Dana White’s weekly series “job interviews” continues this evening with week eight (of season five) of “Contender Series,” which will stream live on ESPN+ tonight (Tues., Oct. 19, 2021) from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Last week’s three finishes produced a commensurate trio of contracts. Slava Borshchev stole the show with a brutal finish of Chris Duncan, Martin Buday dispatched Lorenzo Hood with a nasty knee, and Jake Hadley made up for missing weight by submitting Mitch Raposo in the second round.
This week’s main event pits Tiger Schulmann acolyte Solomon Renfro (8-1) against Ricardo Chavez (7-2) in a battle of Welterweight prospects. The co-feature is also the sole women’s fight, which sees Valesca Machado (8-2) take on LFA Strawweight Champion Piera Rodriguez (6-0).
Recent “Contender Series” victor Caio Borralho (9-1) makes a three-week turnaround against Jesse Murray (8-3) up at Light Heavyweight, Armen Petrosyan (5-1) takes on fellow finisher Kaloyan Kolev (10-0) and James Barnes (14-4) fights Shooto Brasil veteran Pedro Falcao in the Bantamweight opener.
‘Contender Series’ Quick Results:
Solomon Renfro vs. Jonny Parsons — Parsons def. Renfro by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Valesca Machado vs. Piera Rodriguez — Rodriguez def. Machado by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Caio Borralho vs. Jesse Murray — Borralho def. Murray by TKO (punches) at 1:41 of Round One
Armen Petrosyan vs. Kaloyan Kolev — Petrosyan def. Kolev by KO (knee) at 4:27 of Round One
James Barnes vs. Pedro Falcao — Falcao def. Barnes by KO (punches) at 3:55 of Round Three
‘Contender Series’ Play-By-Play Results:
170 lbs.: Solomon Renfro vs. Jonny Parsons
Round one: Body kick from Parsons to start. Low kick soon after. Counters land for Renfro. Body shots. One minute in. Apparent clash of heads in the center, then Parsons fires a head kick. Hard body work from both men. Renfro follows up by dropping him with some vicious punches. Heavy exchanges on the fence. Parsons firing back as he absorbs heavy body blows. Two minutes in. Parsons fires a body kick after things slow down. Renfro to the body, eats a hard 1-2. Renfro combo blocked. Low kick from Parsons. Two minutes to go.
Sharp jabs by Renfro. Counter left drops Parsons as he throws a naked low kick. Renfro lands a knee on the way up. Cuffing right hook. One minute to go. Parsons with a body kick to 1-2. Renfro answers a trip attempt with a takedown against the fence. Parsons works his way to his feet and separates. Some late fire from Parsons. 10-9 Renfro.
Round two: Parsons lands a right hand to the body, tries a head kick behind it. Heavy right cross. Low kick to body kick. Uppercut just misses. Clean 1-2. One minute in. Renfro looks for the body. Hard right hand connects. Parsons right cross. Renfro body shot met by a low kick. 1-2 from Parsons. Two minutes in. Both whiff big in center cage. Parsons tris a Brazilian kick. Renfro body shot, Parsons two-piece. Heavy exchange. More body blows by Renfro. Two minutes to go.
Low kick from Parsons, Brazilian kick just misses. Parsons steps in with a pair of hard rights, eats body shots, takes a hook upstairs. Renfro lead right to body shot. Parsons tries an elbow and gets taken down into half guard for it. One minute to go. Staying heavy, landing occasional punches. 10-9 Renfro.
Round three: Parsons charges out with a flying knee, lands an elbow and right cross when that doesn’t work. Renfro continuing to target the body. He shoots, denied. Right hand downstairs. One minute in. Jab and low kick from Persons, tries a head kick. Huge uppercut that Renfro absorbs and counters. Parsons 1-2. Step-in body kick and 1-2, denies the shot behind it. Renfro looks for combinations. Two minutes in. Both hit the body. Parsons whiffs a Superman elbow and separates when Renfro tries to clinch. Low kick lands. Two minutes to go.
Liver kick from Parsons, tries to follow up with head kicks. Renfro lands a glancing right that catches Parsons off-balance. 1-2-3 from Renfro, counter right. Parsons cracks him with a cross in return, then goes to the body. One minute to go. Renfro catches a body kick, Parsons once again foot sweeps him and separates. Renfro counter left. Parsons low kick met by another counter. Renfro tries a reactive shot, lands a knee on the exit. Parsons goes for a flying knee, hits a fancy foot sweep. 10-9 Parsons.
Final result: Parsons def. Renfro by split decision
115 lbs.: Valesca Machado vs. Piera Rodriguez
Round one: Machado light on her feet, jabs the body. Good right cross connects. 3-2. Low kick, avoids the return fire. Rodriguez tries to flurry a minute in, lands a clean counter right. Another right hand in combination sends Machado stumbling and Rodriguez follows up with more good shots. Machado seems steady. Two minutes in. Rodriguez hits a double-leg and hauls her to the fence. Machado pops up quickly and they separate. 1-2 by Machado. Rodriguez looking for counters. Trading heat with two minutes to go.
