floor and Rodriguez is now working from inside the guard.
Martinez throws up an armbar that seems tight, but Rodriguez is wise to it, slipping out.
An omoplata from Martinez is underway causing him to reverse the position momentarily.
Martinez got sloppy and gets caught in a triangle on his way to the top.
It’s a struggle, but Rodriguez is holding on!
A faint tap comes from Martinez as he falls asleep inside the triangle choke.
Fight Overall: Another dominant fight. Martinez had his moments, but Drako Rodriguez showed that he was better tonight at every aspect of the game. Another great prospect, and another likely contract winner.
Result: Drako Rodriguez def. Mana Martinez Round 1 (2:22) via Submission (Triangle Choke)
Phil Hawes v. Khadzhimurat Bestaev
Big height difference in this one.
Long kicks from Bestaev.
Leg kicks are coming from Hawes.
Big overhand right from Hawes
Another leg kick from Hawes and Bestaev is feeling them already.
Bestaev is moving forward now. He’s avoiding the leg kicks now, and rushing forward, using his incredible reach advantage.
Hawes slips a hook, and comes over the top with a big right hand that stiffens Besaev on the way down.
Hawes follows up with hammerfists on the ground and the referee has to step in.
Fight Overall: Fantastic work from Hawes here. He looked composed and stayed consistent en route to the finish.
Result: Phil Hawes def. Khadzhimurat Bestaev Round 1 (1:18) via TKO
Cameron Church v. Sherrard Blackledge
The men meet in the center.
They trade stiff jabs.
Church is starting with his leg kicks already.
Blackledge comes in to clinch and presses Church against the cage.
Church works his way free but eats a jab.
These fighters are thrwoing! It’s hard to keep up.
Nice shots from Church! He finishes his combination with a head kick.
Blackledge gets the takedown! Church works his way up.
Church is throwing heat and Blackledge is throwing back!
They are back in the clinch and Blackledge is tagging his opponent with knees.
They separate and get back to throwing leather.
Blackledge is getting the slight edge in the striking.
Church comes in hard, but Blackledge answers with a takedown that is successful.
Blackledge is striking from the top and Church works his way back up as the first round comes to a close.
The two come right back out and get back to trading.
Blackledge is much more active with his movement against the cage.
Blackledge shoots again but settles for throwing knees in the clinch.
A knee goes low, and we take a break.
Church says he’s ready to continue.
Right back at it! Church is coming in hard!
Blackledge lands a good shot and starts teeing off on Church who is stationary against the cage.
Church anwers back, but unfortunately has his kick go low.
Blacklege says he can continue.
The men trade and Blackledge gets another takedown.
Church works his way up, but is taken down again.
Blackledge is working to trap Church’s wrist.
Church is attempting a kimura, but it is unsuccessful.
Back to their feet in time for the end of the round, Church whiffs on a kick as the bell sounds.
Right back to it.
Church is moving forward, landing a goood leg kick and jab.
Blackledge is answering back and he hits a spinning elbow!
Church is a terminator, man. He didn’t look fazed at all.
Blackledge is working for another takedown and he gets it.
The men strike eachother in the guard of Church.
Blackledge is landing some good elbows, but nothing of distinct power.
Blackledge passes to half-guard, but only for a moment.
Church kicks Blackledge up, but gets his back taken as he tries to get to his feet.
A strike from Blackledge puts Church back on his back, and Blackledge goes back to work from inside his opponent’s guard.
Blackledge is holding on now. He knows he has it, and does not want to take any chances for these last 20 seconds.
Fight Overall: What a fight! What a fight! The last round slowed a bit, but these men earned it. I think Blackledge and Church will be brought back for the Contender Series return this November.
Result: Sherrard Blackledge def. Cameron Church via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Tafon Nchukwi v. Al Matavao
Jab for Matavao, very quick. He’s being aggressive early.
Matavao is using his speed advantage here.
Nchukwi lands a big shot!
Matavao goes back to work, but Nchukwi is shelling very well.
Every shot that Nchukwi lands looks like it is hurting Matavao.
Matavao clips Nchukwi! Nchukwi shells and recovers.
Matavoa’s movement and volume is doing good work when he lands.
Nchukwi seems to be waiting. He’s getting outworked.
Nice body kick from Nchukwi.
Nchukwi is moving forward and landing shots.
Matavao answers with his own strikes on the retreat and slips as the round comes to an end.
The men meet in the center of the cage.
Nchukwi is back to work with his jab. He again opens up with a combination.
Matavao is getting bombed on with body hooks against the cage!
Nchukwi is being much more aggressive this round.
Matavao is wearing down and his movement has all but stopped.
Nchukwi clinches Matavao before framing him right into a head kick!
Matavao was out before he hit the mat!
Fight Overall: Nchukwi adjusted well coming into that second round. He got more aggressive and scored a fantastic head kick KO. Matavao was on the mat for minutes before he was able to sit up. I’m worried for that man. Hope he’s okay.
Result: Tafon Nchukwi def. Al Matavao Round 2 (2:01) via KO (Head Kick)
Aliaskhab Khizriev – Round 1 (0:50) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Drako Rodriguez – Round 1 (2:22) via Submission (Triangle Choke)
Phil Hawes – Round 1 (1:18) via TKO (Strikes)
Sherrard Blackledge – Unanimous Decision
Tafon Nchukwi – Round 2 (2:01) via KO
Who Got a Contract?
Aliaskhab Khizriev gets a contract!
Drako Rodriguez gets a contract with Dana White saying, “What didn’t you like about this kid?”
Phil Hawes gets a contract!
Sherrard Blackledge gets an invitation to come back in November, but no UFC contract.
Tafon Nchukwi gets a contract because his head kick KO “scared the Hell outta” Dana White.
And that’s it! Every week these cards get better. Four finishes and an absolute war sums up tonight’s fights, and I loved every minute of it.
Our prediction record for the night is 4-1, which takes our overall for the season to 18-10-1.
Join me later this week when we take a look at next week’s batch of future contenders.
Thank you for reading, and we’ll see ya next week for more results and play-by-play!