Four fighters were handed UFC contracts on Tuesday’s episode of TV show “Dana White’s Contender Series.” Following their successful fights, Victor Martinez, Kleydson Rodrigues, Michael Morales and AJ Dobson were all offered an opportunity with the top MMA promotion.
The fights took place at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Dobson Picks Up Sole Finish Win of the Evening
AJ Dobson scored the sole finish on the card, submitting Hashem Arkhagha in the main event with a first-round rear naked choke.
The submission victory for Dobson came after a dominant, yet short win. After hurting Arkhagha earlier in the round, Dobson secured a takedown in the fourth minute – putting them in the position for a rear naked choke submission a minute later.
Things started going Dobson’s way early, as he dropped Arkhagha in the first minute with a flurry of punches. He nearly stopped Arkhagha again when they got back to the feet in the third minute, storming him with another series of punches.
Dobson maintained a flawless pro record with the fight, now with six wins since turning pro in 2016.
Arkhagha, an alum of UAE Warriors and Brave CF, entered the fight with six pro victories. He missed weight for the fight, coming in three pounds over the middleweight non-championship limit on Monday.
Morales Continues Extensive Undefeated Record
Michael Morales extended his undefeated record in the co-main event, using his striking and wrestling to get a scorecard nod over Nikolay Veretennikov.
Veretennikov started the fight fine, but Morales began to heat up in the second round and finish strong in the final frame.
Wrestling was a huge part of the fight for Morales, being able to throw his opponent around and at times use it to set up ground and pound.
Morales has now picked up 12 wins since turning pro in 2017.
Veretennikov was getting a “Contender Series” shot following a successful run in LFA and Fury FC.
Nguyen Ends Undefeated Run of Rlayang
Steven Nguyen had a dominant win on Tuesday, taking a decision victory over Theo Rlayang following a one-sided striking performance.
Nguyen was the only winner on this week’s episode that didn’t get offered a UFC contract at the end of the episode.
Nguyen out-landed Rlayang in every round, constantly getting the better shots against an opponent that had no answer for his attacks.
Adding insult to the injury of a tough outing, Rlayang was deducted a point by referee Mike Beltran for accidental eye pokes in the third round.
Nguyen was returning to the “Contender Series,” having lost his 2019 fight on the show.
The bout was Rlayang’s first pro loss. He had just turned pro in early 2020 and attained five victories before the “Contender Series” call.
Rodrigues Continues Win Streak With Scorecard Win
Kleydson Rodrigues picked up a decision win in the second bout of the evening, defeating finisher Santo Curatolo via unanimous decision.
Rodrigues started slow in the fight, but used a diverse amount of striking to get the nod on scorecards.
Rodrigues is now on a six-fight winning streak that dates back to 2016.
The bout was Curatolo’s first time going the distance as a pro. The former CFFC Flyweight Champion has a reputation for finishing fights, with his quickest win being in the second minute of the second round.
Returning Martinez Takes Decision Nod Over Rosales
Victor Martinez made somewhat of a comeback in the opening bout, defeating regional vet Jacob Rosales in a unanimous decision fight.
Rosales nearly finished the fight late in the first round, dropping Martinez with a right cross and following up with lots of ground and pound shots.
Martinez succeeded on the second round, making it one of the closest rounds of the fight.
Rosales ran into trouble in the final third of the fight, noting in-between the second and third rounds that he had injured his right hand.
As an injury intensified for Rosales, Martinez continued to open up punches and connect on the feet.
Martinez was making his first appearance since late 2019. The new victory built on a win streak he attained on the regional scene, including a title fight in Texas-based promotion Fury FC.
Rosales had lost two of his previous five bouts, although they were in high-level bouts. He was competing on the show after defeating Jose Martinez on an LFA card early this year.
Bout 5: AJ Dobson def. Hashem Arkhagha via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 1, 4:21)
Bout 4: Michael Morales def. Nikolay Veretennikov via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 3: Steven Nguyen def. Theo Rlayang via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 2: Kleydson Rodrigues def. Santo Curatolo via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 1: Victor Martinez def. Jacob Rosales via Decision, Unanimous