The fourth season of “Dana White’s Contender Series” kicked off on Tuesday with three fighters joining the UFC roster. The new additions showed three dramatically different stories that are worth looking at. Here’s a look at who prevailed at the season premiere from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
A Political Science Major That Doesn’t Rest
If the COVID-19 era of MMA has accentuated anything, it would be the quick turnaround bouts within the sport. Another was seen in the kickoff bout of the program, as Jordan Leavitt picked up his second win in under a month. Finishing Luke Flores in the first round, Leavitt impressed critics and earned himself a UFC contract.
The presentation of Leavitt was one that made him a unique character. Having a degree in political science from the University of Las Vegas, he noted in his pre-fight video package that this sport is a clear passion and something he is choosing over more viable options. After the fight his persona was laid back, seemingly not bugged over the idea that maybe another fight would be needed to get him a UFC contract.
“I’m confident I’ll make it to the UFC no matter what … But, if they need me to come back in a few weeks and do this again I’m down,” said Leavitt confidently in his post-fight interview.
A Serbian Who Has Built Himself In Alaska
Another undefeated fighter in Uros Medic had a strong showing, defeating Mikey Gonzalez early with dominant striking. Medic’s determination to make it to the UFC was one that saw him make huge sacrifices, leaving his home country of Serbia to train at Anchorage Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Alaska, USA.
The broadcast detailed his journey in the area as a rags to riches-esque story, coming to the deeply north-west state with only $600 with him. Competing five times in the state, Medic put together a few stoppage victories in regional promotion AFC.
After being offered a UFC contract, Medic was asked in an interview who he will call first about the news. Quickly becoming emotional, Medic mentioned how he plans to call his family, including his brother who he misses. The question served almost as a reminder of the sacrifices he made to get to where he is now.
An Ex-UFC Fighter Looking For Another Shot
The main event saw light heavyweight Dustin Jacoby look for his second entry into the UFC. His first one was a short and unsuccessful one, losing a fight in 2011 and 2012 each. Fast forward to 2020, Jacoby is a fighter with 14 GLORY Kickboxing fights and 16 MMA pro bouts under his belt. To say he was a different fighter would not be a stretch.
Jacoby’s win saw him nearly finish his opponent, Ty Flores, in the second round. The fight continued however, and this was something that UFC President Dana White even commented he disagreed with. After three rounds, including the last one which saw a much more fatigued Jacoby endure, the light heavyweight got his victory.
The first time around for Jacoby might have not been the best one, as the light heavyweight now heads into the UFC with much more experience within combat sports. His previous story is one serves as a cautionary tale, and maybe an important one for other fighters on the Contender Series, especially those who are very early in their respective careers.
The Hunt Continues
The UFC and their president Dana White plan to look out for talent for the next nine weeks, as “Dana White’s Contender Series” will air on a weekly basis this summer. The show plans to look at 100 fighters in total, with a percentage of them getting a UFC shot.