The 2022 edition of the Dana White Contender Series just passed the halfway mark as this marks Week 6. Week 6 will feature five fights that will take place at UFC Apex in Las Vegas on September 30. ESPN+ will stream each match.
Every week of the series, a contender has the opportunity to earn a UFC contract by winning their match. Thus far, 19 fighters have won a UFC contract in 2022. Michael Parkin, Darrius Flowers, Jesus Santos Aguilar, Cameron Saaimon, and Denise Gomes were awarded contracts following Week 5 matches.
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Yusaku Kinoshita vs. Jose Henrique Souza
This welterweight bout is the card’s main event and features two youngsters, both of whom arguably could be undefeated. The 22-year-old Kinoshita enters the octagon with a 6-1 record, while 19-year–old Henrique is a perfect 5-0. Both fighters pack a lot of power and have the ability to finish fights.
Kinoshita is coming off a knockout of 42-year-old Japanese fighter Akihiro Murayama (19-10-9) with under two minutes in the opening round back in April. His lone loss came from disqualification in the fight before his last bout due to stomping on his opponent’s head while holding onto the octagon’s fence. All five of Kinoshita’s victories have been by finishes, with three being knockouts and two by submission.
Henrique went the distance for the first time as he won a split decision over newbie Pedro Oliveira on May 13. He won the previous four fights via knockout.
Henrique has a height and reach advantage. However, Kinoshita has faced more formidable foes and can stay upright and on the ground. Plus, he has strong hands, and Henrique has proven to be very hittable.
Winner: Kinoshita by knockout
Sedriques Dumas vs. Matej Penaz
Dumas vs. Penaz could ultimately be the fight of the night for the Dana White Contender Series, as both fighters are great kickboxers with exciting styles. Each combatant enters the bout with a perfect 6-0 record as professional MMA’ers.
Penaz won 23 of 26 kickboxing events, and his transition to MMA has been pretty smooth, despite stepping up his competition along the way. “Money” has five knockouts to his credit, although he has gone into the third round in each of the last two bouts. Penaz won via unanimous decision against MMA first-timer Gianni Melillo the last time out on April 9.
Dumas is stepping up in weight class after fighting mainly as a middleweight since turning pro. The 27-year-old “ aka The Reaper” went 8-1 as an amateur.
Dumas already has two victories in 2022, with both coming in the Ikon Fighting Championship, defeating Adam Highbaugh via unanimous decision the last time out. Before the bout against Highbaugh, all of their previous victories came via finishes, with four coming by knockout and one by submission.
This should be a close and very competitive fight. Both combatants are fantastic strikers, but I am going with Penaz, who has fought more formidable opponents and trains with light-heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka.
Prediction: Penaz to via KO.
Rodrigo Lidio vs. Mateusz Rebecki
This lightweight bout is between two highly experienced fighters who are in good form. Lidio (12-2) enters the cage on a four-fight win streak, while Rebecki (15-1), an ADCC Polish champion, has won 12 straight fights. I like Lidio to pull off the upset with a finish, as he is a very powerful puncher with an 83% knockout rate.
Prediction: Lidio by knockout.
Maria Silva vs. Viktoriia Dudakova
A second undefeated matchup, this time between the females in the strawweight division. However, it is Silva (8-0) who I like to remain undefeated as the 26-year-old Brazilian is much more experienced than his 23-year-old Russian counterpart. I also like the fight to end before the final bell, as six of Silva’s eight wins have finished via knockout (3) or submission (3).
Prediction: Silva by finish
Blake Bilder vs. Alex Morgan
I like Morgan (11-4) to top Bilder (6-0-1) in this one. The 31-year-old Canadian is a more experienced and better striker than the 32-year-old Bilder.
Prediction: Morgan, by decision