The fourth season of Dana White’s Contender Series kicked off Tuesday night from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada featuring four fights.
Dan Hellie and Paul Felder are calling the fights tonight.
*Jordan Leavitt def. Jose Flores by arm-triangle submission at 4:15 of Round 1
*Jerome Rivera def. Luis Rodriguez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
*Uros Medic def. Mikey Gonzalez by TKO at 2:12 of Round 1
*Dustin Jacoby def. Ty Flores by unanimous decision (30-26, 29-27, 29-27)
JOSE FLORES (9-1) VS JORDAN LEAVITT (6-0) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Flores, 32, trains with Diego Ferreira and previously fought on Dana White’s Contender Series in August 2017 where he was submitted. His last two fights were victories fighting for Combate Americas.
Leavitt, 25, is undefeated and is coming off a submission victory for LFA less than three weeks ago.
There was a takedown attempt right away by Leavitt and he defended Flores’ kimura attempt. Leavitt passed the legs and landed some elbows inside the guard of Flores. Leavitt moved to an arm-triangle and immediately tapped Flores.
WINNER: Jordan Leavitt by arm-triangle choke at 4:15 of Round 2
Leavitt did the splits and the worm after the victory as he celebrated. It was the fifth submission of his career.
Leavitt was very relaxed on top of Flores and was very deliberate with his transitions and locked on the arm-triangle quickly and it was a good performance from Leavitt, who was too much for Flores to deal with from underneath.
LUIS RODRIGUEZ (11-1, 126) VS JEROME RIVERA (9-2, 125.5) – FLYWEIGHT
Rivera, 25, dislocated his elbow fighting Brandon Royval two years ago and required Tommy John surgery in May 2018. He was back training in July of that year. Since that surgery, he has gone 2-0 in his last two fights.
Rodriguez, 21, is fighting at flyweight for the first time in his career. He has fought exclusively in Mexico until now and won his previous six fights.
Rivera got control of the back and applied a body triangle while working in strikes. Rodriguez escaped and then each connected as Rivera came forward with a hard jab. Rodriguez ended with a sweep from a leg kick and a takedown. 10-9 Rivera
Rodriguez navigated Rivera’s game of jabs and leg kicks with a slam taking Rivera down. Rodriguez attempted an inverted triangle while also controlling the armbar but couldn’t properly secure it but did enough to win the round. 10-9 Rodriguez
Rodriguez held onto a single-leg and ate some elbows to the side of the head. Throughout the round, Rodriguez tried to control Rivera, who landed several key shots including a knee strike from the clinch. It was a close round and anyone’s fight. 10-9 Rivera and 29-28 Rivera
WINNER: Jerome Rivera by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
The fight was much closer than the 30-27 scores suggest and I think it’s difficult to argue those scores given Rodriguez’s performance in the second round that I saw him winning that round.
The third round was a war of attrition with each seeing what the other had left and Rodriguez relied too much on control and not enough on using his control to set up strikes and score with the judges. I felt the third round was ultra-close but had Rivera winning the fight.
I wouldn’t be betting on Rivera to be one of the recipients of a contract later.
UROS MEDIC (5-0, 155) VS MIKEY GONZALEZ (7-1, 155.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Uros, 27, is undefeated with all his victories by stoppage. He fights out of Anchorage, Alaska, and was born in Serbia where he was introduced to kickboxing. He has fought at welterweight in the past.
Gonzalez will be turning 35 later this month and made his pro debut in May 2014 and fights out of San Jose, California.
Gonzalez had a nasty side hook kick that he introduced early and kept throwing, which Felder pointed out how tiring it would be. Medic connected with a big left hand and dropped Gonzalez with a brutal body kick, but Gonzalez recovered and got up. Gonzalez was put down again following a leg kick and attacked the body to stop the fight.
WINNER: Uros Medic by TKO at 2:12 of Round 1
Medic was super entertaining both with his fight style and his antics after the fight and would be high on the contract probability scale tonight.
Gonzalez had some side hook and spinning wheel kicks but they were taxing and once Medic attacked the body, he was in a lot of trouble. Medic was precise with targeting the body and led to the finish.
Dana White got up to shake Medic’s hand. After the fight, Medic said he’s been working hard and has not seen his family in three years and deserves the UFC contract. He thanked Gonzalez for taking the fight on short notice when his original opponent fell out.
TY FLORES (7-2, 204.5) VS DUSTIN JACOBY (11-5, 203.5) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Both fight out of Colorado with Flores part of the Elevation Fight Team and Jacoby with FactoryX.
Flores, 26, started fighting pro in 2015 and has won his last five fights for Shamrock FC and LFA but has not fought since May 2019.
Jacoby, 32, has primarily been kickboxing the last few years including for Glory. He has fought in the UFC in 2011-12 and for Bellator where he was defeated by Muhammed Lawal and John Salter in 2014-15. Since January 2015, he has only had one MMA fight, which was a decision win over Cody East in June 2019 (and what’s even crazier is that he won a boxing and kickboxing fight the same night with two first-round stoppages).
The first round was a dominant one for Jacoby where he comes out with a flying knee attempt before going to the body. Flores connected with body kicks. Jacoby unloads on him when pressing Flores against the fence, which was where Jacoby flourished during the round. Jacoby landed elbow strikes with Flores’ back to the cage. Jacoby out-landed him 35-15 in the round. 10-8 Jacoby
The second round was even more one-sided for Jacoby as he annihilated a tough Flores, who kept upright. Jacoby destroyed him with elbows to the side of the head and put Flores down using ground and pound. Flores landed a knee from the clinch at the end and Jacoby is cut above the left eye. Jacoby out-landed him 60-11 in this round. 10-8 Jacoby
Both were extremely tired in the third round and it was the most success that Flores had landing several shots and scoring one takedown. But he was still outstruck by Jacoby, who won the fight handily. 10-9 Jacoby and 30-25 overall
WINNER: Dustin Jacoby by unanimous decision (30-26, 29-27, 29-27)
Afterward, Jacoby said he should have relaxed and was chasing the finish and notes the toughness Flores displayed.
Dana White announced they were signing Jordan Leavitt and Uros Medic and put over Medic huge. He hesitated before announcing he would give Dustin Jacoby a shot and signed him.
He disagreed with the judges’ decision in the fight between Luis Rodriguez and Jerome Rivera and think one day, both will be in the UFC, but not today.
Leavitt was interviewed and told Laura Sanko that he and his wife are expecting a child and he was emotional over the decision by White.
NEXT WEEK’S FIGHTS:
*Joseph Pyfer (7-1) vs. Dustin Stoltzfus (12-1) – Middleweight
*Brady Huang (11-1) vs. Adrian Yanez (10-3) – Bantamweight
*Vanessa Demopoulos (5-1) vs. Cory McKenna (4-1) – Strawweight
*T.J. Laramie (11-3) vs. Daniel Swain (20-9-1) – Featherweight
*Anthony Adams (8-1) vs. Impa Kasanganay (6-0) – Middleweight