The final episode of Season 7 of Dana White’s Contender Series saw the UFC CEO smash his record for contract offers as he awarded five more deals after a bumper night of finishes at the UFC Apex.
Five of the night’s six winners earned deals, with Brazilian winners Andre Lima and Lucas Rocha joining Americans Ramon Taveras, Connor Matthews, and Marquel Mederos as the UFC’s newest signees.
Bantamweight Rocha kicked off the night with a stunning knee KO of Davi Bittencourt 18 seconds into the second round, while Mederos followed suit with a knee KO of his own as he finished Issa Isakov late in the opening round of their lightweight matchup.
Torrez Finney claimed a second-round submission victory, but White opted not to give him a UFC deal, saying the 7-0 prospect needed a few more fights before he was ready for the big stage.
Featherweight Matthews and flyweight Lima both claimed decision victories to earn their UFC deals, before Taveras closed the show with a 29-second demolition of Cortavious Romious. The victory not only saw Taveras earn a UFC contract, it also presented him with a shot at redemption against the man who defeated him on his first Contender Series appearance.
Taveras lost to Serhiy Sidey via first-round stoppage at Contender Series 61 in September, but White was disappointed with the referee’s decision to stop the fight while Taveras looked to still be in the fight. The UFC boss immediately granted Taveras a second shot, and the 29-year-old took his chance with both hands as he claimed a quickfire finish to earn his UFC chance.
Dana White’s Contender Series 66: Official results
- Ramon Taveras def. Cortavious Romious via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:29
- Andre Lima def. Rickson Zenidim via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Connor Matthews def. Jair Farias via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Torrez Finney def. Yuri Panferov via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:43
- Marquel Mederos def. Issa Isakov via knockout (knee) – Round 1, 4:09
- Lucas Rocha def. Davi Bittencourt via knockout (knee) – Round 2, 0:18