Redemption: Second Chances on Dana White’s Contender Series — Chris Duncan

Chris Duncan, Dana White's Contender Series 48
Chris DUncan, Dana White's Contender Series Season 6 Week 2 Credit: Alex Behunin/Cageside Press

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 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.

Chris “The Problem” Duncan (8-1 MMA)

Age: 29 years old

Height: 5’10″ / Reach: 71.5″

Weight Class: Lightweight (155lbs.)

First DW’s Contender Series Fight: 2021, Week 7

Old DW’s Contender Series Opponent: Viacheslav Borshchev (6-2 MMA)

Second DW’s Contender Series Fight: 2022, Week 2

New Opponent: Charlie Campbell (6-1 MMA)

First DWCS Fight

Chris Duncan made his first appearance on the Contender Series in Week 7 of the 2021 season against Russian kickboxing specialist Viacheslav Borshchev.

Duncan’s original opponent, Manuel Gaxhja, missed weight earlier on in the season (Week 5) which cancelled the pair’s fight. This cancellation also forced Duncan to take a new date and opponent on short notice to get a shot on the Contender Series before the end of the season.

Duncan is a fighter that truly embodies how to capture a contract on DWCS, as he is always aggressive, isn’t afraid to throw his hands and looks for the finish in all of his fights.

Heading into his first Contender Series fight, Duncan had never had a pro fight make it to the scorecards.

Chris actually had a perfect 7-0 record, with three of his finishes coming in the first round.

However, Duncan met his match on that night in Viacheslav Borshchev.

Duncan put up a good fight mixing in some very solid takedowns and wrestling against the Russian striker. But, ultimately, Chris and his fight style got him into trouble as he was dragged into a firefight on the feet and was caught and knocked unconscious early in the 2nd round via a vicious left hook.

First Contender Series Opponent

Chris Duncan had a very tough opponent in Viacheslav Borshchev, for his first Contender Series fight, especially in the striking department.

Viacheslav Borshchev was 4-1 at the time of fighting Duncan, but had competed in around 200 ameatur kickboxing fights.

Borschchev also was a Russian and World kickboxing champion with a record of 18-2 in professional kickboxing competition.

Obviously, as a result of the clean KO and great showing of his kickboxing skills, Borshchev received a UFC contract at the conclusion of the night.

In his UFC debut, Viacheslav went on to finish Dakota Bush with a body shot, to open the main card of UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Chikadze back in January.

Viacheslav lost a unanimous decision to Marc Diakiese in his most recent fight which again, was the first fight on the main card of UFC FN: Blaydes vs. Daukaus in March.

It almost goes without saying that Borshchev was a very good opponent, even though his ground game is still a little green, and was a solid pick up for the UFC.

The Road Back

In the just nine months and 20 days since Duncan was last on the Contender Series he has competed in one pro MMA bout.

Chris fought Jonathan Carlos at UFL 8, four months after his KO loss on DWCS, in February of this year.

Duncan’s opponent  entered the fight with a 6-4 record with his opponents up to that point having a combined record of 32-27.

Jonathan Carlos was the first opponent that Chris Duncan made it to the final bell with thus far, as he defeated Carlos via unanimous decision.

Gameplan/ New Opponent 

Duncan will be facing 6-1 Charlie Campbell for his second shot on DWCS. Campbell (6’0″, 72″) trains out of Longo and Weidman MMA in New York. He is a veteran of the Bellator MMA and CFFC promotions, which is where he competed most recently, back in April.

Campbell has solid leg kicks and a couple finishes via leg kick on his record.

As the shorter fighter, Duncan will likely have the best chance of success by getting in the pocket and striking before utilizing his wrestling to neutralize his opponent and control where the fight takes place as well as its pace.

It’s sure to be a good fight to headline the second week of the 2022 season of DWCS as Chris Duncan and Charlie Campbell are relatively evenly matched.


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