Last week, we looked at 25 prospects who deserved to be a part of the this year’s edition of Dana White’s Contender Series. Now, we have 22 more deserving names. Left out will be fighters that fought on the previous three seasons, though some may return.
Lightweight | 25 | Novi, Michigan | 10-3 | Win Streak: 4 | 6 KO/TKOs, 4 Submissions
Fighting out of Michigan Top Team with the likes of Daron Cruickshank and Cody Stamann, Kenny Cross is a good prospect. Cross has quietly flown under the radar with now four consecutive wins and a 100% finish rate. Despite a few earlier setbacks, Cross has wins over Jonas Flok and Robert Hale in his last two fights who are both talented guys.
Flyweight | 24 | Denver, Colorado | 6-0 | Win Streak: 8 | 1 KO/TKO, 3 Submissions
Nate Smith has a background in wrestling that too many don’t seem to know about. He was a USA Junior Olympic wrestler in Greco Roman, Fargo All-American as well as a national champion. After a lengthy amateur career, Smith has found his stride looking quite dominant. His wrestling is solid, he’s quick, and his jiu-jitsu is solid as well.
Welterweight | 29 | Macomb, Michigan | 10-1 | Win Streak: 5 | 2 KO/TKO, 2 Submissions
Adrian Hadribeaj fights at a Karate stance which helps keep distance and use attacks. He is lightning fast with his hands and is reminiscent of Sage Northcutt with his stand-up. He can drop you with anything and while his leg kicks are more dangerous, he usually finishes with his hands. Having great takedown defense doesn’t hurt either, and going five rounds five times says a lot.
Light-heavyweight | 25 | Fowlerville, Michigan | 5-0 | Win Streak: 6 | 3 KO/TKOs, 2 Submissions
Last December, Cody Brundage beat Erick Lozano via decision. The outcome wasn’t good enough so they rematched and Brundage that time got the early stoppage. He’s the current Lights Out Championship 205-pound champ. Brundage is still a bit green but his athleticism and wrestling can take him far in a shallow division.
Welterweight | 33 | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | 8-2-1 | Win Streak: 2 | 3 KO/TKOs, 3 Submissions
Wells is a good fighter but at already 33-years-old another loss may be too much of a setback. Wells is a very explosive fighter who will attack in bursts and is willing to throw flying knees and superman punches. He also has some decent wrestling to fall back on. Overall, he’s very fun to watch and a dangerous guy no matter who he fights.
Vinicius de Jesus
Welterweight | 30 | Stamford, Connecticut | 9-2 | Win Streak: 4 | 4 KO/TKOs, 2 Submissions
Vinicius de Jesus is the current CES welterweight champion dethroning Jeremiah Wells who is listed above. de Jesus is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitu black belt competing in the Combat Jiu-Jitsu Worlds 2019 as well. He’s already fought on the big stage appearing Bellator four times, going 3-1 for the promotion.
Bantamweight | 25 | Brasilia, Federal District, Brazil | 15-1 | Win Streak: 5 | 2 KO/TKOs, 10 Submissions
With only one loss, Herbeth Sousa is currently on a five-fight win streak. He’s beat Glyan Alves and Alexander Keshtov which are two fighters I was pretty high on at the time. His last fight was for CFFC in the US which helps Seann Shelby look at him for the Contender Series. “Indio” is an aggressive grappler who has ten submissions all coming in the first round. His wrestling is solid but obviously, it’s the grappling that’s key. His transitions are smooth and his finishing ability on the submissions is dangerous as he is a black belt in BJJ.
Flyweight | 20 | New York, New York, US | 5-1 | Win Streak: 2 | 2 KO/TKOs, 1 Submission
Erin Blanchfield is very well-known in the jiu-jitsu world where she won the EBI 12 flyweight championship. Her sole MMA loss is to UFC fighter Tracy Cortez; many thought Blanchfield won that fight. She really impressed me in her last fight when she knocked out Victoria Leonardo who is a good prospect. Erin is only 20 so it will do her well not to go into the UFC straight away. With that said, a spot on the Contender Series is just more experience. A developmental deal could ensue.