Issa Isakov (L) (@issa_isakov/Instagram page)

Contender Series: Season 7, Ep. 10 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 tenth episode of the new season takes place on Oct. 10 and streams live on ESPN+ starting at 8 p.m. ET.

The Lineup

BW: Ramon Tavares (8-2, Bulldog Boxing, USA) vs. Cortavious Romious (7-1, St. Charles MMA, USA)


FLY: Rickson Zenidim (14-1, Familia Zenidim, Brazil) vs. Andre Lima (6-0, Team Lucas Minheiro, Brazil)

MW: Torrez Finney (6-0, Agoge Combatives, USA) vs. Yuri Panferov (6-0, Ultimate MMA, Russia)

LW: Issa Isakov (10-2, Streetsport, Russia) vs. Marquel Mederos (7-1, FactoryX Muay Thai, USA)

FW: Jair Farias (10-0, Combat Club, Brazil) vs. Connor Matthews (6-1, New England Cartel, USA)

Best Prospect: Isakov

There are some intriguing prospects on this final episode of the Contender Series season, but Issa Isakov is the one I am most interested in right now. Isakov is an exciting striker who has a rounded skillset. He’s had some tough opponents on his resume, with wins over Ruslan Tedeev, TUF vet Djamil Chan and Rami Hamed, who was supposed to be on this season of Contender Series as well. His lone losses came to TUF vet Mohamed Grabinski and Bellator contender Levan Chokheli. I think this fight is a showcase for Isakov en route to his eventual UFC career.

Best Fight: Matthews-Farias

There are a couple exciting fights on this card between Ramon Tavares-Cortavious Romious and Rickson Zenidim-Andre Lima. The fight I am most looking forward to is Connor Matthews-Jair Farias. Both men are exciting fighters and I think their styles will mesh well to create a fun one. I am especially sure of this because of Matthews, who had a great fight with Francis Marshall on last season’s Contender Series. Farias will meet Matthew’s aggression and intensity in a fight that should have the UFC bosses on their feet.

The Dark Horse: Finney

Although he has a tough matchup in Yuri Panferov, Torrez Finney is an under-the-radar guy to keep an eye on this episode. The collegiate wrestler is built like a tank, even though he is very short for the middleweight division at 5’7”. His power is uncanny and he’s obviously very strong with his takedowns. Once on the mat, he hammers opponents with ground-and-pound. In fact, all-but-one of his six pro wins come by knockout, mostly on the mat. This is the biggest step up in competition he’s had yet, so we will get a real gauge on Finney come fight night.

The Long Shot: Mederos

The fighter that I think has the most to prove on this episode is Marquel Mederos. Most of his career has seen him fight inexperienced or .500-or-below opponents. He does have a good finish rate to his credit, but his lone loss was a decision to a 4-2 opponent. He has the aforementioned Isakov on his plate, who is going to easily be his toughest opponent to date.

BW: Ramon Tavares vs. Cortavious RomiousTavares
FLY: Rickson Zenidim vs. Andre LimaZenidim
MW: Torrez Finney vs. Yuri PanferovFinney
LW: Issa Isakov vs. Marquel MederosIsakov
FW: Jair Farias vs. Connor MatthewsMatthews