Redemption: Second Chances on Dana White’s Contender Series — Erisson Ferreira

Erisson Ferreira and Jesus Santos Aguilar, Dana White's Contender Series 51 weigh-in 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.

Erisson “Gato” Ferreira (11-1 MMA)

Age: 31 years old

Height: 5’6″ / Reach: 70”

Weight Class: Flyweight (125lbs.)

First DW’s Contender Series Fight: 2021, Week 10

Old DW’s Contender Series Opponent: Qiulun Qiu (16-8 MMA)

Second DW’s Contender Series Fight: 2022, Week 5

New Opponent: Jesus Santos Aguilar (7-1 MMA)

First DWCS Fight

In Erisson Ferreira’s first appearance on the Contender Seires he fought in a very entertaining and competitive bout. Ferreira’s performance displayed a lot of what Dana White likes to see on the Contender Series: Always pushing the pace, aggressive striking and activity on the ground.

Prior to this fight, all of Erisson’s wins were by KO/TKO.

The first round was a barn burner, seeing Ferreira dropped with a clean straight left hand from his opponent. Luckily, Erisson was able to survive and return to his feet where he was able to land a hard combination of his own that stunned his opponent and dropped him to the canvas. Ferreira was able to pounce on top of of his foe and maintain the position till the end of the round.

In the second round both fighters let the pace of the fight slow considerably, with Ferreira’s opponent focusing heavily on kicks. Ferreira’s opponent again connected with a hard shot that sent Erisson into the side of the cage.

In the start of the final round there were a few exchanges on the feet before Erisson was able to secure a takedown. Ferreira’s opponent attempted a submission and Erisson attempted a couple of his own, with one guillotine choke in pretty deep before the final horn.

Erisson got the unanimous decision (29-28, x3) win, but did not receive a contract.

First Contender Series Opponent

Erisson’s first Contender Series opponent Qiulun Qiu was 15-7 entering their bout. Qiu was only 24 years old at the time and although he had very good kicks and a 1-2, he was still a bit green in their Contender Series fight.

The combined records of the opponents that Qiulun Qiu had faced up until that point were 79-31.

Qiulun Qiu has won 1 fight since facing Ferreira last year. This win came at Road to the UFC: Singapore- Episode 2 where he won a decision over then 8-1 fighter, Wallen del Rosario.

Ferreira’s win over Qiu is definitely one that has aged well and could continue to age well.

The Road Back

It has been less than a year since Erisson competed in his first Contender Series fight back in November of last year.

Erisson has not competed in any pro MMA bouts since then, though he had a fight cancelled against Danilo Adreani (10-3) for Brazilian Fighting Series 7, back in March.

Gameplan/New Opponent 

In Erisson Ferreira’s second shot on the Contender Series he will be taking on 26 year old, Jesus Santos Aguilar.

Five out of the seven wins in Aguilar’s professional MMA career have come by way of submission. And it looks like Aguilar’s go-to submission is the guillotine choke, as he’s finished three of his five submission wins with the technique.

Aguilar is only eight fights deep into his pro MMA career and still pretty green aswell. Erisson should have a good chance to end the fight on the feet with his explosiveness and heavy hands against a more of a ground specialist in Aguilar.

Redemption fighters are now 4-0 on the 2022 season with all fighters being awarded a UFC contract.

Can Erisson Ferreira keep redemption fighters on the Contender Series undefeated and impress enough to earn a UFC contract?