Ten more would-be Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contenders will attempt to join a record-breaking number of signees tonight (Tues., Sept. 1, 2020) as Dana White’s “Tuesday Night Contender Series” rolls on.
Last week’s bushel of four upped this season’s total to 16; Jamie Pickett finally achieved victory in his third attempt with a main event knockout of Jhonoven Pati, Rafael Alves choked out Alejandro Flores, Jeffrey Molina out-lasted Jacob Silva, and Collin Huckbody scored an easy win.
Tonight’s ESPN+ show, which as always kicks off at 8 p.m. ET, sees Featherweight Ray Longo protege Dennis Buzukja (4-1) take on Armenia’s Melsik Baghdasaryan (4-1). In addition, long-time Flyweight veteran Jimmy Flick (14-5) steps in on short notice to fight Elevation Fight Team product Nate Smith (6-0), Bantamweight Jose Johnson (11-5) faces Ronnie Lawrence (5-1), former developmental contract winner William Knight (7-1) looks to upgrade to the full contract against unbeaten Cody Brundage (5-0), and Shogun Fights Lightweight champ Tucker Lutz (9-1) opens the show opposite late replacement Chase Gibson (9-4)
‘Contender Series’ Quick Results:
Dennis Buzukja vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan — Baghdasaryan def. Buzukja by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
Jimmy Flick vs. Nate Smith — Flick def. Smith by submission (arm triangle choke) at 3:15 of Round Three
Jose Johnson vs. Ronnie Lawrence — Lawrence def. Johnson by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
William Knight vs. Cody Brundage — Knight def. Brundage by TKO (elbows and punches) at 2:23 of Round One
Tucker Lutz vs. Chase Gibson — Lutz def. Gibson by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
‘Contender Series’ Play-By-Play Results:
145 lbs.: Dennis Buzukja vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan
Round one: Baghdasaryan advancing early, tries a body kick. Hard body kick opens up a flurry that prompts Buzukja to tie up. Knees from Baghdasaryan. They separate. Body kick, straight left, and some heavy knees by Baghdasaryan. Looking to tear into Buzukja in the clinch. One minute in. Trading knees inside. Elbows from Baghdasaryan against the fence. Knees to the body. Buzukja lands a knee, tries an elbow on the break. Head kick from Baghdasaryan, back to the clinch with knees. He changes levels, lands left hands as Buzukja stands. Two minutes in. Buzukja tries a throw, separates. Low kick knocks Baghdasaryan over for a moment. He punches his way back into the clinch briefly. Straight left connects. Two minutes to go.
Another clean straight left and body kick. Counter straight left, then a body shot. Buzukja tries a body kick, eats a teep. Heavy body kick from Baghdasaryan, just walking Buzukja down. Two heavy straight lefts into the clinch. One minute to go. Buzukja puts him on the fence and looks for a single-leg, He wants the back as Baghdasaryan gets to the fence and tries to stand. Knees from Buzukja. Baghdasaryan makes it to his feet. 10-9 Baghdasaryan.
Round two: Exchanging kicks to start. Buzukja tries a front kick. Low kicks. Baghdasaryan tries a straight left, lands a 3-2. Spinning back kick attempt. Buzukja sending out kicks, takes an elbow on the break. One minute in. Buzukja lands a body shot and shrugs off the counter left. Low kicks from Buzukja. Baghdasaryan trying front kicks, lands another straight left. Another. Check hook. Buzukja still picking away at his legs. Low kick to right hand two minutes in. Good body kick, tries to go high. Head-and-arm throw puts Buzukja on top against the fence. Baghdasaryan stands, Buzukja still attached. Good knee and body shot from Buzukja on the break. Baghdasaryan slips. Two minutes to go.
Trading in the center. Elbow lands for Buzukja and he takes him to the fence. One minute to go. Knee from Buzukja. Elbow from Baghdasaryan in return and a body kick. Counter left connects after he takes a jab. Straight left met by Buzukja knees and Buzukja looks for the back. They separate. Buzukja tries a head kick and lands a right hand. Hard counter right at the bell. 10-9 Buzukja.
Round three: Buzukja coming out aggressively. Straight left from Baghdasaryan, then another behind it. Front kicks downstairs. Counter right by Buzukja and he ties up for a moment. They trade knees inside. One minute to go. Baghdasaryan tries a head kick, lands jabs. Left hand, then a 1-2 after eating a leg kick. Right hand and counters by Buzukja. Baghdasaryan with a spinning back kick downstairs. Brief clinch two minutes in. Left hands from Baghdasaryan. Buzukja tries to shoot, gets pulled to the mat, tries to scramble to the back. Baghdasaryan returns to his feet, lands a body kick and straight left before clinching again on the fence. Buzukja tries an outside trip and eats a knee for his trouble. Two minutes to go.
