Season 5 of Dana White’s “Contender Series” maintains its international flavor tonight (Tues., Sept. 14, 2021) as a dozen mixed martial arts (MMA) standouts from seven different countries duke it out on ESPN+ (watch it here) for a shot at Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) glory.
Last week’s show produced another quintet of contracts. Josh Quinlan, Chidi Njokuani and C.J. Vergara left no doubts with impressive knockouts, while Saimon Oliveira and Chad Anheliger impressed with gutsy split decisions.
Thunder Fight Light Heavyweight Champion Jailton Almeida (13-2) rides an eight-fight, eight-finish streak into this week’s main event, which pits him against unbeaten ACA veteran Nasrudin Nasrudinov (11-2). Down at Bantamweight, Mo Miller (5-0) looks for his fourth consecutive finish against fellow LFA standout Brandon Lewis (5-0), while former ACB Middleweight Champion Albert Duraev (13-3) returns to the cage after three years away to face another long-absent finisher in Caio Bettencourt (14-6).
The night’s sole Heavyweight feature sees Poland’s Lukasz Brzeski (8-1-1) fight Dylan Potter (10-5) in a bout originally scheduled for two weeks ago. In addition, Jack Della Maddalena (9-2) meets Ange Loosa (7-1) in a clash of Welterweight finishers and top Flyweight prospect Jasmine Jasudavicius (4-1) opens the show against Shooto Brasil Champion Julia Polastri (8-2)
‘Contender Series’ Quick Results:
Jailton Almeida vs. Nasrudin Nasrudinov — Almeida def. Nasrudinov by submission (rear naked choke) at 1:49 of Round Two
Mo Miller vs. Brandon Lewis — Miller def. Lewis by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Albert Duraev vs. Caio Bittencourt — Duraev def. Bittencourt by submission (rear naked choke) at 3:29 of Round One
Lukasz Brzeski vs. Dylan Potter — Brzeski def. Potter by technical submission (rear naked choke) at 3:51 of Round three
Jack Della Maddalena vs. Ange Loosa — Della Maddalena def. Loosa by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Jasmine Jasudavicius vs. Julia Polastri — Jasudavicius def. Polastri by unanimous decision (29-27 x3)
‘Contender Series’ Play-By-Play Results:
205 lbs.: Jailton Almeida vs. Nasrudin Nasrudinov
Round one: Almeida sends out front kicks, then fires a double-leg into the body lock. Nasrudinov responds by throwing him to the mat, landing on top on the fence. Almeida works his way to his feet just over a minute in, holding onto the body lock as Nasrudinov lands short lefts. Nice trip after avoiding another throw. Almeida latches onto Nasrudinov’s back and looks for the RNC two minutes in. One hook in for Almeida. Nasrudinov manages to sweep into half guard. Two minutes to go.
Almeida regains guard. Nasrudinov stands over him and drops hard right hands. Almeida looks for a leglock, nothing doing. Nasrudinov lets him up. Almeida sends out more kicks with a minute to go. Hard counter right by Nasrudinov to answer a low kick. Hard left hand from Almeida, who hits an outside trip back into top position. Short right hands from turtle. Nasrudinov constantly holding the fence, gets taken down again at the bell. 10-9 Almeida.
Round two: Nasrudinov nearly catches Almeida leaning into a flying knee, but succumbs to another trip against the fence. Almeida looking for the back, struggling to get the second hook in. One minute in. Now he’s got it. He flattens Nasrudinov out and wraps up the RNC, forcing the tap.
Final result: Almeida def. Nasrudinov by submission (rear naked choke)
135 lbs.: Mo Miller vs. Brandon Lewis
Round one: Hard low kicks from Lewis to start. Miller tries a body kick. One minute in. 1-2 connects. Lewis spins him around with another head kick. Wheel kick attempt from Miller. Jab to the body. Lewis tries to spin two minutes in, eats a clean jab. Hard overhand right from Miller, who dumps him down with a single-leg. Nice riding into half guard. Left hands from Miller with two minutes to go.
Lewis regains guard. Elbows from Miller. One minute to go. Miller stands over him in the final seconds, which allows Lewis to stand. 10-9 Miller.
Round two: More hard low kicks from Lewis. Miller with a swatting overhand. Lewis continues to attack the lead leg, tries to go high. Heavy right hand by Miller a minute in. Lewis cracks him with another leg kick. Stiff jab by Miller bothers Lewis and Miller follows up with body shots into a takedown. On top in guard. Lewis tries to turn for an armbar, no dice. Miller chipping away to the body. Two minutes to go.
Lewis tries an elbow off his back. Heavy diving right by Miller into half guard. One minute to go. Miller rides out the round from guard. 10-9 Miller.
