This week’s edition of Dana White’s Contender Series featured five more fights and ten fighters competing for UFC contracts including Jamie Pickett making his third appearance on the show.
The card was highlighted by a fantastic flyweight fight between Jeffrey Molina and Jacob Silva that was arguably the best fight of the season, thus far.
In total, four UFC contracts were distributed with a case being made for one of the losers, as well.
*Collin Huckbody def. Kyron Bowen by arm-triangle at 1:28 of Round 1
*Anthony Romero def. Mike Breeden by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
*Jeffrey Molina def. Jacob Silva by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
*Rafael Alves def. Alejandro Flores by guillotine at 2:55 of Round 2
*Jamie Pickett def. Jhonoven Pati by TKO at 0:33 of Round 2
COLLIN HUCKBODY (7-2, 185.5) VS KYRON BOWEN (9-4, 180.5) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Huckbody, 25, fights out of Minnesota and has won his previous four fights coming into tonight’s fight. He’s been fighting pro since March 2017 and his last loss was to current UFC fighter Bevon Lewis in April 2018.
Bowen is 26 years old and has been fighting since 2017 and been busy getting four fights per year since his pro debut and enters with a six-fight winning streak.
Huckbody shot for the takedown, he finished it and was in Bowen’s guard. He transitioned to a mounted guillotine, let go but had Bowen in the mount position. Huckbody locked on an arm-triangle from the mount and forced the tap.
WINNER: Collin Huckbody by arm-triangle at 1:28 of Round 1
Huckbody secured his sixth submission victory and showed tremendous power and pressure to secure the submission from that position.
ANTHONY ROMERO (7-0, 156) VS MIKE BREEDEN (8-2, 155.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Romero is 23 years old from Welland, Ontario, and began fighting in November 2017. He’s coming off a unanimous decision victory against Troy Wittman last September for King of the Cage. He is attempting to become the second Canadian to earn a contract on the series following T.J. Laramie two weeks ago.
Breeden, 31, fights out of GloryMMA & Fitness in Missouri under James Krause. He had his first pro fight with Bellator in January 2017. He’s won his last three fights with the previous two with LFA, which were both third-round stoppage victories.
In the first round, Romero went high with his left kicks while also going to the legs. Romero seemed to have the timing down and surprised Breeden with a jab, who came back with a body kick. Romero went for a flying knee with Breeden pressed against the fence. 10-9 Romero
Round two saw Romero time the double leg, but Breeden immediately got up. Romero hit a big kick as Breeden was getting up. Romero hit a clean right uppercut and Breeden ate it. Romero used his jab and got another takedown before a scramble brought them up. Breeden hit a knee and left hook combination for his best strikes of the fight. It was a great combo but not enough to take the round. 10-9 Romero
In the third round, Breeden was having a lot of problems with his left leg and could barely put weight on it. Romero targeted the leg. Breeden was still coming forward with strikes despite the leg problems. Breeden hit a big left hook and was ahead of Romero with significant strikes. Romero chopped at the leg and Breeden appeared in tremendous pain. 10-9 Romero and 30-27 overall
WINNER: Anthony Romero by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
I could certainly see Romero getting a 10-8 round for the last round due to the leg kicks especially in the closing seconds where Breeden could barely stand. I hesitated due to the volume of quality shots Breeden landed and was winning the round up until the closing minute or so. I didn’t think Breeden won any of the rounds, so can’t agree with the 29-28 card.
JEFFREY MOLINA (7-2, 125) VS JACOB SILVA (6-2, 126) – FLYWEIGHT
Molina, 23, is a teammate of Mike Breeden’s with Glory MMA and Fitness. Molina has won his last six fights and has fought for LFA, KC Fighting Alliance, and Victory FC among the promotions he has fought for.
Silva is 32 years old fighting out of Houston. He began fighting pro in 2014 but has had some gaps. After winning a fight in November 2018, he didn’t fight again until this past February but has won his last six going back to July 2015.
