Contender Series: Season 7, Ep. 4 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. 29 and streams live on ESPN+ starting at 8 p.m. ET.

The Lineup

LW: Bolaji Oki (7-1, Da Vinci Fighting, Belgium) vs. Dylan Salvador (5-1, American Top Team, France)


HW: Chandler Cole (10-3, Team Oxendine, USA) vs. Thomas Petersen (7-1, Spartan MMA, USA)

FW: Mateo Vogel (8-2, New Era Combat Sports, Canada) vs. Timothy Cuamba (6-1, Big Scary Gym, USA)

MW: Marco Tulio Silva (9-1, Chute Boxe, Brazil) vs. Yousri Belgaroui (5-2, Teixeira MMA, Netherlands)

WW: Carlos Prates (16-6, Vale Top Team, Brazil) vs. Mitch Ramirez (7-0, Fusion Xcel Performance, USA)

Best Prospect: Petersen

A heavyweight who I have had my eye on for a while, Thomas Petersen finally gets his crack on the Contender Series. Petersen is a good wrestler with athleticism and power. The LFA veteran is definitely a fighter who can compete in the UFC right now if given the right matchups. He draws TUF vet Chandler Cole here, so he will have a bit of a challenge, but should Petersen win, I expect his next fight to be in the UFC.

Best Fight: Salvador-Oki

If you are looking for an exciting striker’s battle, you are going to have one in Dylan Salvador vs. Bolaji Oki. Oki is a long, rangy guy with good technical prowess and the ability to knock anyone out. Salvador has an extensive pro kickboxing and Muay Thai background, which has seen him compete for K-1 and GLORY Kickboxing, among other promotions. What’s crazy is that most of Salvador’s MMA wins have been by submission, showing he’s not just a striker. This one should be interesting to say the least.

The Dark Horse: Salvador

Above I mostly just described Salvador, so not much is needed to be added here, but out of the 10 fighters on this episode, he’s the dark horse to watch. Between his strong striking reputation and submission prowess in the MMA cage, he is a highly underrated prospect in the lightweight division. Apart from one questionable split decision loss in his pro MMA career, Salvador has been very good.

The Long Shot: Cuamba

Of the fighters on this episode, it appears that Timothy Cuamba is the fighter that’s the longest shot to take a victory and score a contract on this episode. His opponents have not been of the highest quality, including losing to a 2-0 opponent four fights ago. On a positive side, he has fought for quality promotions such as CFFC, Combate Global and iKon FC. He also has some boxing experience which is helpful. Perhaps he can prove me wrong, as some fighters on the Contender Series in the past have.

LW: Bolaji Oki vs. Dylan SalvadorSalvador
HW: Chandler Cole vs. Thomas PetersenPetersen
FW: Mateo Vogel vs. Timothy CuambaVogel
MW: Marco Tulio Silva vs. Yousri BelgarouiSilva
WW: Carlos Prates vs. Mitch RamirezPrates