UFC CEO Dana White handed out contracts to all four winners, plus one lucky loser, as the latest night of Contender Series action added another fistful of prospects to the UFC roster.
Brazilian hopefuls Rodolfo Bellato, Victor Hugo, and Mauricio Ruffy, plus Bahrain’s Magomed Gadzhiyasulov and Bolivia’s Jost Medina, went home with UFC contracts after impressing the UFC boss on another action-packed night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Bellato blasts his way into the UFC
Light heavyweight Bellato picked up his win in the featured bout of the night as he finished Bahrain’s Murtaza Talha to notch his 11th career victory and punch his ticket to the UFC.
Bellato treated Talha to a steady diet of thumping leg kicks as he hammered his opponent’s lead leg throughout the opening round, and early in the second, but he faced plenty of resistance, as Talha looked to drag the Brazilian into a slugfest, while threatening with takedowns.
As the fight wore on, Bellato got wise to Talha’s approach and the Bahraini fighter started to slow as his takedowns began to fall short. Bellato then punished his man with vicious knees and elbows in the clinch before eventually forcing the finish with a barrage of punches with just 14 seconds left in Round 2.
Slick kneebar earns Hugo UFC chance
Brazilian bantamweight Victor Hugo showed off his grappling skills to finish Eduardo Torres Caut and earn a UFC contract.
The matchup pitted head-to-head the two most experienced competitors on the card, with Hugo and Torres Caut competing in their 28th and 18th career bouts, respectively.
Hugo showed a sneak peek of his submission arsenal in Round 1 when he attempted first a heel hook, then a calf slicer. But Torres Caut did well to escape both and stay in the fight. But Hugo would not be denied and, after scoring an early takedown in Round 2, he locked up a kneebar to force the tap at the 2:16 mark.
Gadzhiyasulov’s quality, Medina’s spirit, see both 205ers earn UFC deals
Light heavyweight Magomed Gadzhiyasulov was pushed all the way to the scorecards by a spirited Jose Medina, with both men leaving the UFC Apex with UFC contracts from White.
Gadzhiyasulov won all three rounds on all three scorecards to claim the shutout unanimous decision victory, but Medina’s refusal to quit in the face of a superior opponent also won over the UFC boss, who summoned the Bolivian back into the UFC Apex to award him a surprise contract.
Ruffy’s late finish earns UFC deal
In the opening bout of the night, welterweight Mauricio Ruffy improved his career record to 9-1 and earned a UFC contract with a third-round TKO finish of Dagestani prospect Raimond Magomedaliev.
Ruffy showcased plenty of patience as he calmly measured his man through the opening two rounds, and was down on two of the three scorecards heading into the final frame. But, with the fight, and a UFC contract, still up for grabs, the Brazilian turned up the pressure to claim the third-round TKO stoppage via ground and pound.
Dana White’s Contender Series 65: Official results
- Rodolfo Bellato def. Murtaza Talha via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 4:46
- Victor Hugo def. Eduardo Torres Caut via submission (kneebar) – Round 2, 2:16
- Magomed Gadzhiyasulov def. Jose Medina via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Mauricio Ruffy def. Raimond Magomedaliev via TKO (ground strikes) – Round 3, 3:45