While the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) impending return to Fight Island will put the show on hiatus, Dana White’s “Tuesday Night Contender Series” still has plenty more to offer, and another 10 promising newcomers will test their mettle tonight (Tues., Sept. 8, 2020).
The roster grew by three last week as William Knight made it 2-0 on the show with a violent elbow knockout, underdog Ronnie Lawrence ran roughshod over Jose Johnson, and Jimmy Flick’s endless submission onslaught brought him victory over unbeaten Nate Smith on short notice.
This time around, Light Heavyweight finisher Tafon Nchukwi (3-0) looks to build off of his knockout of Knight against Hawaii’s Al Matavao (8-2) in the main event. In addition, Cameron Church (4-0) faces Sherrard Blackledge (4-0) in a clash of unbeaten Lightweights, Phil Hawes (7-2) attempts to redeem himself opposite Khadzhimurat Bestaev (10-3). Fury FC Bantamweight champ Mana Martinez (6-1) locks horns with former King of the Cage title challenger Drako Rodriguez (6-1), and former Fight Nights Global Interim Welterweight champ Aliaskhab Khizriev (12-0) returns from a 2.5-years absence to fight top Japanese Middleweight Henrique Shiguemoto (13-3-1).
‘Contender Series’ Quick Results:
Tafon Nchukwi vs. Al Matavao — Nchukwi def. Matavao by KO (head kick) at 2:01 of Round Two — HIGHLIGHTS!
Cameron Church vs. Sherrard Blackledge — Blackledge def. Church by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)
Phillip Hawes vs. Khadzhimurat Bestaev — Hawes def. Bestaev by TKO (punches) at 1:18 of Round One
Mana Martinez vs. Drako Rodriguez — Rodriguez def. Martinez by technical submission (triangle choke) at 2:22 of Round One
Aliaskhab Khizriev vs. Henrique Shiguemoto — Khizriev def. Shiguemoto by submission (rear naked choke) at 0:50 of Round One
‘Contender Series’ Play-By-Play Results:
205 lbs.: Tafon Nchukwi vs. Al Matavao
Round one: Jab from Matavao. Right hook lands, sending out kicks. Nchukwi looking for right hooks. Overhand right lands for Matavao. Low kick. Nchukwi patiently advancing. Matavao throwing from both stances, gets cracked by a straight left a minute in. Nchukwi steps into the clinch and lands knees, avoiding combos on the exit. Matavao continues to move and send out straights. Nchukwi catches him circling with a hook, walks into a counter combo. 1-2-3-knee from Nchukwi two minutes in. Body kick connects. Right hand exchange. 1-2 from Matavao, body shot falls short. Matavao catches him coming in with a right hand that appears to rattle Nchukwi. Heavy body kick met by an Nchukwi body punch. Two minutes to go.
They trade lefts. Nchukwi to the body. Right hook from Matavao, then a straight. Nchukwi body kicks. Matavao responds with low kicks. One minute to go. Matavao slips a combo, lands a straight right. They trade kicks. Matavao 1-2 and counter right, takes a glancing knee and jab. Matavao lands a body shot, eats a glancing head kick, slips throwing a knee. 10-9 Nchukwi.
Round two: Nchukwi pressing forward, looking busier. Good combinations to the body against the fence. 1-2 by Matavao, then a leg kick and left hook. Matavao combination met by a jab. One minute in. Nchukwi tries a head kick, combinations comes back at him. Hard straight right by Nchukwi. Combination near the fence. Head kick attempt, left hook. Matavao gets too predictable angling off and Nchukwi catches him with a clean head kick that knocks him cold.
Final result: Nchukwi def. Matavao by KO (head kick)
155 lbs.: Cameron Church vs. Sherrard Blackledge
Round one: Church opens with low kicks. Jab exchange. Blackledge attempts a reactive takedown and hauls him to the fence. Church reverses and separates a minute in. Jabs from Blackledge, avoids a spinning back kick and lands an overhand right. Church continuing to target the lead leg. Counters from Blackledge. Nice exchanges near the fence. Church punishing the lead leg as they trade in the pocket. Two minutes in. Church tries a head kick and follows up with a right downstairs. Blackledge comes back with a right hand and a double-leg into half guard. Church stands and separates, then goes back to stalking. Left hook lands for Blackledge and he slips a combo. Church low kick, Blackledge 1-2. Head kick appears to slip through Blackledge’s guard. Both fire head kicks with two minutes to go.