As Baghdasaryan looks for a rear waist lock, Buzukja grabs a kimura and uses it to transition to an armbar. It looks deep, but Baghdasaryan extracts his arm and stands. Buzukja cracks him with a counter uppercut, gets clinched for a moment anyway. One minute to go. They’re both exhausted. Straight left by Baghdasaryan, then one to counter a low kick. Baghdasaryan puts him on the fence. Knee downstairs. He swings on the break, takes a knee to the body. Another hard knee from Baghdasaryan. 10-9 Baghdasaryan.
Final result: Baghdasaryan def. Buzukja by unanimous decision
125 lbs.: Jimmy Flick vs. Nate Smith
Round one: They trade low kicks to start, then Flick punishes a Smith slip with punches. Simultaneous kicks put Flick on top in half guard. He spins to the back, looking for hooks. One minute in. Smith rolling, manages to sweep into top position and drop elbows. Solid shots and he settles in side control. Knees to the body. Flick suddenly wraps up a straight armbar that looks viciously deep, but Smith manages to extract his arm, only to get caught in an anaconda choke as he tries to sweep. Smith scrambles free, so Flick transitions to a guillotine with two minutes to go.
Smith survives once again and now it’s a Jack Hermansson-style guillotine attempt after a brief attempt at the back. Smith works his way free and gets to his feet. One minute to go. Left hand by Flick on the break. Brazilian kick attempt. Body kick lands. Calf kick, body kick. One more body kick. 10-9 Flick, almost 10-8.
Round two: Low kick exchange. Smith tries an overhand right, counters a body kick with a left hand. Calf kicks connect. Flick answers with a low kick, right hand, and body kick. Superman punch into a takedown attempt. Smith looks to answer with a kimura, but ends up on the bottom in mount. Flick trying to set up an arm triangle a minute in. Short left hands. Smith brings up his legs for a triangle, but Flick has a hand inside two minutes in. Smith still squeezing as Flick stacks him. Knees to the body and short elbows from Flick as he defends. Two minutes to go.
Flick gets his head free and takes side control. Elbow lands for him, then he wraps up a guillotine as Smith turns into him. He takes mount, loses the choke, lands elbows. Looking to set up an arm triangle again. One minute to go. Drops the choke, drops elbows, steps over for an armbar and goes belly-down. He transitions to an omoplata, then a deep triangle. Smith is saved by the bell. 10-8 Flick.
Round three: They start the round trading calf kicks. Smith lands a clean front kick to the head that draws a smile and nod. Flick shoots and dumps him into side control near the fence. One minute in. Flick staying heavy, gets caught in half guard. Elbows to the body. He steps directly into mount. Good elbows. Smith gives up his back and Flick looks for the RNC. Back to half guard. More elbows, back to mount with two minutes to go.
There’s the arm triangle again and this one’s deep. Smith is forced to tap and Flick caps off a terrific performance with a finish.
Final result: Flick def. Smith by submission (arm triangle choke)
135 lbs.: Jose Johnson vs. Ronnie Lawrence
Round one: Johnson sending out kicks to start, tries a 1-2. Hard 1-2 stings Lawrence, who wraps up a body lock and takes him down into butterfly guard. Johnson tries to use the fence to sweep, lands an upkick. One minute in. Johnson stands, caught in a front headlock. Knees from Lawrence. He regains the body lock and takes him back down. Johnson trying to kick him away, gets caught in side control. Johnson gets a butterfly hook in and regains guard two minutes in. Lawrence looks for a guillotine as Johnson scrambles, loses it, puts him on the fence. Lawrence drags him to his knees, but slips off looking for the back. Two minutes to go.
Lawrence lands a spinning back kick to the nards, then visibly stings Johnson with calf kicks. Johnson catches one and tries to come back with an elbow. Spinning back kick and shot attempt by Lawrence. More calf kicks. One minute to go. Head kick attempt. Body shot. Nice double-leg into guard. Johnson gets to his feet, lands a right hand as Lawrence falls to his back, gets taken down again before the bell. 10-9 Lawrence.
Round two: More calf kicks from Lawrence. Body kick from Johnson. Lawrence circling well, lands another double-leg and looks for side control. Now mount for a moment before Johnson regains guard a minute in. Lawrence landing punches from guard. Two minutes in. Johnson looking to land off of his back. He gets a bit of space and stands, looking for a knee on the break. Lawrence shoots, denied. Straight right by Johnson, trying to pursue, lands a couple Browne elbows when Lawrence shoots. Johnson denies the initial shot and lands an elbow, only to be dragged down into side control on the re-entry. Two minutes to go.
