The latest installment of Dana White’s Contender Series, DWCS 31, featured the return of a developmental deal holder, a short-notice replacement stepping up, and two undefeated fighters.
Those undefeated fighters were Nate Smith, taking on Jimmy Flick at flyweight, and Cody Brundage, who was facing the aforementioned developmental deal holder William Knight. Knight, since appearing on the show in 2019, had gone 2-1, with the lone loss coming to Tafon Nchukwi, who will appear on the series next week. Knight was certainly hoping that this will be the year he graduates to the UFC proper, while Brundage will look to keep his perfect record intact. Previously, the light heavyweight has fought for Light’s Out, where he is the promotion’s 205lb champion.
The short-notice replacement at this week’s edition of the Contender Series 2020 is Chase Gibson, who fills in for Victor Martinez against Tucker Lutz.
As always the Contender Series will air on ESPN+ (in the U.S.) and UFC Fight Pass, kicking off at 8PM ET. Tune in come fight time for updates and results from tonight’s festivities.
The opening card bout between Tucker Lutz and Chase Gibson went the distance, with Lutz thoroughly in control of a very technical bout. He’d take the 30-27 win on all three scorecards, but whether it was enough to secure a contract would remain to be seen. Lutz said following the fight that he wasn’t happy with his performance, likely with that in mind.
Developmental dear holder William Knight was seconds away from being finished by the undefeated Cody Brundage in the opening round of their light heavyweigt bout. Brundage had his back, and had Knight flattened out. However Knight trapped a wrist while Brundage was working him over, managed to escape back to his feet, and answered a takedown attempt with some nasty elbows. That spelled doom for Brundage, as he ate far too many of them.
At bantamweight, Ronnie Lawrence earned a one-sided decision in a fight that arguably could have had a 10-8 round. Lawrence had a number of takedowns on opponent Jose Johnson, whose takedown defense just wasn’t where it should have been.
Jimmy Flick showed superior grappling against Nate Smith, chasing multiple submission attempts all the way into the third round. Where he finally locked in an arm-triangle for the finish. And almost certainly a UFC contract.
In the featured fight of the night, meanwhile, Melsik Baghdasaryan was dominant early against Dennis Buzukja. As the fight wore on, Buzukja mounted a bit of a comeback, but it wasn’t enough, with Baghdasaryan taking home a unanimous decision.
Dana White’s Contender Series Season 4, Week 5 Results
Featherweight: Melsik Baghdasaryan def. Dennis Buzukja by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Flyweight: Jimmy Flick def. Nate Smith by submission (arm-triangle choke), Round 3, 3:15
Bantamweight: Ronnie Lawrence def. Jose Johnson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Light heavyweight: William Knight def. Cody Brundage by TKO, Round 1, 2:23
Lightweight: Tucker Lutz def. Chase Gibson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Contract Winners: William Knight, Ronnie Lawrence, Jimmy Flick
Nate Smith, Tucker Lutz, and Melsik Baghdasaryan have been invited back for second Contender Series fights in November.