The second episode of the latest season of Dana White’s Contender Series saw another five fighters join the UFC roster after UFC president White awarded contracts to each and every one of the night’s winners at the UFC Apex.
In the main event of the evening, Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady upset the bookies’ odds by defeating England’s George Hardwick in a back-and-forth lightweight scrap between two top 155-pound prospects.
Al-Selwady set a fast pace and kept it going through the first two rounds as he outstruck the Cage Warriors champion while keeping his man guessing with constant feints and plenty of movement. As the bout wore on, Hardwick began to find his range and connected clean with strikes, but they tended to be single shots, rather than combinations.
The third round saw the action get more scrappy as both men pushed for a finish, but a late takedown from Al-Selwady ensured that the bout went the distance with the Dallas-based fighter still in the ascendancy. The judges all agreed that Al-Selwady had won all three rounds as the biggest underdog on the card earned a shutout win – and a UFC contract – with scores of 30-27 across the board.
In the co-main event, Turkish light heavyweight Ibo Aslan showcased his heavy hands as he blasted through Brazilian contender Paulo Renato Jr inside half a round to explode his way into the UFC’s 205-pound division.
As the action got underway, it seemed as if it was only a matter of time before the heavy leather would start to fly, and it was Aslan who let his shots go with devastating effect as he flattened Renato with a heavy-duty barrage of punches to claim an attention-grabbing first-round knockout and punch his ticket to the UFC.
It wasn’t the prettiest fight on the card, but Hyder Amil walked away with a unanimous decision victory over London-based Turkish fighter Emrah Sonmez after three taxing rounds of action in their featherweight matchup.
After two grapple-heavy rounds, largely instigated by a relentless wrestle-first attack from Sonmez, both men looked severely fatigued heading into the final round. But Amil’s better work through Rounds 2 and 3 was enough to turn the fight in his favor after a grueling 15-minute battle that left both men completely spent.
Amil’s never-say-die fighting spirit won over White, who awarded him a UFC contract for his efforts.
Brazilian strawweights went head-to-head in the lone female fight on the card, and Eduarda Moura continued her unblemished record with a first-round submission finish of Janaina Silva as she earned a UFC deal.
Moura dominated from the opening bell, and the 29-year-old, who trains alongside Brazilian UFC heavyweight contender Jailton Almeida in Salvador, showed off her grappling skills as she took the action to the mat before taking Silva’s back and forcing the tap with a tight rear-naked choke.
The night kicked off with a 60-second stoppage victory for Charalampos Grigoriou, who finished Cameron Smotherman with a big right hand and follow-up ground strikes. It gave the bantamweight a first-round TKO victory, and sealed a UFC contract to join former middleweight contender Costas Philippou as only the second Cypriot fighter in UFC history.
Dana White’s Contender Series 58: Official results
- Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady def. George Hardwick via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Ibo Aslan def. Paulo Renato Jr. via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 2:22
- Hyder Amil def. Emrah Sonmez via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Eduarda Moura def. Janaina Silva via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:00
- Charalampos Grigoriou def. Cameron Smotherman via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:00