George Hardwick (Cage Warriors)

Contender Series: Season 7, Ep. 2 Preview and Predictions

Dana White’s Contender Series is back for its seventh 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 first episode of the new season takes place on Aug. 15 and streams live on ESPN+ starting at 7 p.m. ET.

The Lineup

LW: Abdul Kareem el-Selwady (14-3, Fortis MMA, USA) vs. George Hardwick (12-1, Middlesborough Fight Academy, England)


WSW: Eduarda Moura (8-0, Galpao da Luta, Brazil) vs. Janaina Silva (5-0, Babuino Gold Team, Brazil)

FW: Emrah Somnez (14-4, Great Britain Top Team, Turkey) vs. Hyder Amil (7-0, El Nino Training Center, USA)

HW: Paulo Renato Jr. (12-2, Infiniti Fight Team, Brazil) vs. Ibo Aslan (11-1, Gym 23, Austria)

BW: Cameron Smotherman (8-3, Metro Fight Club, USA) vs. Charalampos Grigoriou (7-3, Serra-Longo MMA, Cyprus)

Best Prospect: Hardwick

Many people have voiced their displeasure with George Hardwick competing on this season of the Contender Series, not because he’s not worthy of a shot, but because most think he should be on the UFC roster right now. It’s hard to argue that point. Hardwick has been a terror on the European circuit, specifically for Cage Warriors and Bellator. Hardwick hasn’t lost since 2019 and has rattled off eight wins in a row, knocking dudes out left and right. His striking is outstanding, including his boxing. Among his most recent victims include Contender Series veteran Kyle Driscoll, Chris Bungard and Yann Liasse, all of which were Cage Warriors Lightweight Championship fights.

Best Fight: Hardwick-al-Selwady

The best fighter on the card will also have the best fight that we will see. The aforementioned Hardwick takes on Abdul Kareem al-Selwady, a Fortis MMA product that is sure to bring the fight to Hardwick. Is he as skilled as Hardick? I would say no. But, he’s fearless and has the type of style that will mesh with Hardwick’s to make this a slobber knocker.

The Dark Horse: Moura

Brazil’s regional circuit is home to many talented fighters that are to fight on this season on the Contender Series. One of those fighters is Eduarda Moura, who has been a pro since 2022 and is already 8-0. She started slowly by taking on low-level competition to build up her experience. She then bested journeyman Aline Sattelmayer in a big step-up in competition, which was her only decision in eight pro fights. She’s a very good grappler, holding four submission wins and two TKOs, showing she has some ground-and-pound. She has a good matchup against Janaina Silva, which should be an interesting one. Keep a look out for Moura.

The Long Shot: Grigoriou

In terms of fighters with the longest road to ho, Charalampos Girgoriou looks to be the one on this episode. A good striker with a solid camp behind him, Grigoriou does not have the quality experience as many of the fighters on this season. He has recent losses to Christian Rodriguez and Josh Smith, the latter of whom was barely above .500. His last three opponents have had a combined record of 11-10, which is not much to write home about. He has a solid opponent in Cameron Smotherman, but Grigoriou looks to have the steepest hill to climb.

LW: Abdul Kareem el-Selwady vs. Geroge HardwickHardwick
WSW: Eduarda Moura vs. Janaina SilvaMoura
FW: Emrah Somnez vs. Hyder AmilAmil
HW: Paulo Renato Jr. vs. Ibo AslanAslan
BW: Cameron Smotherman vs. Charalampos GrigoriouSmotherman