Round three: Lewis looking for 1-2s. Miller tries a head kick. Heavy low kick from Lewis. Excellent chain wrestling puts Miller on top in guard. One minute in. Lewis tries to get his legs up for a triangle, snuffed out early. Ref wants more action from Miller, who’s been very passive from the top. Two minutes in. Lewis trying to use butterfly hooks. Two minutes to go.
Lewis gets to his knees and Miller grabs a front headlock. Miller with a knee as they separate. Lewis pushing forward, cracks him with another leg kick. Well-timed reactive double puts Miller back on top in guard. Lewis slapping him off his back. Miller ends the fight on top. 10-9 Miller.
Final result: Miller def. Lewis by unanimous decision
185 lbs.: Albert Duraev vs. Caio Bittencourt
Round one: Heavy low kicks from Bittencourt, who succumbs to a double-leg against the fence despite a fence grab. Nice body lock by Duraev right into mount a minute in. He pins one of Bittencourt’s arms and swats him with at least a dozen hammerfists. Back to half guard. Bittencourt gets to his knees, continues to eat punches. Duraev hunting the back. More punches with two minutes to go.
Duraev uses the punches to set up the RNC, flattening Bittencourt out and drawing the tap. Impressively dominant performance.
Final result: Duraev def. Bittencourt by submission (rear naked choke)
265 lbs.: Lukasz Brzeski vs. Dylan Potter
Round one: Both men looking aggressive early. Brzeski trying to zero in on the lead leg. Brutal 1-2 from Brzeski, who walks into a two-piece in return. Brzeski with another heavy 1-2. Clean left hook, avoids a jumping kick. Potter counter right a minute in. Heavy punches form Brzeski on the fence. Potter tries to spin. Brzeski catches a kick and follows him down into guard. Punches landing for Brzeski. Two minutes in. Solid right hands. Potter looks for an armbar and Brzeski pulls his arm out, likewise avoiding a leglock to take side control with two minutes to go.
Potter uses the cage to flip over and get to his feet. They separate. Low kick from Potter. Slow-motion wheel kick. Brzeski tries to rush. One minute to go. Potter with a body kick in combination. Brzeski lands a knee. Potter tries a head kick and lands a counter two-piece. Short-range punches by Brzeski, stings him with right hands. 10-9 Brzeski.
Round two: More good exchanges early on. Potter fires a spinning elbow and gives up a body lock. Knee from Brzeski. Potter tries an elbow on the break. Body shot, elbow attempt. Brzeski cracks him with right hands and a clinch knee before tying up again a minute in. He separates and blasts him with more punches. Potter firing back. Continuing to exchange near the fence. 1-2 from Potter. Overhand left. Hard right hands by Brzeski. He wraps up a body lock and takes Potter down into side control. Full crucifix with two minutes to go, dropping elbows.
Potter manages to get to his knees. Punches from Brzeski. Continuing to pile up short shots with a minute to go. 10-9 Brzeski.
Round three: Brzeski wades into the clinch behind punches. They separate soon after. Wheel kick attempt. Potter with a body kick, eats a knee and uppercut. Bzeski blasts him with a two-piece that prompts a shot, then goes right back to that turtle position. One minute in. Potter manages to stand. Both fire right hands. Calf kick by Brzeski. Potter with a heavy left hook, tries a head kick. Brzeski takes him to the fence again. He separates, re-enters with a right hand. Good uppercuts, knee from the front headlock. Potter with a spinning elbow on the break. Brzeski drags him down off a failed takedown, then things get weird: he wraps up a no-hook RNC and the referee mistakes Potter’s attempt to fight the hands for a tap. Whoops.
Final result: Brzeski def. Potter by technical submission (rear naked choke)
170 lbs.: Jack Della Maddalena vs. Ange Loosa
Round one: Loosa looking to jab. Calf kicks connect. Simultaneous kicks. Another good calf kick by Loosa, who blocks a slapping right. One minute in. Double rights from Loosa. Loosa grabs a rear waist lock and a great scramble ensues, culminating in Della Maddalena nearly taking the back before they separate. Right hand stings Loosa two minutes in. Head kick, body shot, 3-2 by Della Maddalena. Loosa right cross. Nice four-piece from Della Maddalena. Two minutes to go.
Loosa with a right cross. Della Maddalena to the body. Landing jabs. Loosa body kick, just avoids a knee. Hard exchange. Both land rights. 3-2 by Della Maddalena, then a lead uppercut. Calf kick exchange with a minute to go. Loosa body kick. Della Maddalena tries a knee up the middle, eats a right hand and 1-2. Decent late work from Loosa. 10-9 Della Maddalena.
