Week 9 of Dana White’s Contender Series 2020 saw the show back on Tuesday night, after a one-off Wednesday outing last week. And as far as DWCS cards this season have gone, the 35th installment of the show was an interesting one.
A last minute replacement in Natan Levy stepped up, preventing a rehash of the previous week, which saw just four fights. Mariusz Ksiazkiewicz looked to be the next Canadian to win a UFC contract, after the success of T.J. Laramie earlier this year. Joseph Lowry was getting his second look on the show, after coming up short against Devonte Smith previously. And Danny Sabatello vs. Taylor Moore was a fight that was practically UFC-level in all but name.
This week’s installment of Dana White’s Contender Series kicks off at 8PM ET, airing live on ESPN+ where available, and UFC Fight Pass elsewhere. Tune in come fight time for results.
Danny Sabatello immediately shot for a takedown to open his bantamweight bout with Taylor Moore. Sabatello would spend the remainder of the round on top, with Moore trying and failing to make something happen from the bottom. Moore started the second pressing forward, looking for a takedown of his own, but Sabatello wound up turning the tables, controlling from the back and getting one hook in. He’d eventually end up on top again, and ride out the round there. The third verse was the same as the first two, and Sabatello took home a lopsided unanimous decision win, with one judge awarding the fight a 30-24.
Luana Pinheiro, a solid favorite against Stephanie Frausto, took center early in the evening’s strawweight bout. Roughly three minutes into the opening frame, Pinheiro connected with a left, then a right, and suddenly, Frausto was on her way down — and out. A powerful finish from the Brazilian.
In lightweight action, Joe Lowry mixed up his striking well, working in a lead left and low kicks. Motta, however, fired back a heavy left of his own, proving that it would be a very bad idea to be caught flat-footed in front of him. In the final minute of the opening round, Motta managed to knock down Lowry, and his counter shots were proving to be incredibly nasty. In the second, Motta would trap his opponent against the fence, looking for the finish. Lowry wound up with an impromptu nose job, and was leaking blood at a steady rate. He gutted it out and went on the attack, earning fans with his toughness even as he was eating more of Motta’s power punches. In the third, with Motta slowing, Lowry managed to finish strong. But it wasn’t enough to steal the round, let alone the fight.
Replacement fighter Natan Levy managed to get Shaheen Santana down in the opening round of their lightweight scrap. From there, he worked on a kimura, americana, and generally showed a great top game. Lots of control time, and a fair bit of ground n’ pound, won the round for Levy, after a bit of a shakey start on the feet. In the second, Levy showed some power in his kicks before pursuing a takedown — but after being rocked, Santana managed to take Levy’s back while standing, locking in a body triangle. Santana transitioned to an arm-bar, but Levy was out quickly enough, leaving him on top once again. In the third round, Levy finally sealed the deal. Once again on top, he locked in an arm-triangle choke, and put Santana to sleep!
Mariusz Ksiazkiewicz landed an early takedown against Brazil’s Mario Sousa in the featured fight of DWCS 35. The Canadian middleweight stayed tight to his opponent. But soon enough, Sousa had scrambled and landed on top. Sousa landed some heavy shots. Ksiazkiewicz threatened with an arm-bar and escaped. Moments later, Ksiazkiewicz found himself in a guillotine, but wasn’t in any danger and ended the round on top — only to eat a late elbow from the bottom by Sousa, who quickly apologized. Sousa came out firing in the second, tagging Ksiazkiewicz and landing a knee to the midsection. “The Iron Pol” punched his way out of trouble, then landed a takedown. From there Ksiazkiewicz moved to side control. He tried for a D’arce, wound up victim of an illegal upkick that was luckily a glancing blow, and once again finished the round on top. The problem being, when Sousa did connect, he landed the bigger shots. Knowing this, Ksiazkiewicz took the fight down early in the third. He had the position taken away when the ref stood things back up, but Ksiazkiewicz landed another takedown almost immediately. Narrowly avoiding an upkick, Ksiazkiewicz worked for a heel hook in the final minute, but gave up position in the final seconds, eating a flurry of strikes before regaining top position.
Dana White’s Contender Series Season 4, Week 9 Results
Mário Sousa def. Mariusz Ksiazkiewicz by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Natan Levy def. Shaheen Santana by technical submission (arm-triangle choke), Round 3, 0:55
Nikolas Motta def. Joe Lowry by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Luana Pinheiro def. Stephanie Frausto by knockout, Round 1, 2:48
Danny Sabatello def. Taylor Moore by unanimous decision (30-24, 30-25, 30-26)
Contracts: Launa Pinheiro, Nikolas Motta, Natan Levy