MMA Odds and Ends for Wednesday: Four Contender Series Fighters Earn UFC Contracts

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The June 19 episode of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Conteder Series turned out to be one of the best shows yet, as it featured five highlight-reel finishes in five main card fights. One year after the first season of the popular show that saw a number of prospects emerge as UFC-level talent, this second season has so far proven to be chock full of talented mixed martial artists as well. After signing two fighters from the first episode of season two last week, White decided to go all-in and he inked four of this week’s winners to UFC deals. It’s the first time in the show’s history that White has handed out four UFC contracts.

In the main event, Matt Sayles (7-1) put on an impressive showing in a first-round TKO win over Yazan Hajeh (6-1). Sayles has now won two-straight fights via knockout and six of his seven pro victories have come via stoppage. He looks like a serious prospect in the featherweight division and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him get some sort of a name veteran in his UFC debut later this year. Sayles was one of the four fighters this week to earn a contract from White, and he’ll be an intriguing prospect to keep your eye on at 145lbs.

Also earning a contract was the co-main event winner Anthony Hernandez (7-0) who needed just 40 seconds to knock out the previously undefeated Jordan Wright (9-1). Hernandez was the LFA middleweight champion and will be entering the UFC on the stength of seven-straight victories as a pro with six of his wins coming via stoppage. He deserved the UFC deal and could be something special at 185lbs.

Light heavyweight Ryan Spann (14-5) was another one of the fighters to earn a deal as he needed just 26 seconds to submit Emiliano Sordi (16-7). Spann has now won four-straight fights via stoppage includng a KO win over UFC veteran Alex Nicholson in his last fight. In a divison as weak as 205lbs, Spann is someone who could be a contender in the UFC light heavyweight division.

The last figher to earn a deal was Dwight Grant (8-1), who brutally knocked out Tyler Hill (8-2) in the second round of their wild fight. Grant, a Bellator veteran, has now won seven-straight fights with five of those wins coming via knockout. He’ll be joining the stacked UFC welterweight division, but is someone to keep an eye on considering how vicious this knockout was.

Not earning a UFC contract depsite being victorious was Austin Springer (11-3), who submitted Giga Chikadze (5-1) in the third round of their bout. Springer has won two-straight fights but had lost two-straight fights before that and it appears the UFC matchmakers want to take another look at him before offering him a deal. It’s likely we see him back on the Contender Series.

Overall it was another promising episode of the show with four fighters standing out and earning UFC deals. It’s great seeing divisions such as 185lbs and 205lbs which desperately need new blood have new fighters emerge from the show. It’s been a solid season of Dana White’s Contender Series through two weeks, and the reason of the season holds tons of promise considering the scheduled bouts.

Written by Adam Martin.

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