Dana White’s Tuesday night “Contender Series” kicks off tonight (July 11, 2017) from inside UFC’s Training Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Fight Pass. And there is some promising up-and-coming mixed martial arts (MMA) talent in tow. The main event pits CES Featherweight Champion Matt Bessette against UFC veteran and current Interim Titan FC Lightweight Champion Kurt Holobaugh, while Heavyweight sluggers Greg Rebello and Azunna Anyanwu duke it out in the co-main.
In addition, blue-chip Bantamweight prospects Boston Salmon and Ricky Turcios will do battle as well, plus former UFC competitors
Justin Jones and Joby Sanchez against Charles Byrd and Manny Vazquez, respectively.
DANA WHITE’S ‘CONTENDER SERIES’ 1 QUICK RESULTS:
Kurt Holobaugh def. Matt Bessette by KO (punches)
Azunna Anyanwu def. Greg Rebello by KO (punches)
Boston Salmon def. Ricky Turcios by unanimous decision
Charles Byrd def. Jamie Pickett by submission (arm triangle choke)
Joby Sanchez def. Manny Vazquez by unanimous decision
DANA WHITE’S ‘CONTENDER SERIES 1’ PLAY-BY-PLAY UPDATES:
Matt Bessette vs. Kurt Holobaugh
Round one: Holobaugh in gray, Bessette in red. Overhand right and glancing head kick from Bessette. Low kick exchange. Holobaugh presses forward. They trade and Holobaugh hurts him with a straight right. He’s ripping him to the head and body against the fence. Bessette ties up and recovers. One minute in. Holobaugh finding the mark with his hands. Low kick connects. Right hand by Bessette. Counter right by Holobaugh buzzes Bessette. Left hook lands upstairs. Two minutes in. Holobaugh working behind the jab as Bessette fires kicks. Body shots by Holobaugh inside, 1-1-2 upstairs. Overhand right as they separate, counter from Bessette. Another right hand from Holobaugh rocks Bessette and he unloads once again, ultimately crushing Bessette with a right hand that cracks like a firework.
Final result: Holobaugh def. Bessette by KO (punches)
Greg Rebello vs. Azunna Anyanwu
Round one: Rebello in green, Anyanwu in gray. Overhand left by Rebello around the guard. Anyanwu tries a head kick just over a minute in, Rebello tries to come back with the overhand left. Anyanwu on the front foot, eats leg kicks. Straight left by Rebello. Right hook lands for him, right comes back from Anyanwu. More straight lefts by Rebello with two minutes to go..
Rebello with another leg kick thirty seconds later. Anyanwu right hand, then one on the counter. Rebello comes back with a left hand. One minute to go. Anyanwu catches a head kick and takes him down into half guard. 10-9 Rebello.
Round two: Right hook by Rebello. Right hands land for Anyanwu, Rebello backs him off with a quick flurry. One minute in. Straight left by Rebello, right hook. He’s got some seriously fast hands. Straight left again. Big uppercut knocks Anyanwu back. They trade on the fence. Rebello with another straight left two minutes in, then follows another one up with an uppercut. Anyanwu prods low and high with his right hand, eats a left downstairs. 3-2 from Rebello, straight left. Anyanwu with an uppercut on the fence, then crushes Rebello with an overhand right. Follow-up hammerfists send the ref into action.
Final result: Anyanwu def. Rebello by KO (punches)
Boston Salmon vs. Ricky Turcios
Round one: Salmon in red, Turcios in green. Turcios busy with kicks early, eats a hard left hand. Another left connects, as does a counter as Turcios lands a body kick. One minute in. Salmon finding his mark early as Turcios picks away at his legs. Two head kicks from Turicos blocked. He ducks a right hand and shoots, but Salmon limp-legs out. Hard counters from Salmon. Straight left as he takes a leg kick. Both land good right hands. Two minutes to go.
Body kick and right hand by Turcios. Left hand by Salmon once again. Turcios still throwing kicks. One minute to go. Leg kick lands. Salmon with a booming counter left. They trade to end the round. 10-9 Salmon.
Round two: Salmon’s blocking the body kicks and countering the low kicks. Another hard left hand, Turcios counters with a head kick that Salmon absorbs. More leg kicks from Turcios. One minute in. Left to the body by Salmon. Counter right hook and he sprawls on a Turcios takedown. Two minutes in. Salmon digs a right to the body, eats a low kick. Turcios still throwing kicks, none of them clean. Salmon continues to punish the body. Two minutes to go.
