DWCS 8/4/20: Did Dana Get It Right?

Welcome to a new series on Fightful.com, Did Dana Get It Right. Dana White’s Contender Series has proven to be one of the best avenues for new talent to enter the UFC, and it returned on Tuesday for a fourth installment. The series has served as a launching pad for the careers of many UFC stars and prospects, including Sean O’Malley, Dan Ige, Edmen Shahbazyan, and Geoff Neal. This week saw four winners eligible to earn a contract

Light Heavyweight - Dustin Jacoby defeats Ty Flores via unanimous decision

Did Jacoby get a contract?: Yes

Jacoby dominated this fight with his superior striking skills. His experience in professional kickboxing bouts served as his base for success, tagging Flores with ease from the first second of the fight. Jacoby threw just about everything he had at Flores, but he was unable to crack through his ultra-tough chin. Jacoby came very close to a TKO finish in the second round after dropping Flores with a punch, but Flores was able to do just enough to survive the round. After that second round, it became evident that Jacoby had very little left in his gas tank. He was still able to win the round on many people’s scorecards, despite two judges awarding the round to Flores. The stamina is a big red flag, just because that is an issue with many fighters that tip the scales over 200 pounds. Many people were on the fence when it came to deciding whether or not Jacoby should have gotten a contract, as was Dana White. He did decide to give Jacoby a contract, possibly citing experience in fights with David Branch, Andrew Sanchez, Mohammed Lawal, and Karl Roberson (kickboxing bout) after a brief stint in the UFC, along with his advanced age. However, a quick look at his record would show just a decent 10-8 record in kickboxing and finish losses to John Salter and the aforementioned “King Mo.” While I’m not opposed to Jacoby getting a contract, I would’ve preferred to get another look at him in the Contender Series.

Should he have gotten a contract?: No

Lightweight - Uros Medic defeats Mikey Gonzalez via TKO (Ground & Pound) at 2:12 of Round 1

Did Uros get a contract?: Yes

This was probably the easiest decision of the night. Medic’s power proved to be far too much to overcome for Gonzalez, who attempted to repeatedly use spinning hook kicks to keep Medic at bay. These attempts were futile, however, as Medic was able to secure two knockdowns in a little over a minute. One came after a nasty body kick, the second happening after a left hand and leg kick combo. Dana was eager to sign the Serbian and he should be a problem in the Lightweight division, as he is now 6-0 with every win coming by a finish, all but one happening in the first round.

Should he have gotten a contract?: Yes

Flyweight - Jerome Rivera defeats Luis Rodriguez via unanimous decision

Did Jerome get a contract?: No

This was an absolutely fantastic fight. Early on in the fight, Rivera was able to sweep Rodriguez’s leg and take Rivera to the mat, finding his way to Rodriguez’s back. He put in a body triangle to retain position, but Rodriguez still spun out and got the fight back up to the feet. Rodriguez decided to go for a takedown late in the opening round and did so successfully, landing some nice ground and pound while he was in control. A good round that most scored for Rivera. The second round was different, however, as Rivera began by engaging in the clinch. About halfway through the round, Rodriguez slammed his opponent to the canvas and began to threaten with submissions, but Rivera was able to escape them. In the third round, Rodriguez took control of the fight, landing a takedown and stuffing one from Rivera. A majority of the people watching scored the fight in favor of Rodriguez, except the three cageside judges, aas they gave Rivera a unanimous decision nod. Dana expressed his displeasure for the decision after the night was over and did not give Rivera a contract. He said that both fighters could be in the UFC in the foreseeable future, and with fun fights like that one in a shallow division like Flyweight, it’s only a matter of time, but it wouldn’t have happened with a bad decision like this one. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, to see both of these fighters back on the Contender Series.

Should he have gotten a contract?: No

Lightweight - Jordan Leavitt defeats Jose Flores via submission (Arm Triangle) at 4:15 of Round 1

Did Jordan get a contract?: Yes

The fourth season of DWCS started with a bang, as Leavitt staked his claim for a contract early on. He came out of the gates with a takedown, while not the cleanest one you’ll ever see, it got the job done. He was able to shut down the several submissions that Flores attempted, eventually advancing position on the ground. He was then able to sink in an arm triangle choke to end the fight in the final minute of the first round. If the fight wasn’t good enough, Leavitt then went into a flashy post-fight celebration which featured him going into the splits and doing a Johnny Walker-esque worm, minus the dislocated shoulder. White decided to sign the now 7-0 fighter after this impressive performance, which should prove to be a good decision.

Should he have gotten a contract?: Yes

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