Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contenders Series: Episode 1 Preview & Predictions


History is going to be made tonight at the first ever Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contenders Series episode takes place. The event is going to be headlined by a featherweight division clash as UFC veteran Kurt Holobaugh takes on Matt Bessette. Also, UFC veterans Joby Sanchez and Justin Jones compete, plus a big heavyweight division bout serves as the co-main event.

Main Event

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DWTNCS Featherweight Division Fight

Kurt Holobaugh (17-4-0) vs. Matt “The Mangler” Bessette (22-7-0)

Holobaugh is the current Titan Fighting Championships Interim Lightweight Champion, defeating Gesias Cavalvante to win the gold at Titan FC 44. Bessette is the current CES MMA Featherweight Champion and he does enter the fight riding a seven fight winning streak. Holobaugh competed one time in the UFC over four years ago, suffering a unanimous decision loss to Steven Siler at UFC 159. Bessette also spent some time fighting in Bellator MMA, where he holds a victory over UFC veteran Diego Nunes.

Prediction: Bessette likes to just come forward and decimate his opponent with strikes, but Holobaugh has the better ground game and he uses that to notch a close decision win.

Co-Main Event

DWTNCS Heavyweight Division Fight

Greg “Ribz” Rebello (22-7-0) vs. Azunna “Zulu” Anyanwu (13-4-0)

Rebello is entering the fight riding a two fight winning streak and he has spent the majority of his professional MMA career in the CES MMA promotion. Anyanwu comes into this fight riding a four fight winning streak and he is the current Cage Fury Fighting Championships Heavyweight Champion. Rebello was a cast member on the UFC Ultimate Fighter 11, suffering a defeat to Josh Bryant in the opening round of the reality show. Anyanwu also competed once in Bellator MMA, having defeated JA Dudley by second round TKO at Bellator 49.

Prediction: This fight is going to be a slugfest for as long as it lasts, but it is going to be Rebello finishing Anyanwu with strikes late in the first round.

DWTNCS Bantamweight Division Fight

Boston “Boom Boom” Salmon (5-1-0) vs. “Pretty” Ricky Turcios (8-0-0)

Salmon is looking to rebound from the first loss of his professional MMA career, which came to Zac Riley at RFA 43. Turcios is going to be competing for the first time in almost a year, as his last bout came against Trent Meaux at Fury Fighting Championships 12 in September 2016. Salmon is going to be competing outside of the Resurrection Fighting Alliance auspices for the first time as a pro. Turcios also competed once in Bellator MMA, having defeated Steve Garcia by split decision at Bellator 151.

Prediction: Salmon is a striker who finishes fights and Turcios is a striker who usually goes the distance, Salmon finishes Turcios with strikes late in the third round.

DWTNCS Middleweight Division Fight

Justin “Black Dynamite” Jones (9-2-0) vs. Charles “Kid Dynamite” Byrd (7-4-0)

Jones is going to be entering the fight riding a five fight undefeated streak and he hasn’t suffered a defeat in over two years. Byrd is returning to action for the first time in just over a year, as his last bout was a victory over Quentin Henry at Legacy FC 57. Jones fought twice under the UFC banner, dropping fights to the duo of Ron Stallings and Corey Anderson. Byrd is currently winless against UFC veterans, having dropped a fight to Bojan Velickovic at the AXS TV Super Fights event in May 2015.

Prediction: Jones is great at mixing up his attack and Byrd is going to be a mystery after a year layoff, Jones grounds and then finishes Byrd with strikes in the second round.

DWTNCS Flyweight Division Fight

Joby Sanchez (9-2-0) vs. Manny Vazquez (11-2-0)

Sanchez enters the fight riding a two fight winning streak, having defeated the duo of Martin Sandoval and Jesus Urbina. Vazquez is also entering the fight on the strength of a two fight winning streak, which includes a win over Nate Williams at Bellator 175. Sanchez did win just one of three fights under the UFC banner, with that lone win coming over Tateki Matsuda at UFC Fight Night 59. Vazquez has previously challenged for the Legacy FC Flyweight Title, losing to Steven Peterson at Legacy FC 56.

Prediction: These are two fighters who have great ground games, but Sanchez has the edge in the striking and that carries him to a decision win.

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