Dana White’s Contender Series is back for its fifth season.
The show, which continues on its home on ESPN+, aims to give top prospects a chance to impress the UFC brass in an attempt to earn a contract with the company. The show’s sixth episode of the new season takes place on Oct. 5 and streams live at 8 p.m. ET.
WW: Shimon Smotritskiy (7-0, Teampact Holon, Israel) vs. Mike Malott (6-1-1, Team Alpha Male, Canada)
FLY: Daniel Barez (12-4, Training Unit, Spain) vs. Carlos Hernandez (6-1, VFS Academy, USA)
BW: Fernie Garcia (9-1, Fortis MMA, USA) vs. Josh Weems (8-1, Black Sails MMA, USA)
MW: Shonte Barnes (6-1-1, American Top Team, USA) vs. Joseph Holmes (5-1, SFS MMA, USA)
LW: Genaro Valdez (9-0, Entram Gym, Mexico) vs. Patrik White (9-1, Avalanche Wrestling, USA)
Best Prospect: Malott
In all honesty, this may be one of the weaker cards on the Contender Series this year in terms of overall talent. That said, Canadian Mike Malott of Team Alpha Male looks to be the best fighter on the card. Malott, who has only fought professionally once in the last several years, has used his time off to improve. Since moving to Team Alpha Male, he’s become a vey well-rounded fighter. He has good submission wrestling and solid striking. This was seen in his most recent fight with Solomon Renfro, who is also on this season of Contender Series. Malott took less than two minutes to choke out the young prospect. There’s a reason he is in the main event of this offering.
Best Fight: Barez vs. Hernandez
Flyweight action is usually some of the best action on any MMA card, and it will be no different when Daniel Barez takes on Carlos Hernandez. Barez is a rare talent from the country of Spain and has stood out in the European circuit. Hernandez is an American regional talent that has a knack for exciting fights. When these two collide, it’s going to be all action. Don’t miss this one, because I doubt you will be bored.
The Dark Horse: Holmes
On late notice, Joseph Holmes steps onto this card with the opportunity of a lifetime. He steps in for Cody Brundage, who was signed a UFC contract on short notice to fight at UFC 266. Holmes is an LFA and Bellator veteran who has also taken pro Muay Thai fights. He has yet to lose since his pro debut, and, since then, has scored three first-round finishes and two second-round finishes. He’s got a good submission game, as well as strong striking. He’s flying under the radar here, but has a good matchup in the form of Shonte Barnes.
The Long Shot: White
Alaska’s Patrik White seems to be the guy with the tallest mountain to climb on this episode. Although 9-1 as a pro, he’s spent his career on the Alaskan regional scene. And while that scene has produced some solid fighters at a higher level, it’s rare. White has a high finishing rate, which is impressive, but his lone loss in 2018 was against Kris Berberich, who was 1-3 at the time. He knocked White out in 45 seconds. White will need to bring his A-game against Genaro Valdez.
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