Season 6 of the Dana White Contender series will conclude on Tuesday, September 27. How many winners of the final episode will win a UFC contract? The five bouts will occur at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, with ESPN+ streaming the event.
White has handed out 194 UFC contracts, including a series record 38 this season, in the show’s history. Raul Rosas Jr. became the youngest person to earn a contract at 17 last week after earning a unanimous victory over Mando Gutierrez. Bruno Ferreira, Austen Lane, Nurullo Aliev, and Jafel Filho also earned contracts after Week 9.
Middleweight: Bo Nickal Over Donovan Beard
This fight is the card’s headliner, with the winner almost assured of earning a contract. White has already said that if Nickal is victorious, he will be fighting under the UFC umbrella next time out.
Nickal (2-0) has been impressive in his first two UFC bouts ending both before the end of the first round bell. The former collegiate and U23 World Championship wrestling gold medalist already has a victory during this season’s show as he defeated Zachary Borrego via submission on August 9.
Beard (7-1) has been highly successful during his pro career, winning the CCF middleweight belt with a triangle choke of Miles Lee. Beard enters the octagon on a fight win streak.
Nickal has all the pedigree and hype surrounding him. Plus, he should have technically earned a contract in his first match. So, Nickal will likely come out of the Dana White Contender Series hungry and ready to prove something.
Lightweight: Sam Patterson vs. Vinicius Cenci
Patterson (9-1-1) enters the fight on a nine-fight win streak. The 26year-old Englishman is ranked No. 2 in the Middle East as his last six bouts have been part of Brave CF.
Cenci (7-1-0) has his last seven matches. However, the 26-year-old Brazilian hasn’t fought since October 21, 2021.
I am going with Patterson. He is a well-rounded fighter with a considerable length and height advantage, which should help him keep Cenci at a distance.
Featherweight: Freddy Emiliano Linares vs. Jack Jenkins
Linares (8-1) has won four straight fights while participating in the Budo Sento Championship. The 25-year-old Ecuadorian is ranked 28th in Latin America.
Jenkins (9-2) has won six straight matches. The Australian ranks No. 5 among Australia and New Zealand fighters.
I am going with the Aussie here. Jenkins is a rising star who has been honing his craft for the last 10 years. He is very versatile and can win a match in various ways.
Flyweight: Rafael Esteves vs. Joao Elias
Esteves (10-0) has six victories by knockout or submission. The 26-year-old Brazilian ranks 100th in the division.
Elias (17-3-1) has won three straight fights. The 27-year-old Brazilian, ranked No. 95 in the division, has 11 victories by submission and one by knockout.
This should be a pretty good fight. I will take Esteves to win as he has faced some tough opponents, like Felipe Esteves, the last time out.
Bantamweight: Ashiek Ajim vs. Mateus Mendonca
Ajim (6-1) has been competing in the Classic Entertainment and Sports series, winning the divisional belt in his last outing. The American, who has won his last three fights, is ranked No. 61 in the United States in this class.
Mendonca (9-0) is coming off a two-year hiatus, having last fought on October 16, 2020. The 23-year-old Brazilian, ranked No. 28 in Brazil, has two knockouts and four submission victories.
I am going with Mendonca as he is a well-rounded fighter who has faced much better competition than Ajim. Mendonca also has the advantage in stamina, having to go the entire nine minutes three times.
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