It’s that time again. After the coronavirus pandemic forced a delay, the Contender Series is back. Dana White’s Contender Series Season 4 kicked off Tuesday, a little late but no less promising.
For those appearing on the week one card, there was a little less competition for that UFC contract. That’s after Damonte Robinson was scratched from the card, a development first reported by James Lynch.
— James Lynch (@LynchOnSports) August 4, 2020
That left Kenny Cross without a dance partner, with no time to find a replacement. Hopefully, the show will find a way to get him back on soon. In the meantime, a four-fight card would kick off the season, featuring the following pairings:
Light Heavyweight: Ty Flores vs. Dustin Jacoby
Lightweight: Uros Medic vs. Mikey Gonzalez
Flyweight: Luis Rodriguez vs. Jerome Rivera
Lightweight: Jordan Leavitt vs. Luke Flores
We spoke to Ty Flores ahead of his featured fight, who told us that he expected to have a considerable weight advantage over Jacoby, who has previously competed for Bellator, come fight night. “I think I’m gonna get him on the ground and he is gonna feel that, and I’m gonna zap all his energy,” he added.
Be sure to check out our full breakdown of Dana White’s Contender Series 4 Week 1. Results from Tuesday’s event can be found below.
Kicking off the Contender Series Week 1 card was Jordan Leavitt, who put a career in law on hold to pursue his fighting career. After opponent Luke Flores opted to jump guard and work on a triangle, Leavitt landed a slam, controlled on the ground, and softened his opponent up with punches. Then came the arm-triangle choke, and a first round finish. A post-fight celebration including “the worm” helped make his case for a UFC deal.
The flyweight battle between Luis Rodriguez and Jerome Rivera was a very different affair. A heated one, at times. Three full rounds full of scrambles and submission attempts. While Rivera looked dangerous on the ground early, he soon struggled to land takedowns, and Rodriguez appeared to be the fresher fighter as the bout wore on. Very active, very competitive, very fun. Rivera wound up taking the win on the scorecards, which left some observers puzzled, but both fighters deserve credit for a hell of a show.
The third fight of the evening was a show-stopper. Uros Medic repeatedly drilled the body of Mikey Gonzalez with kicks. After crumpling Gonzalez with one kick to the liver, he had a near finish. Somehow, Gonzalez survived. He didn’t survive a second punishing kick to the body, and more follow-up strikes. Medic making a strong statement for a UFC deal.
The MVP of Tuesday’s Contender Series offering may have been Ty Flores’ chin. In reality, it’s what kept him in his fight against Dustin Jacoby. Unfortunately for Flores, it didn’t help him get the win, however. Jacoby, who fought in the UFC and Bellator in years gone by, was returning from a stint in kickboxing, and absolutely pieced Flores up through the first two rounds. Flores was bloodied, close to being finished, but somehow gutted it out. Still, there was no question to the winner — Jacoby.
In the end, Leavitt, Medic, and Jacoby earned UFC deals. UFC President Dana White, meanwhile, said he expected to see Jerome Rivera and Luis Rodriguez in the promotion some day as well — “just not today.”
Dana White’s Contender Series Season 4, Week 1 Results:
Dustin Jacoby def. Ty Flores by unanimous decision (30-26, 29-27, 29-27)
Uros Medic def. Mikey Gonzalez by TKO (body kick and punches), Round 1, 2:12
Jerome Rivera def. Luis Rodriguez by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Jordan Leavitt def. Luke Flores by submission (arm-triangle choke), Round 1, 4:15
Contract Winners: Jordan Leavitt, Uros Medic, Dustin Jacoby