Dana White’s Contender Series, S 3, EP 8 LIVE REPORT

Cole Henry MMATorch Live event reporter

Contender Series

Julius Anglickas vs. Karl Reed (Light-heavyweight)

Round 1: Reed’s coach is Wonderboy Thompson’s Dad… I just didn’t know he coached anybody aside from Wonderboy. Reed throws a heavy high kick early on, Anglickas blocked it but it was still a body shaker. They’re working against the fence, Anglickas is looking for a takedown but it’s a pipe dream until he can break Reed’s posture. Anglickas scores with a single leg, and takes the back right as they hit the mat. Reed scrambles to his feet though, breaking a body lock in the process. Reed scores with a kick to the midsection and then shoots. He scoops Anglickas up and slams him! He is now working from top half guard. Anglickas works back to his feet with under thirty seconds left in the round. (10-9 Reed)

Round 2: Reed throws a mistimed left hand to break the ice, but Anglickas ducks and scores with a quick takedown. He is looking for control, both guys are busted up, and we are going to see a break in the action for a low kick on Reed. Anglickas is controlling the action, mostly by holding Reed against the fence, and from there he is looking for a takedown. Jason Herzog doesn’t like it and we are going to see a ref separation. Reed shoots and takes Anglickas down with just over a minute left in the round. He is working from side control, so he is in a good position, but he is mostly just using it for control so far. Anglickas is standing, Reed has the neck but only briefly. Anglickas connects with a right hand and then a knee from the clinch, from right up the middle. (10-9 Anglickas) It could go either way. Anglickas seems content with control, while Reed appears to be trying to do damage. Both guys had takedowns, but neither did a ton with them. Neither guy looks like a contract candidate right now. 

Notes: Anglickas is ahead 36-8 in terms of significant strikes… It hasn’t looked that way on screen but it is apparently the case.

Round 3: Reed is moving like he is either tired or attempting to conserve energy. Anglickas is on him with jabs and straights, he lands a big knee and then an elbow against the fence! And then he attempts a takedown… Reed secures an underhook though and he appears to be okay for now. Anglickas has the back, standing, and he is looking for a takedown. He scores with a knee to the body, and then a double leg takedown. Reed appears to have lost his explosiveness, he is turtled up and taking some soft shots to the dome (Easy for me to say.) Reed climbs back to his feet, but only briefly before Anglickas takes him right back down. Anglickas takes the back, and slaps on a rear-naked choke, without the aid of the hooks, but that will do it! Reed taps and it’s all over! 

Result: Julius Anglickas def. Karl Reed via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 3, 3:25 

Verdict: It was a nice finish for Anglickas, but the fight up to that point was not very good. Anglickas showed an ability to keep working even when tired, and he earned the finish despite the fight being what it was. Overall I do not think he did enough to earn a contract, but he could benefit from competing in a weight class that is always in need of fresh phases at all different levels.

Ray Rodriguez vs.  Tony Gravely (Bantamweight)

Pre-fight notes: Rodriguez is an army vet, while Gravely is a life long TKD practitioner. Random bit of trivia there for you. 

Round 1: Both guys are landing kicks in the early going of the round. Gravely connects with a left hook! Rodriguez is backing up, he might be hurt, either way, he is escaping the pocket. Gravely is looking for a takedown, but Rodriguez separates. Gravely is chasing him down, and landing! Rodriguez eats a hard jab and stumbles a bit. Rodriguez returns fire with a couple of jabs and a straight! Gravely shoots and takes Rodriguez down. He is landing elbows from the top half, as Rodriguez attempts to set up a sweep. Rodriguez attempts a guillotine, but Gravely pulls out and lands a few more shots from the top. Gravely has the neck, and he is looking for a mounted guillotine with just under forty seconds left in the round. Rodriguez scrambles to his feet, only to eat an elbow. Nevertheless, we are back on the feet, and Gravely is stalking. Gravely completes another takedown, he is looking very good here in this first round. Rodriguez scores with a sweep in the final moments of the round, but he won’t have time to do anything with it. (10-9 Gravely)

Round 2: Gravely scores with a head kick to break the ice! Rodriguez wears it well though, and he is now fighting off a clinch attempt from Gravely. Rodriguez secures a body lock and trips Gravely to the mat! He takes the back but Gravely scrambles to his feet. He sets up an under hook and slams Rodriguez to the mat. Gravely is landing shots from the top half with just over two minutes left in the round. Rodriguez is working back to his feet, but Gravely pulls him back down, and takes the back. He has an arm under the chin, but Rodriguez escapes the position and recovers guard. (10-9 Gravely) This fight really is not even close at this point. They appear to be somewhat evenly matched on the feet, but when it comes to wrestling it isn’t even close. Rodriguez has threatened in a few moments, but overall he has been outclassed. 