Blackledge catches a kick and shoots. Trading knees inside. Knee and some nice punches inside by Blackledge as they separate. Church with a body kick. Jab upstairs, clean 1-2, jab exchange with a minute to go. Blackledge catches him throwing with a right hand. Nice reactive takedown into half guard. Blackledge stays heavy, lands a right as Church stands. Close round. 10-9 Church.
Round two: Blackledge lands a counter right and eats a cross counter. He shoots, denied, lands a nasty knee to the groin. Church takes some time to recover, then goes back to pressing forward. Good exchanges. Low kicks from Church. Blackledge to the body. Church pushes him back with a combo and eats a head kick. Both land right hands. Bleckledge double kick, both land kicks inside. Big clinch knee by Blackledge and he tries to open up against the fence. Church knocks him back with a teep. Body shot and leg kick, which lands to the nards. Two minutes in. Cross counter by Church. Side kick upstairs. Blackledge with a leg kick and jab, tries to shoot under a right hand. Church gets underhooks to deny a good entry and they trade on the break. Another well-timed entry by Blackledge lands him on top in guard. Church spins for an armbar, can’t get it, gets to his feet. Blackledge dumps him back down with two minutes to go.
Church looking for a kimura. One minute to go. Blackledge gets his arm out and lands a left hand. Another armbar attempt and Blackledge again pulls his arm free, grabbing turtle position as Church goes to his knees. Back up, back down. Church slips out in the last few seconds. 10-9 Blackledge.
Round three: Blackledge landing lefts off the back foot. Church lands a left hook, takes a spinning elbow and knee as he continues his advance. Good left hook and leg kick. Good exchange. Blackledge shoots and they trade knees inside. Elbow by Church. One minute in. Head kick attempt and Blackledge double-legs him to the mat against the fence. Blackledge on top in guard, landing short elbows. Two minutes in. Continuing to chip away. Two minutes to go.
Church tries to kick him away and Blackledge looks for the back. Now to half guard. One minute to go. More ground-and-pound until the bell. 10-9 Blackledge.
Final result: Blackledge def. Church by unanimous decision
185 lbs.: Phillip Hawes vs. Khadzhimurat Bestaev
Round one: Trading low kicks to start. Hawes jabs the body, follows up to the leg. Bestaev threatens to jump, gets caught by an overhand right. Hawes continuing to punish the lead leg, gets countered landing a right. Bestaev looking to keep him at bay with kicks. One minute in. Bestaev looks to swing a hook and gets just demolished by an overhand right. Hawes follows him down and slugs him with hammerfists for the finish.
Final result: Hawes def. Bestaev by TKO (punches)
135 lbs.: Mana Martinez vs. Drako Rodriguez
Round one: Martinez looking to kick early. Rodriguez lands a hard counter right and takes him down off a caught kick soon after. One minute in. Martinez regains guard and looks for an armbar, Rodriguez stands and pulls his elbow free. Martinez responds with an omoplata sweep, only for Rodriguez to wrap up a triangle. Martinez lifts him in the air for a big. Two minutes in. Rodriguez continuing to squeeze and out go the lights.
Final result: Rodriguez def. Martinez by technical submission (triangle choke)
185 lbs.: Aliaskhab Khizriev vs. Henrique Shiguemoto
Round one: Khizriev tries a head kick and overhand left. Both land body kicks and Shiguemoto tries a head kick,. Khizriev slips, shoots, dumps him to eh mat and immediately takes the back. He’s already got the RNC and there the tap.
Final result: Khizriev def. Shiguemoto by submission (rear naked choke)
For more “Contender Series” news and notes, be sure to hit up our comprehensive archive right here.
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