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 number 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.
For this week, the 10th and final week of the Contender Series for 2023, the Redemption Series will be taking a look at one half of the main event, Ramon Taveras.
Ramon “The Savage” Taveras (8-2 MMA)
Age: 29 years old
Height: 5’8″ / Reach: 70″
Weight Class: Bantamweight (135lbs.)
First DW’s Contender Series Fight: 2023 (Week 5)
Old DW’s Contender Series Opponent: Serhiy Sidey (10-1 MMA)
Second DW’s Contender Series Fight: 2023 (Week 10)
New Opponent: Cortavious Romious (7-1 MMA)
First Contender Series Fight
Ramon Taveras is a very special case on the redemption series as he competed a little over a month ago on Week 5 of the 2023 season of the Contender Series. Unlike most redemption fighters that usually made their first appearance on the Contender Series in a different season entirely.
Taveras headed into his first Contender Series fight on a four-fight win streak, including a first-round finish over MMA legend, Charles Bennett, in March earlier this year.
Taveras finished three of these four fights and captured the Combat Night Bantamweight title in his final fight before being on the Contender Series.
Despite competing at 135lbs. on the Contender Series, 29-year-old Taveras, has successfully weighed in as a bantamweight just three times throughout his entire pro MMA career.
Ahead of his first appearance on the Contender Series, Taveras missed weight, weighing in at a 136.3lbs. for his bantamweight bout. In the fight itself, Taveras made a good impression for as long as the fight lasted. Ramon displayed excellent boxing fundamentals, a lighting jab and a great 1-2 combination.
Unfortunately, Taveras was countered by his longer opponent and dropped with his opponent following up with ground and pound. The fight was stopped (prematurely in the eyes of some, including Dana White) at this point leaving Taveras visibly upset. This quick stoppage was likely one of the major contributing factors to Taveras being invited back later on in the same season.
First Contender Series Opponent
Ramon’s first Contender Series opponent was Serhiy Sidey who entered the fight with a 9-1 record.
Sidey, who is also a large bantamweight at 5’11”, competed in five bouts at featherweight to start his pro career beginning in 2018.
The Canadian would go on to win the Battlefield Fight League (BFL) Bantamweight title and successfully defend it multiple times. Sidey also captured the vacant BTC Bantamweight Title earlier this year which captured the attention of UFC brass.
For Sidey’s impressive performance on the Contender Series he earned himself a UFC contract. Since this bout was just a little over a month ago, Sidey has yet to compete in the UFC and at the time of this articles release, doesn’t have his UFC debut booked.
The Road Back
Ramon Taveras has neither competed in a pro MMA fight nor had a bout scheduled in the month since his last Contender Series appearance.
Gameplan/ New Opponent
For his shot at redemption, Ramon Taveras will be taking on the 7-1 fighter, Cortavious Romious. Romious is another big bantamweight that has had five of his eight fights at 145lbs. or heavier.
In Cortavious’ most recent fight, he fought at a catchweight of 150lbs., for his LFA bout. Cortavious is on a three fight win streak all first round submission finishes. The combined record of Cortavious’ opponents at the time of fighting them was: 36-29
At 5’4″ with a 67″ reach, and a dangerous submission threat Cortavious will be the grappler in this grappler vs striker match-up for Ramon Taveras’ shot at redemption.