Round two: Both land good rights, then Della Maddalena stings him with a left hook and tries to follow up. Loosa hurling right hands, walks into a check hook. Good uppercut by Loosa in combination. Della Maddalena lands his own. One minute in. Cuffing right by Della Maddalena, who reverses a takedown. They separate. Loosa eats a body shot and a heavy combination behind it. Lovely boxing from Della Maddalena, who changes levels against the fence. Two minutes in. Loosa takes a knee to the jewels that looks like it really hurt. They resume after a couple minutes. Low kick from Della Maddalena. Counter right by Loosa, walks into some heavy fire soon after. Della Maddalena slips throwing a knee and ends up on the bottom in guard with two minutes to go.
Loosa suddenly wraps up an arm triangle and quickly passes to side control. Della Maddalena manages to bridge and stand with a minute to go. Back to trading punches. Calf kicks from Loosa. Nasty elbow from Della Maddalena cuts Loosa open. 10-9 Della Maddalena.
Round three: Loosa takes a nice shot after some early exchanges, Della Maddalena reverses into his own attempt. They separate. One minute in. 1-2s landing for Loosa, who eats some heavy hooks. Well-timed double by Della Maddalena that Loosa defends. Right crosses landing for Loosa. Clean uppercut, avoids an elbow. Two minutes in. Continuing to exchange. Loosa consistently finding the mark with his right hand. Della Maddalena with some swatting rights, eats a body kick and lands a 1-2. Just trading volleys. 1-2-1-2 by Della Maddalena. Two minutes to go.
Della Maddalena starting to retake momentum with clean two-piece combos. Loosa with a really nice takedown that puts him on top in half guard. Della Maddalena regains guard. One minute to go. Triangle attempt, nothing doing, gives up side control. Loosa looking for the back. Nice granby roll by Della Maddalena to get back to his feet. Della Maddalena with some brutal combinations to end the round. Great, great fight. 10-9 Della Maddalena in the closest round so far.
Final result: Della Maddalena def. Loosa by unanimous decision
125 lbs.: Jasmine Jasudavicius vs. Julia Polastri
Round one: Jasudavicius looking to jab. Body kick from Polastri. Jasudavicius lands a leg kick, then ties up when Polastri tries her own. Jasudavicius trips her to the mat a minute in. Looking to pass straight to mount. Elbows and punches. Polastri regains guard, eats some good right hands. Back to half guard. Two minutes in. Good pressure, not super active. Two minutes to go.
Now some punches from Jasudavicius. She postures up for some heavier shots, goes back down into half guard. One minute to go. Jasudavicius really going for some heavy ground-and-pound. Hard elbows from knee on belly. Polastri seemingly saved by the bell. 10-8 Jasudavicius.
Round two: Good exchanges in the center, including a head kick from Polastri. Jasudavicius drives her back to the mat, landing on top in guard. One minute in. Kicking at Polastri’s legs. This gives Polastri enough space to stand. Good low-high left hooks after waving Jasudavicius on. Jasudavicius changes levels and scores another takedown despite Polastri’s guillotine attempt. Trading right hands from guard. Polastri with a nice standup and they trade in the clinch. Polastri with a nice body kick and elbow. Jasudavicius piling up knees to the body. Out of the clinch, back in. Two minutes to go.
Some good inside work by Jasudavicius. They separate. Teep from Polastri. Polastri with a slick left high kick. Jasudavicius counter right. One minute to go. Polastri with a 1-2-head kick that seems to rattle Jasudavicius, who unsuccessfully shoots. Another right hand. Jasudavicius 1-2, another clean right from Polastri in return. They trade right hands. Good exchange. 10-9 Jasudavicius? It’s close.
Round three: Early cross from Jasudavicius. Polastri with a tight right hand to answer a knee, tries a jumping front kick and follows with a heavy combo. Jasudavicius shoots, denied, eats an elbow. One minute in. Jasudavicius 1-2, Polastri right cross. Low-high rights from the Brazilian. Stalking forward and landing the more impressive shots so far. Left hook to head kick. Jasudavicius 1-2-2. 1-1-2 from Polastri two minutes in. Hard 1-2. Jasudavicius body kick, Polastri low kick. Polastri continuing to get the best of these exchanges. Trading hands. Jasudavicius shoots, stuffed, lands a body kick. Two minutes to go.
Both firing jabs, crosses, and low kicks. Jasudavicius sets up a double-leg with some punches and this one puts her back on top in half guard. Looking for mount with a minute to go, can’t get it. Short elbows. She tries some wild GnP before the bell. 10-9 Polastri.
Final result: Jasudavicius def. Polastri by unanimous decision
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