Dana White’s Contender Series makes its final appearance of 2022 this evening (Tues., Sept. 27, 2022) at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN+ with one last batch of would-be Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) stars.
Once again, all five of last week’s winners walked away with contracts, most notably 17-year-old Raul Rosas. All four of the other victors (Brunno Ferreira, Austen Lane, Nurullo Aliev and Jafel Filho) did so via (technical) knockout, the first three in the first round.
After impressing in his first appearance earlier this year, Middleweight super-prospect Bo Nickal (2-0) returns against Cage Fury champion Donovan Beard (7-1) in tonight’s main event. Thirty pounds south, 6’4” Sam Patterson (9-1-1) takes on Kings MMA’s Vinicius Cenci (6-1). The middle bout pits Ecuadorian Featherweight Freddy Emiliano Linares (8-1) against fellow titlist Jack Jenkins (9-2), Rafael Ramos Estevam (10-0) fights Joao Elias (17-3-1) in a clash of surging Brazilian Flyweights, and CES Bantamweight champ Ashiek Ajim (6-1) battles undefeated Chute Boxe product Mateus Mendonca (9-0).
‘Contender Series’ Quick Results:
Bo Nickal vs. Donovan Beard — Nickal def. Beard by submission (triangle choke) at 0:52 of Round One
Sam Patterson vs. Vinicius Cenci — Patterson def. Cenci by submission (rear naked choke) at 4:18 of Round Two
Freddy Emiliano Linares vs. Jack Jenkins — Jenkins def. Linares by TKO (punches) at 4:30 of Round Three
Rafael Ramos Estevam vs. Joao Elias — Estevam def. Elias by TKO (punches and elbows) at 2:25 of Round Two
Ashiek Ajim vs. Mateus Mendonca — Mendonca def. Ajim by KO (punches) at 0:48 of Round One
‘Contender Series’ Play-By-Play Results:
185 lbs.: Bo Nickal vs. Donovan Beard
Round one: Beard tries a low kick. Big overhand left by Nickal, who immediately takes full mount. He wraps up the mounted triangle, rolls over, and there’s the tap.
Final result: Nickal def. Beard by submission (triangle choke)
155 lbs.: Sam Patterson vs. Vinicius Cenci
Round one: Patterson tries a head kick, eats a body shot. Cenci winging hard right hands, digs a knee to the body as he’s taken to the fence. Jockeying for position a minute in. They separate. Cenci wings some huge left hands as he pursues and clips Patterson against the fence before tying up. They separate two minutes in. Jab from Patterson. Low kick. Cenci marching after him, throwing heat. Patterson puts him on the fence. They separate, then tie up again seconds later. Knees to the body from Patterson. They separate with two minutes to go.
Cenci whiffs on another overhand. Nice short combo lands for Patterson. Cenci tries a two-piece, eats a knee to the body as they tie up. Nice takedown with a minute to go. Looking for the back. Patterson turns into top position, has to fight off a triangle attempt. 10-9 Cenci.
Round two: Patterson peppering with jabs and right hands. He avoids a flying knee, lands a knee to the body. Cenci catches him with a hard 1-2 that backs him off, then takes a foot to the groin. One minute in. Right hook lands for Cenci, right cross from Patterson. Cenci counter left, Patterson combo, clinch. Good low kick from Patterson, then a well-timed counter uppercut as Cenci shoots. He locks up a d’arce, settles for taking side control. Threatening a guillotine, caught back in half guard. Two minutes to go.
Cenci tries to turn into him and gets caught in a palm-to-palm guillotine. Patterson transitions to looking for the back. Looking for the RNC and he’s got it.
Final result: Patterson def. Cenci by submission (rear naked choke)
145 lbs.: Freddy Emiliano Linares vs. Jack Jenkins
Round one: Superman punch lands for Linares. He answers a low kick with a blitz and ends up taken down into guard. Lockdown half guard a minute in. Jenkins chipping away chest-to-chest. Two minutes in. Nice move to mount. Good balance, dropping shots with two minutes to go.
Linares shows off some flexibility to get his legs around Jenkins’ midsection. Looking for a leglock, uses the position to get to turtle and drop punches. They slug it out inside to end the round. 10-9 Jenkins.
Round two: Hard body kick from Jenkins met by a blitz. Linares shoots, denied, eats a knee to the body on the exit. More knees downstairs, foot sweep attempt. Both land knees to the body. Reactive shot puts Jenkins back on top in guard. One minute in. Staying tight, dropping short ground-and-pound. Two minutes in. Good elbows split Linares open above the right eye. Two minutes to go.
Another hard elbow by Jenkins. Linares is leaking badly. More brutal elbows as Linares gets to his knees. One minute to go. Linares stands, gets tripped back down into half guard. Final elbow flurry. 10-8 Jenkins.
Round three: Linares rushes in and gets briefly clinched. They pause to fix Jenkins’ cup, a surprisingly time-consuming endeavor. Nice head kick from Jenkins, then a combo inside. Good low kick, trading knees inside. Good elbow by Linares, but Jenkins foot-sweeps him into side control a minute in. Half guard. More short elbows. Two minutes in. Linares sits up into his own single-leg attempt. Looks for an uchi mata afterwards, ends up on the bottom and gives up mount. Two minutes to go.
More punches and elbows from Jenkins. One minute to go. Linares gives up his back and Jenkins flattens him out. Dropping right hands. Ref calls it perhaps a bit prematurely, but the damage was piling up and Linares doesn’t protest.
Final result: Jenkins def. Linares by TKO (punches)
125 lbs.: Rafael Ramos Estevam vs. Joao Elias
Round one: They meet in the center and immediately start trading heat. Estevam shoots and Elias rolls directly into an armbar attempt. It looks good, but Estevam weathers it. As Estevam tries to stand, Elias jumps for a triangle. No dice. One minute in. Elias striking from his back. Looking for the switch, trying to stand against the fence. He rolls to avoid a back take two minutes in, then latches onto a kneebar. More good defense by Estevam, who drops hammerfists. Elbows with two minutes to go.
Elias looks for a sweep, rolls for an armbar. More punches from Estevam on top. Heavy shots piling up from half guard. One minute to go. Hammerfists, elbows. Elias regains guard. More elbows from Estevam; impressive leverage over a short distance. Elias rolls to his knees adn eats punches until the bell. 10-9 Estevam.
Round two: Estevam shoots right away and their heads come together in thunderous fashion. He completes the shot, but the ref understandably stands them back up. Estevam just shoots and takes him down again immediately, avoiding a guillotine and moving to half guard. Continuing to punish him with punches and elbows. One minute in. Elias looks for a kimura, gets cracked more for his trouble. Sweep attempt rebuffed. They can stop this whenever. Hammerfists two minutes in. Just way too much damage and in comes the ref.
Final result: Estevam def. Elias by TKO (punches and elbows)
135 lbs.: Ashiek Ajim vs. Mateus Mendonca
Round one: Low kick from Ajim, then a nice jab as Mendonca tries to throw. Mendonca low kick to front kick. Another low kick from Ajim. Mendonca answers with a teep and low kicks. Then comes a hard 3-2 that seems to catch Ajim behind the ear and send him crumpling to the mat, where Mendonca unleashes a monster left hand to turn out the lights.
Final result: Mendonca def. Ajim by KO (punches)
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