Head kick from Turcios. Salmon bangs to the body with a left-right. Turcios shoots, stuffed. One minute to go. Salmon with a counter combination capped by a right hook. Turcios really not offering much besides these kicks, which aren’t making an impact. Right hands land for him, Salmon comes back with the straight left. 10-9 Salmon.
Round three: Salmon fires counters, Turcios digs a body kick. Straight left from Salmon. Right hook by Salmon met by a body kick. Salmon drops him with another right hook, Turcios pops right back up. One minute in. Turcios ties up on the fence. Salmon with some hard knees. Turcios tries some dirty boxing as well, eats a hard right hook to the body and a right uppercut. Turcios pressuring on the fence, lands a right hand as he shoots. Turcios starting to land. They trade knees. More knees. They separate. Combination from Salmon. Two minutes to go.
1-2 lands. Counter right hook. Good elbow upstairs, then another right hook. He’s looking to finish Turcios methinks. Turcios with right hands. Body kicks from both. Left hand by Salmon. One minute to go. Knees from Turcios on the fence. Salmon with a left downstairs. More clinchwork by Turcios, eats a bog knee. Salmon’s swinging big. 10-9 Salmon.
Final result: Salmon def. Turcios by unanimous decision
Jamie Pickett vs. Charles Byrd
Round one: Pickett in red, Byrd in blue. Byrd firing kicks early on against the much taller Pickett. Good low kicks. Pickett ducks in and takes him down on the fence. One minute in. Pickett puts in a hook. Byrd rolls and surrenders half guard. He makes his way to his feet, but gets downed once again two minutes in. Again to his feet, Pickett stays attached. Two minutes to go.
Byrd grabs double underhooks and hauls him to another part of the fence, landing a good knee before they separate. He avoids a takedown and scores one of his own, but Pickett makes it to his feet when Byrd tries to take his back and they separate. Two rights from Byrd with a minute to go. Hard knee to the body by Pickett in return, but Byrd lands a spinning elbow and reverses a takedown into top position. Hard right hands. Crucifix now and he locks up an arm triangle. Pickett tries to grit his way through to the end of the round, but goes to sleep.
Final result: Byrd def. Pickett by technical submission (arm triangle choke)
Joby Sanchez vs. Manny Vazquez
Round one: Vazquez in green, Sanchez in gray/blue. Sanchez opens with low kicks. Left hook lands for him, Vazquez answers in kind. One minute in. Right hand and left hook inside by Sanchez, who’s quite a bit busier than his foe at the moment. Vazquez ducks for a single as Sanchez advances, can’t use it. They clash inside with dirty boxing from Sanchez and knees by Vazquez. Two minutes in and they separate. Sanchez shrugs off a low blow. Head kick blocked. Sanchez presses forward, but gets dropped hard by a counter when Vazquez’s back hits the fence.
Vazquez transitions from the front headlock to the back with about ninety seconds to work. Full body triangle. Vazquez chipping away. He can’t get the choke before the bell. 10-9 Vazquez.
Round two: Sanchez wades back into the clinch and scores a takedown of his own, avoiding the switch as he does. He takes side control as Vazquez tries to scramble, then grabs a Japanese necktie when Vazquez turns into him. Vazquez looking to take him down in return, no dice and Sanchez lands elbows after Vazquez pops free and returns to guard. Vazquez gives up his back and Sanchez drops punches with a hook in. More punches from Sanchez. He’s putting some heat on these. Two minutes to go.
Vazquez not having any success trying to dislodge him. Both hooks in, then full mount for Sanchez, though Vazquez regains half guard with a minute to go. Sanchez again uses the Japanese necktie to deny a standup. I’m calling that a 10-8 Sanchez even under the old rules.
Round three: Vazquez hits an early takedown on the fence and puts in a hook when Sanchez stands. He pushes off the cage to try to secure back control, but it looks like he might lose it. Sanchez takes top position and Vazquez locks up his guard. Two minutes in. He passes to half guard and drops elbows. He looks for an anaconda choke and rolls for it. Vazquez manages to slip out and return to his feet. Two minutes to go.
Vazquez looks tired but he’s throwing hooks like he means it. Sanchez ties up on the fence and pulls his hips out for another takedown. Ground-and-pound right away and he returns to the one-hook control he used brilliantly last round. One minute to go. More punches from Sanchez. 10-9 Sanchez.
Final result: Sanchez def. Vazquez by unanimous decision