Scouting Prospects for the Contender Series Season 5: Part 3

Carrington Banks Bellator MMA
Carrington Banks Credit: Dave Mandel/

This summer, Dana White’s Contender Series is back for season 5. So far the show has produced talents like Sean O’Malley, Alex Perez, Kevin Holland, Ricky Simon, Ryan Spann, Johnny Walker, Sodiq Yusuff, Miguel Baeza,  Jamahal Hill, Uros Medic, and many more.

In this three-part feature, we’ll list prospects the UFC should bring in for season five. This will exclude prospects that have already been on the show, although there are a few that could very well be brought back (and at least one, Aaron Jeffery, that will be). The goal here is to be realistic with the selections, so don’t expect too many left-field picks.

From last year’s list, Tafon Nchukwi, Dustin Stoltzfus, Brandon Royval, Collin Anglin, TJ Laramie, Adrian Yanez, Al Matavao, Nikolas Motta, Cody Brundage, Sherrard Blackledge and more all made it to the show. Others, like Anthony Ivy, Kay Hansen, Max Rohskopf, Timur Valiev, and Irwin Rivera, were signed directly to the UFC, to varying degrees of success.

It’s time for our third and final installment. If you missed them, parts one and two are linked below.

Scouting Prospects for Dana White’s Contender Series Season 5, Part 1

Scouting Prospects for Dana White’s Contender Series Season 5, Part 2

Paul Capaldo

Bantamweight | 24 | New Jersey, US | 6-0 | Win streak: 11 | 4 KO/TKOs

6-0 as a pro and 5-0 as an amateur, Capaldo is a solid prospect out of Nick Catone MMA and Fitness. Capaldo is on the correct path to get to the UFC having all his pro fights under the CFFC banner. His highlight-reel wheel kick knockout in his last bout does nothing but help his case. Capaldo could just get more experience and come onto the Contender Series in 2022 but does have the skillset to be on the show this year, and would give anyone problems.

AJ Fletcher

Welterweight | 24 | Lafayette, Louisiana, US | 7-0 | Win streak: 10 | 3 KO/TKOs, 3 Submissions’

Since losing two consecutive fights as an amateur in 2018, Fletcher has hit his stride. The Louisiana-born fighter has looked excellent across seven pro bouts. “The Ghost” has been very active since turning professional even fighting four times in 2019. The fighting style of Fletcher slightly resembles Contender Series veteran and UFC fighter Ian Heinishch. I’m sure a young welterweight with an undefeated record will attract a spot on the show.


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