The opening round saw Molina immediately land an effective low leg kick, Silva came at him with quick strikes as Molina applied double underhooks. Silva charged at him and was clipped with a right hand by Molina on the way in. There was a flurry at the end where Molina cracked him with a right hook. 10-9 Molina
After a furious opening round, the two were conserving energy at the start of the second round. Each threw kicks simultaneously. Molina landed an overhand right and started to build on his strikes and Molina cracked him with a left head kick flush to cement the round. Molina followed with knees from the clinch. 10-9 Molina
The final round saw Molina freely throwing his left leg kicks and landed another to the head. Both were warned about head butts. Silva was throwing hard with the overhand rights while Molina responded with a knee strike. Silva kept pressing forward and needs a stoppage to win. Silva had a solid sequence of strikes to close the fight. This was the closest round of the three and I leaned Silva 10-9 but 29-28 for Molina overall.
WINNER: Jeffrey Molina by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
This was an awesome fight with nonstop action with both guys looking fantastic. I may go so far to say it was the best fight of the season, so far. Dana White gave them a standing ovation after it ended.
Molina thought he broke his foot in the first round.
There are times it’s tough for decision winners to land a contract, but I would be stunned if they don’t sign Molina. To be honest, both deserved deals.
RAFAEL ALVES (18-9, 146) VS ALEJANDRO FLORES (17-2, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Alves is 29 years old and made his pro debut when he was 16 in 2007. Entering this fight, he’s won his last four fights with the last three for Titan FC but has not competed since April 2019.
Flores, 29, fights out of Mexico with nineteen pro fights going back to October 2013. He’s won nine of his last ten fights.
The opening round saw Alves coming out with the intention to end the fight with his power. Both demonstrated their speed. Alves is patient with his power shots forcing Flores to react. Alves landed a combination and Flores tied him against the cage. 10-9 Alves
In round two, Alves attacked Flores’ leg and continued his strategy of picking his shots wisely while Flores circled the perimeter. Alves fired off a punch and then locked on a guillotine taking Flores down and got the submission.
WINNER: Rafael Alves by guillotine at 2:55 of Round 2
It was an impressive submission and felt like Alves powered the guillotine and Flores had no way out of it.
JHONOVEN PATI (6-3, 186) VS JAMIE PICKETT (10-4, 185) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Pickett is 31 and it’s his third time appearing on the Contender Series. He lost to Charles Byrd in July 2017 by arm-triangle, and then lost by decision to Punahele Soriano in June 2019. Since his last appearance, he beat Jaquis Williams last September.
Pati is 29 years old and had his first professional fight against Ryan Spann in 2013 but didn’t fight again for four years. They have a common opponent in Punahele Soriano, who Pati lost to by submission in 2018. Pati has won his last two fights with two stoppage wins.
Round one began with Pickett throwing his hands effectively with the longer reach of the two by five inches. Pickett scored the takedown, but they returned to their feet and Pati executed a slam. Pickett worked for a guillotine that Pati worked himself out of. Each was swinging wildly. Pati ended the round well to make it close. 10-9 Pickett
Pickett started the second round with a flurry of shots and Pati was rocked, finally being dropped to the mat and the fight was stopped. Pati ate a ton of shots before he dropped. It was a punishing sequence of strikes.
WINNER: Jamie Pickett by TKO at 0:33 of Round 2
This was as explosive a finish as you are going to see with a relentless barrage of strikes from Pickett.
DANA WHITE’S VERDICT
White offered a contract to Collin Huckbody and was impressed with his submission victory.
White was complimentary of Mike Breeden for his toughness against Anthony Romero but he had trouble finishing Breeden with a bad leg and when he switched stances. He said Romero will probably make it to the UFC but not today.
He loved everything about the Jeffrey Molina vs. Jacob Silva fight and loves the mentality Molina possesses and gets a contract.
He ended by presenting contracts to Rafael Alves and Jamie Pickett with four deals handed out altogether.
Laura Sanko asked about potentially giving a deal to Jacob Silva even though he lost. He thought Silva won the third round and pushed Molina. If the matchmakers need a late replacement, Silva will likely get a shot in the future.