Maycee Barber (Phil Lambert/Combat Press)

Contender Series: Season 2, Episode 5 Preview and Predictions

After a successful first season, Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series is back with its second season.

The show, which airs live on UFC Fight Pass, aims to give top prospects a chance to impress the UFC brass in an attempt to earn a contract with the company.

The show continued with its fourth entry last week, and now it returns for its fifth episode on July 17. The UFC Fight Pass stream gets underway at 8 p.m. ET.


The Lineup

SW: Maycee Barber (Fort Collins Martial Arts Academy) vs. Jamie Colleen (Renzo Gracie Philly)

BW: Vince Morales (American Free Fight MMA) vs. Domingo Pilarte (Revolution Dojo)

MW: Anthony Adams (Wildman Vale Tudo) vs. Chibwikem Onyenegecha (The Forge MMA)

WW: Austin Vanderford (Gracie Barra Portland) vs. Angelo Trevino (Team Alpha Male)

MW: Antonio Jones (Team Spratt) vs. Edmen Shahbazyan (Glendale Fighting Club)

Best Prospect: Maycee Barber

At just 20 years of age and already 4-0 as a professional, Maycee Barber has firmly established herself as not only the best prospect on this fight card, but one of the best strawweights of the future. Barber has spent her entire pro career with LFA, a UFC developmental feeder organization that has allowed her to develop as her career progresses. She’s shown herself to be competent all around, and even owns a win over Invicta veteran Mallory Martin. She’s submitted two opponents, while finishing one with strikes. We will truly see where she’s at when she fights Jamie Colleen. Colleen has more experience at a high level, has fought once already on the Dana White Contender Series and is a fighter that has the gift of being dangerous at any point in a fight. Just when you think she’s broken, she can come back out of nowhere and defeat you. A win here for Barber proves she’s the blue chip prospect MMA scouts already believe her to be.

Best Fight: Anthony Adams vs. Chibwikem Onyenegecha

This is one of the few weeks of the Dana White’s Contender Series where almost every fight doesn’t look like fireworks. There are three bouts on this card that I think will either be boring or just very, I guess you can say, vanilla. However, the bout between Anthony Adams and Chibwikem Onyenegecha should be bananas from bell to bell. Both men are big-time sluggers who look for the knockout every time they throw strikes. Most of Adams’ fights end via decision, though that doesn’t mean he doesn’t engage in entertaining scraps. His opponent has knocked out every man he’s faced as a pro within two rounds. This fight should tickle Dana’s fancy.

The Longshot: Domingo Pilarte

For the most part, the fighters on this card are solid and proven. However, Domingo Pilarte stands out as they guy with the most questionable resume. His record is good at 7-1, but when you delve into his history, he has not exactly fought world beaters. He lost to his best opponent, and the fighter with the best record on his resume who he beat was 5-1 Adrian Yanez, whom Pilarte only eked out a split decision against. He has a lot to prove to show he belongs in the big show, and it won’t be easy going up against a seasoned wrestler and solid MMA fighter in Vince Morales.

The Dark Horse: Antonio Jones

The fight involving Antonio Jones was the last one added to this card, so he has certainly flown way under the radar, but he could be a guy that grabs some attention here. A disciple of UFC veteran Pete Spratt, Jones has run a 7-1 record while staying relatively unknown to most MMA fans. That comes even though he owns a victory over UFC veteran Roger Narvaez. He’s not a big-time finisher and he does have a powerful, young opponent standing opposite him here, but he’s crafty and tough, which could afford him some attention when this event is all said and done.

Storyline to Watch: PVZ’s Man vs. PVZ’s Old Camp

Austin Vanderford made a joke of himself when he used social media to call for the UFC to “sign PVZ’s man.” It seems to have worked, though, as he gets this opportunity here. What’s interesting more than that, though, is that he will fight Angelo Trevino, a member of Team Alpha Male, Paige vanZant’s former training camp. That makes for an interesting storyline. Can PVZ’s man show up her old training camp or will the Alpha Male rep end Vanderford’s quest to making the UFC before having a half dozen pro fights under his belt?

Signing Predictions: Barber, Vanderford

Barber is still very young, so they still may give her some time on the regional scene to develop, but she would be a great young add to 115.

And, how are you not going to sign PVZ’s man?

Fight Picks
Fight Pick
SW: Maycee Barber vs. Jamie Colleen Barber
BW: Domingo Pilarte vs. Vince Morales Morales
MW: Anthony Adams vs. Chibwikem Onyenegecha Adams
WW: Austin Vanderford vs. Angelo Trevino Vanderford
MW: Antonio Jones vs. Edmen Shahbazyan Jones