Rodriguez tries a head kick. She shoots, denied, lands a heavy combo on the break. Machado doubles up with right crosses, eats one in the clinch. One minute to go. Machado framing, landing elbows. They exchange on the break. Hard left hook by Machado, who stuffs a shot. 10-9 Rodriguez.
Round two: 1-2-1-2 by Machado, who stuffs a shot. Combination from Rodriguez. One minute in. Brutal counter 2-3 that Machado absorbs. Machado cracks her with a left hook as they exchange, which Rodriguez answers with a body kick. Machado body kick. Two minutes in. Point-blank exchange, both connect. 1-2-3 lands for Rodriguez. Machado 1-2. Nice whizzer by Machado to deny a takedown. Two minutes to go.
They separate soon after. They trade jabs. Machado pushing forward, avoids a spin and ties up. Rodriguez reverses with a minute to go. Rodriguez gets the body lock but can’t complete the shot. 10-9 Machado.
Round three: Teep lands for Rodriguez, who eats a hard left hook. Jab from Rodriguez. Low kick exchange. Rodriguez shoots and takes her to the fence a minute in. Elbow and uppercut land for her before they separate. Machado comes back with some hard right hands that prompt Rodriguez to clinch. Trading on the break. Hard left hook by Rodriguez. Two minutes in. Machado with a good clinch knee, succumbs to a double-leg. Machado scoots to the fence. She stands, connects with two minutes to go.
Tired-looking shot by Rodriguez. Machado lands well in the clinch before separating. 2-3 from Rodriguez, front kick downstairs. Machado punches into the clinch. Good knee comes back at her and Rodriguez completes the takedown into guard. One minute to go. Back up, back down. Rodriguez takes mount and tries to drop bombs at the bell. 10-9 Rodriguez but you could argue it for Machado.
Final result: Rodriguez def. Machado by unanimous decision
205 lbs.: Caio Borralho vs. Jesse Murray
Round one: Murray circling, sending out kicks. Side kick from Borralho. Murray looks for a combination that Borralho backs away from. Body shot connects. One minute in. Nice body kick by Borralho, then to the head. Borralho answers a hard cross with one of his own, then crumples him with a right hook. Borralho jumps on him and hammers away until the ref intervenes.
Final result: Borralho def. Murray by TKO (punches)
205 lbs.: Armen Petrosyan vs. Kaloyan Kolev
Round one: Early low kick from Petrosyan. Sharp check hook, but Kolev powers through it for an easy double-leg. Petrosyan trying to stand against the fence, gets manhandled back down. Kolev takes the back a minute in, loses it. Still attached as Petrosyan works his way up. Holding Petrosyan against the fence. He tries for a low single, can’t get it. Running the pipe briefly gets Petrosyan down. Petrosyan separates with two minutes to go.
Heavy strikes from Petrosyan, but a spinning back fist allows Kolev to tie back up. Petrosyan with a head kick on the break, heavy left hook. Kolev shoots in response, denied. Petrosyan bombing away with heavy punches, catches him leaning with a head kick that lands on the knee. Kolev slumps and Petrosyan polishes him off with a few more punches.
Final result: Petrosyan def. Kolev by KO (knee)
135 lbs.: James Barnes vs. Pedro Falcao
Round one: Low kick lands for Falcao. He tries to shift into range and Barnes puts him on the fence. Barnes has his hands locked. One minute in. Looking for knees. Falcao reverses, digs a knee downstairs. They separate two minutes in. Low kick from Falcao after taking some punches. Barnes continuing to press forward. Knee from Falcao, who shoots from too far out. Barnes sprawls and lands a knee upstairs from the front headlock. He changes levels on the fence. Two minutes to go.
Falcao defends with a whizzer. They separate. Low kick from Falcao with a minute to go. Front kick to the body. Barnes fires a lead right and shoots, only for Falcao to frame, separate, and land a left hook. Hard right cross. Elbow attempt, body kicks. 10-9 Falcao.
Round two: Barnes opens with a low kick, eats a low-high 1-2. Falcao low kick. He circles away from a shot. Barnes shoots again, can’t quite muscle him down thanks to Falcao’s whizzer. Nice knee by Barnes before they separate. Falcao changes levels at range and dumps him into guard a minute in. Short punches from the top. Half guard now. Two minutes in. Barnes elevates to regain guard but gives up side control. Barnes uses the fence to rebuild his base and get to his feet, Falcao still attached. Falcao slams him down with a bodylock, taking side control with two minutes to go.
Falcao postures up for some heavier shots. Slick move to mount with more than a minute to work. He wraps up an arm triangle as Barnes tries to defend the strikes, but the fence is in the way. Barnes waits it out, so Falcao postures back up and pounds from the back. 10-9 Falcao.
Round three: Falcao stuffs a shot, then shoots in return. Another nice takedown into side control. Barnes spins and turns it into his own takedown, which he completes a minute in. Falcao uses the cage to stand. He separates, stuffs a shot, and shoves him down into guard two minutes in. Half guard. Staying heavy, looking for short blows. Two minutes to go.
Looking for mount after pulling Barnes away from the fence. He does so, then postures up to bomb Barnes out with vicious punches.
Final result: Falcao def. Barnes by KO (punches)
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