Nice standup by Johnson into a rear waist lock. Lawrence briefly considers a kimura, lands a calf kick. Another body lock takedown by Lawrence into side control. He tries to step into mount, gets swept into guard with a minute to go. Johnson avoids an armbar, landing shots. Lawrence looks for a triangle armbar at the bell. Closer round. 10-9 Lawrence.
Round three: Lawrence opens with a wheel kick that apperas to land clean, then a spinning back kick and calf kick. Johnson tries a head kick, ties up, uses a kimura to deny a takedown but gets taken down again on the next shot. One minute in. Lawrence gets Johnson from his rear to his back and sets up in guard. Johnson tries an armbar and spins to his knees, only to give up his back. He makes it to his feet, taken down again. Lawrence on top in guard. On to half guard with two minutes to go.
Lawrence briefly gets mount, back to half guard, back to full guard. He tries to get to side control, settles for half guard. Now side control. 10-9 Lawrence.
Final result: Lawrence def. Johnson by unanimous decision
205 lbs.: William Knight vs. Cody Brundage
Round one: Knight opens with a leg kick and Brundage responds with a double-leg behind an overhand right. Knight looks for a guillotine as he defends, looks to scramble as he lands in side control, and gets his back taken. Brundage flattens him out and starts slugging. One minute in. Things slow down as Knight locks up his wrists. Knight gets to his knees, manages to stand, eats a right hand and has to deal with another level change two minutes in. This time, he responds with Travis Browne elbows that crumple Brundage, then slams home punches for the finish.
Final result: Knight def. Brundage by TKO (elbows and punches)
155 lbs.: Tucker Lutz vs. Chase Gibson
Round one: Gibson circling early. Lutz tries a body kick, eats one in return. Gibson to the body to answer a leg kick. Counter Superman punch. Head kick just misses. One minute in. Wonky body kick attempt, attempts to counter a body kick. Lutz looking for leg kicks. Combination from Gibson, avoids a low kick. Lutz lands a jab. Two minutes in. Big 2-1 from Gibson as they trade. Lutz tries a body kick and 3-2. Low kick connects as he eats a right hand. Gibson looks for a head kick, eats a low kick. Simultaneous kicks with two minutes to go.
More leg kicks from Lutz as he advances. Gibson slips as they trade, eats a heavy right hand as Lutz sets up in his guard. Lutz wants the back with a minute to go. Dropping punches from the rear waist lock. Gibson trying to throw back elbows, eats a body kick on the way up. 10-9 Gibson?
Round two: Gibson circling once again, blocks a body kick. Lutz lands a combination, follows up to the body. Looking a little freer with his hands. Another body kick, blocks a head kick in return. One minute in. They trade kicks, low kick from Lutz afterwards. Left hand to the body. Gibson lands a leg kick, counters the return with a left hand. 1-2. Two minutes in. Lutz lands a combo on the fence and Gibson punches his way out, only to eat a clean combo. They trade in the center. Gibson body kick, right hands just miss. Lutz sends out jabs. Combinations piling up for him. Two minutes to go.
Body shots from Lutz, avoids the counter. Gibson definitely looks like he’s flagging. Body kick and jab land for him, though. Low kick from him met by combinations. One minute to go. Lutz potshotting against the fence. Both try head kicks. Nice counter overhand by Gibson. More combination work by Lutz, mixing in body shots. They tie up before the bell. 10-9 Lutz.
Round three: Left hooks to low kicks from Lutz. More low kicks. Counter right. Gibson with a 1-2 downstairs. Lutz continuing to let the combinations go. Low kick exchange. Low-high combo a minute in. Nice right hand knocks Lutz back. Gibson now pressuring a bit, eats left hooks, lands a body kick. More Lutz jabs met by a head kick. Straight lefts landing from southpaw. Gibson to the body two minutes in. Lutz comes back with a combo, eats another straight right. Lutz lands a body kick, counters a leg kick. Gibson ducks a punch and shoots, taking him to the fence. Lutz reverses, uses a whizzer to deny a takedown, and looks for the back with two minutes to go.
Lutz landing punches from turtle. One minute to go. Gibson suddenly hits the switch and latches onto his back. Looking for the last-second choke, can’t find it. 10-9 Lutz.
Final result: Lutz def. Gibson by unanimous decision
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