The latest night of action on Dana White’s Contender Series saw four more prospects earn UFC contracts, including one fighter who didn’t pick up a win on the night.
Flyweight Igor da Silva, lightweight Kaynan Kruschewsky, and heavyweight Shamil Gaziev all picked up stoppage wins to earn contracts from UFC CEO Dana White, while Stephanie Luciano’s late surge to earn a draw against Talita Alencar also impressed the UFC boss sufficiently to earn the Brazilian strawweight a UFC deal.
Undefeated heavyweights went toe to toe in the featured bout of the evening, and Bahrain-based Dagestani prospect Shamil Gaziev needed just over half a round to finish CFFC heavyweight champion Greg Velasco via rear-naked choke.
Gaziev entered the bout with a perfect 10-0 record, and he had everyone’s attention when he dropped Velasco with the first punch of the fight.
Despite being decked early, Velasco quickly rallied, took Gaziev’s back and tried to lock up a rear-naked choke. But Gaziev stayed calm and gradually turned the tables on the American to finish the fight with a rear-naked choke of his own.
The most unusual contract award came after Talita Alencar and Stephanie Luciano battled to a unanimous draw in their strawweight matchup.
Alencar took the opening two rounds, but by the end of Round 2 it was clear that her gas tank had run dry, while Luciano looked like she had plenty left in the tank.
That was even more apparent in the final round, as Luciano went hell for leather in pursuit of a finish. It didn’t quite come, but it was enough to earn 10-8 scores from the three judges, who all scored the fight 28-28 for a unanimous draw. However, Luciano’s gutsy comeback impressed White enough to earn a contract, despite not quite earning the victory on the night.
Brazilian lightweight Kaynan Kruschewsky claimed the night’s other submission finish as he finished American Dylan Mantello via rear-naked choke in the first round.
Mantello found a home for his punches early, but Kruschewsky kept his composure and happily stood and traded with the Longo-Weidman prospect in the early exchanges.
As the round wore on, the Brazilian started to take charge and, after connecting with a pair of solid right hands, changed levels and took Mantello to the mat.
Mantello threatened with a guillotine choke, but Kruschewsky easily escaped before taking Mantello’s back and locking up a rear-naked choke to render his man unconscious and claim an impressive first-round submission win.
In the opening bout of the night, Igor da Silva proved to be too good on the feet for Jhonata Silva as he finished
Da Silva overwhelmed Silva with strikes dropped a retreating Silva hard with a big left hand. Then, with his opponent on the deck, the Brazilian unloaded another salvo of shots to force the finish mid-way through the second round of their flyweight matchup.
The night’s other bout saw lightweights Daniel Allen and Jacobi Jones battle all the way to the scorecards, with betting underdog Allen claiming the unanimous decision after a hard-fought war. Unfortunately, it wasn’t considered quite enough to earn a UFC contract.
Dana White’s Contender Series 63: Official results
- Shamil Gaziev def. Greg Velasco via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:38
- Daniel Allen def. Jacobi Jones via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Talita Alencar vs. Stephanie Luciano scored a draw (28-28, 28-28, 28-28)
- Kaynan Kruschewsky def. Dylan Mantello via technical submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:52
- Igor da Silva def. Jhonata Silva via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:37