DANA WHITE’S TUESDAY NIGHT CONTENDER SERIES REPORT 8/22 (WEEK 7): Joby Sanchez and Benito Lopez earn UFC contracts


AUGUST 22, 2017

Dan Hellie welcomed viewers to the show and introduced Yves Edwards onto the broadcast. The two talked about how by now fighters know what Dana White is looking for. They then ran down the five-fight card starting with the main event and working backwards down the card. They then introduced Snoop and Faber and the Snoopcast.

(1) Nick Urso (10-3, 1 NC) vs. Jordan Espinosa (10-5, 1 NC) – Flyweight 125 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Urso came out and took center cage and landed a nice front kick to start the fight. Urso pushed Espinosa to the fence and then went for a single leg, but Espinosa was able to break free less that a minute into the fight. Espinosa landed a leg kick flush and it looked like Urso either slipped or lost his balance from the kick, but either way it gave Espinosa the opening he needed and immediately went for a D’Arce Choke. Espinosa was able to flip him over and Urso went to sleep.

Result: Jordan Espinosa over Nick Urso by submission (1:23 of Round 1 – D’Arce Choke)

(2) Mark Cherico (11-1) vs. Mike Santiago (18-9) – Featherweight 145 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Cherico took Santiago down within the first twenty seconds of the fight. Cherico transitioned to the back but Santiago defended it well and got free with just under four minutes left in the round. They clinched against the fence with both guys missing with wild punches. Santiago used his range and landed a big combination and landed some dirty boxing at the three minute mark. They traded big shots with Santiago getting the better of the exchanges and hurting Cherico. Santiago wouldn’t let Cherico off the fence and kept the pressure until finally stopping Cherico with punches.

Result: Mike Santiago over Mark Cherico by Knockout (2:59 of Round 1) 

(3) Joby Sanchez (9-2) vs. JP Buys (4-1) – Flyweight 125 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Both guys came out looking to throw hands. Buys took Sanchez down hard with a suplex and took the back thirty seconds into the fight. Sanchez was able to turn into Buys and work his way back to his feet and they stood with just under four minutes to go. Sanchez took Buys down at the 3:32 mark and worked from top position. Buys worked back to his feet and they fought in the clinch at the 2:45 mark. Sanchez got Buys to the ground againbut Buys reversed position and took the back with just under two minutes left in the round. Buys landed some nice shots to the head of Sanchez while riding his back. With fifteen seconds left in the round Sanchez was finally able to transition and take top position on Buys. The round ended with Sanchez looking for an opening but not finding one.

ROUND TWO: Sanchez came out and landed a stiff right hand that looked to rock Buys. Buys shot in at the 4:25 mark but Sanchez was able to take top position. Sanchez worked from top position and Buys looked to slowing at the 3:30 mark. Sanchez landed some heavy ground and pound on top and Buys stopped fighting back forcing the stoppage.

Joby Sanchez over JP Buys by TKO (2:28 of Round 2) 

(4) Steven Petersen (15-5) vs. Benito Lopez (7-0) – Featherweight 145 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Both guys came out and got right after each other. Petersen got a takedown but Lopez was back to his instantly. They fought in the clinch with both fighters scoring at the 3:30 mark. Lopez landed some big punches followed with a knee that also landed. Petersen’s face was bloody three minutes into the fight. Big head from Lopez and them another one landed with 1:45 left in the round. Lopez just missed with a spinning head kick with a minute to go. Petersen ended the round landing some nice punches and knees in the clinch.

ROUND TWO: Petersen came out for the second round and picked up the pressure while landing pinches and then getting a takedown. However, Lopez was back to his feet quickly thirty seconds into the round. Petersen continued to get the better of the exchanges as he kept pushing the pace. Petersen landed a takedown with a little over three minutes left in the round. Lopez seemed to be gassing at this point. Petersen worked from top position and landed his ground and pound for the final three minutes of the round.

ROUND THREE: Lopez started the last round with a little more bounce in his step. Petersen ran him to the fence but Lopez spun out with a little over four minutes to go. Lopez was doing a much better job working from range this round. He landed a big flying knee at the 2:40 mark that hurt Petersen. The two fought at center cage with two minutes left in the fight. Both fighters were wearing down big time at this point. Petersen kept Lopez pinned to the fence until finally spinning away with under a minute to go. They began to throw haymakers at each other as the fight ended.

Result: Benito Lopez over Steven Petersen by Split Decision 

(5) Anton Berzin (5-1) vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu (2-0) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Nzechukwu slips as the fight started and ate a right hand. Berzin was landing his right hand early along with some nice leg kicks. Nzechukwu came back with a pair of right hands at the 2:40 mark. Berzin landed a takedown with two minutes left in the round. Nzechukwu was back to his feet at the two minute mark. Berzin landed a big straight hand that dropped Zzechukwu with a minute to go but he up quickly. The fight remained on the feet with both guys landing punches.

ROUND TWO: Nzechukwu came out much more aggressively to start the second round and started landing the bigger punches. With three minutes left Nzechukwu really started to out-volume Berzin. Berzin would occasionally throw a punch or two. Berzin shot in with 1:34 to go but Nzechukwu sprawled nicely in defending the takedown attempt. With under a minute let Nzechukwu was beating Berzin to the punch repeatedly. The round ended with Berzin landing a stiff left followed by a big body shot. Those were the two biggest punches landed in the round by Berzin.

ROUND THREE: Berzin shot in for a takedown but Nzechukwu was able to fend him off with a minute gone by in the final round. Berzin went for another takedown attempt but again Nzechukwu fought the hands and was able to spin out. With three minutes to go Berzin really started to slow down. Nzechukwu began picking up the pressure at this point. Berzin tried for a half-hearted takedown attempt that was easily defended. With one minute to go Nzechukwu started landing at will but none of them seemed to have much behind them. The fight ended with both guys standing at center cage throwing hands.

Result: Kennedy Nzechukwu over Anton Berzin by Split Decision

Dana White awarded Joby Sanchez and Benito Lopez with UFC contracts. I agree with the Lopez decision, but personally I thought both Mike Santiago and Jordan Espinosa were more impressive that Joby Sanchez. Dana White looked like he couldn’t wait to get out of there after making the announcement. Presumably to deal with the Jon Jones situation.




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