Dana White’s Contender Series began back in 2017. Since then, the Contender Series has produced some big-name upcoming stars like Dan Ige, Sean O’Malley, Geoff Neal, Maycee Barber, and Edmen Shahbazyan. In short, it has been a huge success.
A Contender Series fight is one that has stakes like none other, where fighters must showcase their skills to impress the UFC president enough for a contract with the promotional giant. Holding the Contender Series with a smaller cage inside the UFC Apex venue makes for a tense atmosphere, and with only close friends and family of the competing fighters in attendance as spectators. Emotions always run high, as a limited amount of contracts can be given out on any given night, and many fighters can potentially have their dreams snubbed out solely because of bad luck.
In rare cases, however, a fighter gets a second look. This series will examine those.
JP “Young Savage” Buys (8-2 MMA)
Age: 24 years old
Weight Class: Bantamweight (135lbs.)
First DW’s Contender Series Fight: 2017 (Week 7)
Old DW’s Contender Series Opponent: Jobby Sanchez (13-5 MMA)
Second DW’s Contender Series Fight: 2020 (Week 10)
New Opponent: Jacob Silva (6-3 MMA)
First DWCS Fight
JP Buys made his first appearance on DW’s Contender Series in 2017 against Jobby Sanchez. This fight took place in the flyweight division. Buys entered the fight with a 4-1 record.
Buys showed off an amazing wrestling suplex within the first round of the fight to put his opponent on his head. But from there, Sanchez began to take over the fight, out-grappling Buys before standing up and looking for a takedown of his own. Buys continued to give heavy resistance and even reverse positions multiple times throughout the round before securing a backpack mount on a standing Jobby Sanchez. Buys landed some solid damage before losing the back and trying for a couple of submissions before again finding himself on the bottom having punches rained upon him.
The second round saw JP’s striking look a little telegraphed and his hands were resting lower than in the first, obviously a result of fatigue from wrestling. After shooting, JP again got his position reversed and his opponent first threatened a deep head an arm choke before finally getting the ground and pound finish in the second round.
Contender Series Opponent
Buy’s opponent Jobby Sanchez picked up a UFC contract as a result of the second round finish on DWCS. Sanchez fought for the first time under the UFC promotional banner in February of 2018 and lost to Roberto Sanchez in the first round via rear-naked choke submission.
In his sophomore UFC bout, Sanchez faced Mark De La Rosa in November of the same year and lost a split decision. After this loss, he was released by the UFC. Jobby fought Demetrius Wilson under the LFA banner and got a win via unanimous decision in early 2019. Sanchez lost to Brandon Royval by submission in the first round before winning his most recent bout against Jose Alday last October, under the Combate Americas promotional banner.
The Road Back
Since losing to Joby Sanchez in 2017, JP Buys has fought 4 more times and is on a four-fight unbeaten streak. Buys isn’t just 4-0 but he has also finished all of his opponents. And all four of the bouts that he took after the Contender Series were at bantamweight.
Buys fought Phillipper Rouch, who entered the bout at 7-3, about eight months after being on DWCS, and finished him with a mounted guillotine choke. JP won the Vacant Bantamweight EFC Worldwide Championship with his win over Rouch.
JP took on Gaamzat Magomedov, who was 1-0, at Brave CF 17 in November of 2018 and finished him in the third round by disqualification.
Buys fought 5-1, Luthando Biko, for the first defense of his Bantamweight EFC WC belt and Biko via ground and pound in the fourth round.
For JP’s final fight before getting a shot on the 2020 Contender Series, was a bout at LFA 78 against Cristian Rodriguez Jr. Buys was able to finish Rodriguez in a little over a minute of the first round to get the victory over the 4-2 fighter.
Gameplan/ New Opponent
For JP’s second appearance on DW’s Contender Series, he will be facing another fighter that is looking for redemption in Jacob Silva.
It is going to be very important for JP to hang on to his advantageous positions, easier said than done of course, but the transitions and reversal on the ground really sealed his fate in his first DWCS fight. It’ll be important for JP to manage his energy so that he can get and keep takedowns.