Dana White's Contender series had its first showcase of talent last night July 26th, 2022. Let's dive into
Flyweights: Andres Luna vs Alessandro Costa Alessandro Costa spent round one looking to close the distance while fending off the long-range attacks from Andres Luna. in Round 2 Costa picked up his pace, closed the distance, and found a home for a powerful right hook to the chin of Andres Luna sending him to the canvas. Luna recovered and showed his grit by hitting a reversal and finishing round 2 in top position.
In round 3, the pace and fighting picked up. Costa continued to land his punches and find his range. At the end of the match, Costa was rewarded with the judges' decision.
Results: Costa by way of split decision (30–27, 28–29, 29–28).
Featherweights: Dennis Buzukja vs Kale Romero
Buzukja began the fight by displaying a variety of setups and strikes. Romero entertained the kickboxing exchanges for a good minute before switching the fight's pace with his patented grappling against the octagon fence. Buzukja did his best to defend against the knee to the body attacks and takedown attempts diligently while mixing in undercooks and holding a good position. While watching this fight the only question I had was “how much longer can Romero keep up this pace and pressure?”. The total strikes landed in round one had to be less than 30 combined, but the efforts Romero used on his takedown attempts began depleting the gas tank of both fighters.
In round two, Buzukja walked his opponent down with power strikes. Romero's keen awareness helped him slip out of the way. Buzukja continued to pressure Romero, and it appeared to be working. Romeo’s pace slowed down tremendously while his gritty persistence for the takedowns never seemed to fade.
In round three, both fighters fought valiantly through their fatigue. It was surprising to see how much these fighters did not quit on themselves. Romero continued to hunt for a takedown, while Buzkia took every opportunity in space to find some type of strike to land. None more impressive than two huge body kicks Buzkia landed on Romero. At the end of the 15-minute match. The judges' decision was rewarded to Dennis Buzkia.
Results: Dennis Buzukja by Decision (unanimous) (29–28, 29–28, 29–28)
Light Heavyweight: Anton Turkalj vs Acacio dos Santos
Dos Santos started off the fight by landing a strong 2,1 combo. Turkalj, using his superior grappling ability responded by immediately turning the fight into a grappling match up against the fence where he methodically broke Dos Santos down to the canvas. As impressive as the control time was by Turkalj, not a lot of damage was inflicted on his opponent. Dos Santos showed a lot of heart, every time he was taken down to the mat he carried Turkalj back to a standing position. Round one came to a close with a lot of anticipation of how this fight would turn out.
In round two, Dos Santos started out landing another strong barrage of punches to the chin of Turkalj. Turkalj entertained the striking for about:30 seconds and found his way into a double-leg takedown into a D’arce choke attempt. Dos Santos fended the submission attempted well, but he struggled to escape his opponent's grappling traps. When the fight made it back to the feet, Dos Santos and Turkalj gave us more kickboxing action. Dos Santos had a clear power and accuracy advantage, but he wasn’t able to fend off the takedowns of Turkalj.
Round three: Dos Santos fell into the grappling game of Turkalj, he held his opponent down in half guard, and at one point there was a slight imbalance in positioning, Dos Santos had a chance to reverse the position, but Turkalj was just slightly better than him. Turkalj continued to use his grappling advantage to nullify the attacks of Dos Santos and continued to leg ride Dos Santos for the remainder of the fight. *Turkalj tied the DWCS LHW record for most takedown attempts.
Results: Anton Turkalj by Decision (unanimous) (30–27, 29–28, 29–28)
Middleweight: Joseph Pyfer vs Ozzy Diaz
Joseph Pyfer set the tone in round one by landing a heavy leg kick and following up his attack with a single leg, switched off to a double leg, lifting Ozzy Diaz in the air, and slamming him down while Pyfer found his way into a dominate side control position. Pyfer showcased his true contender mentality by actively working to advance his position and consistently looking to finish the fight with submissions. Ozzy Diaz showed his grit by fending off the submission attempts and was rewarded with a bjj reversal. Diaz continued to push the action on Pyfer but, Pyfer found a window to escape and bring the fight back to a standing match. Pyfer landed another heavy calf kick. Pyfer and Diaz exchanged jabs and power punches as the round widdled down in the final minute. Second Round: Pyfer started the round off landing a powerful shot to the chin of Diaz followed by a left-handed body uppercut. While Pyfer continued scoring with his leg kicks and jabs, Diaz was looking to find his range. The fight ended with a vicious counter as Ozzy Diaz shifted his weight walking left as he was landing a body uppercut. Pyfer countered with a left hook to the jaw, it landed clean, and Diaz fell to the canvas, and the fight ended as a KO victory.
Pyfer would go on to get high praise from Dana White and was the only one rewarded with a DWCS contract.
Dana White’s message to the next batch of DWCS fighters “If you want to get into the UFC, act like Joe Pyfer, be Joe Pyfer, be fired up to fight, finish the fight try to win. Period.