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 ninth episode of the new season takes place on Oct. 3 and streams live on ESPN+ starting at 8 p.m. ET.
LHW: Rodolfo Bellato (10-2, Team Nogueira, Brazil) vs. Murtaza Talha (6-0, KHK MMA Team, Bahrain)
BW: Victor Hugo Silva (23-4, Astra Fight Team, Brazil) vs. Eduardo Torres (16-1, Equipe Weichafe, Chile)
LHW: Jose Medina (10-2-1, La Base MMA, Bolivia) vs. Magomed Gadzhiyasulov (7-0, KHK MMA Team, Russia)
FLY: Lucas Rocha (16-1, Renovacao Team, Brazil) vs. Davi Costa (14-3, Parana Vale Tudo, Brazil)
Best Prospect: Rocha
Just 23 years old, Lucas Rocha is an outstanding prospect with a great deal of experience at such a young age. The well-rounded Brazilian has fought his career in Brazil and has actually fought some respectable competition. His lone loss is to Contender Series vet Alan Gabriel back in 2019 when Rocha 18 or 19 years old. He is most notable for his time in LFA when they brought their show to Brazil. This guy can fight standing or on the mat, which is why he’s so dangerous. He takes on another top Brazilian flyweight prospect in Davi Costa. Unfortunately, Rochas missed weight, and his fight has been cancelled.
Best Fight: Rocha-Costa
Not much needs to be said here that wasn’t already said previously. Rocha and Costa are top prospects from Brazil and are known finishers. They both get going early to search for an end to the fight. Both Rocha and Costa are UFC-level, so this should’ve been a UFC-level fight. However, Rocha’s weight miss took the best fight off of the card.
The Dark Horse: Bellato
Contender Series vet Rodolfo Bellato returns to the show after last year, where he was matched up with a juggernaut in Vitor Petrino in what was a great fight. Bellato went back to the drawing board and came back with two wins since that bout under the LFA banner, including over another Contender Series vet in Acacio dos Santos. Bellato now gets another tough assignment in Murtaza Talha, but I think he’s a guy to keep an eye on. He’s shown he can bang, is powerful and aggressive. He’s definitely the type of guy Dana White looks for.
The Long Shot: Medina
Jose Medina appears to be the longshot on this episode against a tough, quality opponent. Medina trains out of Bolivia, which is not exactly a hotbed for MMA talent as of right now. He’s a finisher, no doubt, but his quality of competition isn’t very high. His two toughest opponents to date, Antonio Gordillo and Claudio Rocha, defeated Medina, which leads me to believe this is a fighter not ready to step up to the UFC’s level.
LHW: Rodolfo Bellato vs. Murtaza Talha
BW: Victor Hugo Silva vs. Eduardo Torres
LHW: Jose Medina vs. Magomed Gadzhiyasulov
WW: Raimond Magomedaliev vs. Mauricio Ruffy
FLY: Lucas Rocha vs. Davi Costa
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