And it’s all over.
Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series has come to an end, for now. As is always the case, the Contender Series showcased some of the best mixed martial arts talent outside of the UFC in what is regarded as the world’s toughest job interview.
When asked about the Contender Series, Dana White responded:
It exceeded my expectations. It’s incredible. I love being in this gym with a bunch of fans. They have one shot; right here. Some of the greatest fights you’ll ever see in your life are on this show.
The UFC has added 16 new fighters to their roster after just eight episodes and we’re now eagerly awaiting news on the eventual return of the Contender Series.
Dana White’s Contender Series 8 Results
- Matt Frevola def. Jose Flores via submission (arm-triangle choke) Round 2, 3:32
- Bevon Lewis def. Elias Urbina via KO/TKO (punches) Round 2, 2:37
- Adam Antolin def. Casey Kenney via split decision
- Lauren Mueller def. Kelly Velasco via unanimous decision
- Allen Crowder def. Dontale Mayes via KO/TKO (ground and pound) Round 3, 4:12
* fighters awarded a contract with the UFC
Matt "The Steamrolla" Frevola is Dana White's dream.
Here's how Sean Shelby described Frevola before he stepped into the octagon on Tuesday night:
If he had a kitchen sink in the octagon, he'd probably throw it at you. He's non-stop action. He doesn't take a breath. He's all-action and doesn't stop coming at you.
Frevola put an end to Jose Flores' undefeated seven-fight start to his career when he submitted him with an arm-triangle in round two. In usual style, Frevola came out swinging from the very start. It took just 20 seconds for Frevola to find Flores' chin and put him down on the floor.
I had previously shared that I thought Flores' footwork and evasive movements would be too much of a challenge for Frevola in this fight, but I was very wrong. Frevola is more of a fighter than I had expected.
There still seems to be holes there, though. Frevola's chin is always up when he throws punches. Opponents are often too busy moving away from Frevola's forward-rush that they don't think to stand and counter. The first fighter brave enough to stand their ground with Frevola will find a home for their shots.
At the conclusion of Contender Series 8, White excitedly shared:
There's no way in hell we're not taking Matt Frevola. He can dish out it and he can take it too. He was hurt badly from some big knees but kept coming forward.
Lauren Mueller stepped in on less than a week's notice and defeated Kelly Velasco via unanimous decision at Contender Series 8. The judge's scored the bout 30-26, 30-27 (x2), but the fight provided many competitive moments that a scorecard such as this would not correctly portray.
Mueller claims that she was born to be a fighter. After watching her on Tuesday night, I believe it too. She's a brawler with outstanding courage and forward momentum. Understandably, Mueller started to slow down as the fight progressed, mainly due to taking this fight on short notice. However, there were some signs of lasting and more significant issues that will need to be addressed before she is a true competitor in the UFC.
Firstly, Mueller's striking combinations needs some more fluidity. When Mueller attempts her right kick to the body, her combination comes to a sudden end as she is seemingly unable to continue through with any other strikes. In most cases, this isn't a big deal. However, it was quickly apparent that Mueller's hands are down and her chin is exposed when she attempts this kick. A well-timed counter punch over the top of her right kick will floor her; this needs to be addressed.
It was easy to be impressed by Mueller's clinch-work and damaging knees in close exchanges. Because Mueller is unable to follow-through with a strike after her right kick, she instead moved forward after attempting it and pushed Kelly Velasco into the cage. It was here where Mueller controlled the fight.
A fully prepared and conditioned Lauren Mueller is going to be a dangerous addition to the UFC's women's bantamweight division.
The final episode of Contender Series provided the most questionable contract offering of the series so far. Allen Crowder has found himself in the UFC after finishing the highly-touted and virtually undefeated Dontale Mayes in the third round. On paper, it's an impressive victory for the 9-2 heavyweight, but it wasn't easy to the eyes.
Mid-way through the second round, Snoop Dogg commented: "these guys aren't getting a contract". While Snoop has drawn plenty of criticism for his sometimes harsh commentary and opinions, he symbolizes the 'casual fan' for all of us who are well-studied MMA diehards. For the record, I agreed with Snoop; both Mayes and Crowder were largely unimpressive.
Strangely, though, Dana White offered Crowder an opportunity that was justified by saying "we need heavyweights". Crowder is a strong and reasonably athletic heavyweight who used his strength to escape dangerous positions against a much larger heavyweight. However, the technique isn't quite there and a technically sound opponent will catch him in a submission or disallow him from passing with such ease.
There deserves to be credit for defeating Dontale Mayes; he did enter this as one of the best heavyweight prospects outside of the UFC. However, at Contender Series 8, Mayes looked slow and awkward (a polite way of saying that his fundamentals were lacking).
Allen Crowder will enter the shallow pool of heavyweight talent in the UFC. Though, I believe that he enters the division at the very bottom and I question the decision making by the UFC.
What did you think about this 'season' of the Contender Series? Leave a comment below!
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