Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series is quickly filling the UFC’s roster with skilled mixed martial artists. In fact, it’s shining the light on a whole new generation of fighters who have rounded out their skillset and are dangerous across all aspects of the game.
Contender Series 6 kicked off with a super entertaining battle between two female strawweight fighters. After being controlled for the majority of the fight, Jamie Colleen found a way to win with only 17 seconds remaining in the contest. Cameron Olsen and Jaime Alvarez went on to win unanimous decisions before the final two bouts featured the two fighters who would be awarded UFC contracts this time around; Charles Byrd and Grant Dawson.
Dana White’s Contender Series 6 Results
- Charles Byrd* def. Randall Wallace via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 2, 2:03
- Grant Dawson* def. Adrian Diaz via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 2, 1:15
- Cameron Olson def. Karl Reed via unanimous decision
- Jaime Alvarez def. Martin Day via unanimous decision
- Jamie Colleen def. Tiffany Masters via submission (armbar) - Round 3, 4:43
* fighters awarded a contract with the UFC
Charles Byrd is setting the blueprint on how to make the most of your opportunity on the Contender Series. After submitting Jamie Pickett at Contender Series 1 with an arm-triangle, Byrd was welcomed back to Dana White's Contender Series for Episode 6 and made short work of his opponent, Randall Wallace. Wallace entered this fight with Byrd on a three-fight win streak, and despite moving up a weight class to face Byrd, he looked to be the bigger man.
We didn't see a lot of what we saw from Byrd at Contender Series 1, mostly his damaging leg kicks and wild striking attacks. Instead, what we saw was a more composed fighter with the same slick grappling ability that helped him secure the victory the first time around. When Wallace hit the mat, it was all Charles Byrd who rained down elbows from the top and eventually made his way to Wallace's back before submitting him with a rear-naked choke.
Byrd's going to be a force in the UFC's middleweight division, simply because there seems to be no real answer for beating him. He's a beast on the ground and has destructive striking abilities, as well. Byrd's climb through the UFC's rankings is going to be an interesting one, that's for sure.
I'm all about Grant Dawson.
Dawson looked like a complete fighter in his matchup against Adrian Diaz at Contender Series 6. Previously, I had believed that Dawson's standup was lacking and that he primarily needs to get his opponent's to the mat before his advantages kick in. Against Diaz, though, he looked comfortable in the striking exchanges and could have stayed there for longer. But, when you have a significant strength in mixed martial arts, you should use it; and that's exactly what Grant Dawson did against Adrian Diaz.
Dawson repeatedly used his wrestling expertise to take Diaz down to the mat. From there, Dawson never stopped working. When he was caught in Diaz's full guard, I wouldn't have been surprised to see Dawson slow down and look to pass, but instead, he opted to throw down heavy strikes on his opponent. Diaz, who is somewhat crafty with his back to the mat, was looking for ways to set up submissions on his aggressive opponent, but Dawson's constant pressure ensured that Diaz was going to pay every time he let his defense down. With Diaz's focused on the punches and elbows coming from his opponent, Dawson was free to pass, and he did so seamlessly. When he moved to half guard, the shots only became heavier.
Before Round 2 commenced, Snoop Dogg made the comment that Dawson had taken Diaz's will from him. It would be a perfect assessment. Dawson shot in for another takedown before taking Diaz straight back to the mat and submitting him with a rear-naked choke.
Dawson's grappling is high-calibre, and he is just 23-years-old. He looks like a monster for the 145lbs weight class, and I'm confident that he can bully a large number of fighters that exist in the UFC's featherweight division today.
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