DWCS 2023: Episode 9 Breakdown and Predictions

Dana White's Contender Series (DWCS) at the UFC Apex
Dana White's Contender Series, UFC Apex Credit: Jeff Bottari (UFC)

Dana White’s Contender Series Season 7, Week 9 arrives on Tuesday night in Las Vegas, with the penultimate episode of the season featuring a pair of light heavyweight showdowns, and the return of Rodolfo Bellato. It has, in fact, been a crazy couple of weeks on DWCS, with Dana White handing out contracts to a fighter coming off a draw two weeks ago, and to not one but two losing fighters last week.

Would more zaniness ensue on Week 9? Read on for how we see the second-to-last episode of the season playing out!

Light heavyweight Rodolfo Bellato, Dana White's Contender Series 53
Rodolfo Bellato, Dana White’s Contender Series 53 weigh-in Credit: Alex Behunin/Cageside Press

Light heavyweight: Murtaza Talha Vs Rodolfo Bellato

Tale of the Tape

Murtaza Talha
Al-Muharraq, Bahrain
3 KO/TKOs, 3 Submissions
Combined opponents’ record: 29-6
Rodolfo Bellato
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Team Nogueira
5 KO/TKOs, 4 Submissions
Combined opponents’ record: 50-27

Pros and Cons

Murtaza Talha


  • Excellent wrestling
  • Strikes to wrestler well
  • Strong positional grappling
  • Aggressive wrestling attack
  • Submission threat
  • Excellent ground control
  • Solid Jiu-Jitsu
  • Heavy ground and pound


  • N/A

Rodolfo Bellato


  • Excellent Jiu-Jitsu
  • Fight-ending ground and pound
  • Explosive
  • Submission threat
  • Dangerous off his back
  • Physically strong
  • Good jab
  • Good output


  • Questionable chin
  • Rushes in blind

Who has the advantage?

Striking: Bellato
Speed: Bellato
Output/Volume: Talha
Kickboxing: Bellato
Striking defense: Talha
Footwork/movement: Even
Wrestling: Talha
Grappling: Talha
Gas tank: Even

Prediction: Talha came into his pro career as one of the best amateur prospects at the time. He went 12-0 never losing in three years in IMMAF winning gold which is an incredible feat. Talha has been a terror in his pro career over in Brave CF dominating everyone.

Bellato is getting his second chance on the Contender Series after losing last season to the only person that beat him, Vitor Petrino. Since that loss, he’s won his next two. Last May he won the LFA light-heavyweight title.

I like Bellato and I think he’s UFC level but he’s getting a rough match-up. Talha is one of the best light heavyweight prospects worldwide. Bellato is a BJJ guy but the wrestling of Talha should be able to cancel that out. Bellato is dangerous off his back but I would bet Talha isn’t getting caught while on top. There is a chance Bellato can win on the feet. Talha has a smothering pace and I believe will just relentlessly put Bellato on his but. My prediction is Talkha by ground and pound later in the fight.