Round 3: Rodriguez tried something right as the round started, but I missed it, either way, he is on his back now with Gravely on top. It was a flying knee according to Bisping. Rodriguez scrambles and takes the back! He’s looking for a Suloev Stretch, but Gravely escapes and takes top control. Gravely is now landing short punches from the top half position. Rodriguez rolls, and gives up his back, Gravely is landing some big shots from the top back mount! Rodriguez is in trouble here and this fight is all over!

Result: Tony Gravely def. Ray Rodriguez via TKO (Punches) Round 3, 

Verdict: Both guys came to fight, but Rodriguez was just a better fighter. His wrestling was great, his cardio held up, and he also displayed some nice kicks while on his feet. Considering how good Rodriguez looked even in a lopsided loss, I think we might see him again on the show in the future. But as for Gravely, he is absolutely ready for a UFC contract.

Shana Young vs. Sarah Alpar (Bantamweight)

Round 1: They are going at it early! Alpar shoots but ends up taking the back standing. Young has hit the mat, but Alpar is still on her back. Young is looking to escape out of the back door. Young breaks Alpar’s grip and she is now working from top position. Young is still working from the top, but Alpar is working to get back to her feet. Young secures a clinch and scores with a knee. Young shoots, but Alpar sprawls. Young ends up on top though, with Alpar turtled beneath here. She’s working for a Darce Choke but time will expire. (10-9 Young) Very hectic round… very sloppy… 

Round 2:  Young connects with a 1-2 to break the ice. Alpar secures a body lock and takes Young down with it. Young is turtled, with Alpar landing shots from her back. Alpar has a hook, and she appears to be isolating the left arm of her opponent. She has an arm under the neck… she’s threatening with am RNC here! Young taps! Wow! 

Result: Sarah Alpar def. Shana Young via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 2, 2:55

Verdict: It was a nice finish on the part of Sarah Alpar, but aside from that I don’t think that she looked very good. Her striking was very sloppy, as was her grappling, but the finish was very nice. With that being said I do not think that she is quite ready for a UFC contract.

Devin Smyth vs. Brok Weaver (Welterweight)

Round 1: Smyth scores with a kick to the body, and then takes Weaver down. Weaver scrambles, but Smyth takes him right back down. Weaver scrambles and climbs back to his feet. Smyth shoots again though, with under a minute left in the round. (10-9 Smyth) Weaver did more than my coverage would imply. He did land the occasional shots in between takedown attempts but overall it was all Smyth’s round. 

Round 2: Weaver opens the round by kicking Smyth directly in the groin. We will see a break in the action… Back to it and Weaver is looking to land. Smyth scores with a spinning back fist and then shoots for the takedown. Weaver defends though and shoots for his own takedown. Smyth grabbed the cage and earned a warning for it. Weaver is still working for the takedown. Weaver connects with a right hand in very close quarters. Weaver is starting to land lots of shots here in the clinch, he has Smyth pinned against the fence. Smyth escapes, only to eat a shot to the body and head from Weaver. Smith is pressuring Weaver against the fence with under a minute left in the round. He adjusts and takes Weaver down. Weaver stands but eats an elbow and knee for his efforts. (10-9 Weaver)

Round 3: Smyth is looking for a takedown in the early going. Weaver separates though and he is starting to really tee off of Smyth here. Smyth connects with a knee to the body, but Weaver is returning hooks to the midsection. Smyth apparently has a hand injury, he is not throwing a lot of punches. Smyth shoots, but Weaver defends well enough to stay on his feet. (10-9 Weaver) (29-28 Weaver)

Result: Brok Weaver def. Devin Smyth via Unanimous Decision 

Verdict: Weaver is a very intense guy, but honestly, his performance was not that great. He is also very cringeworthy on the mic but that is beside the point. Weaver kept a good pace, it was a decent performance and maybe I am being a bit hard on the guy, but I just don’t think he did enough to earn the contract. With that being said, his mic skills, cringe-worthy as they were, might be enough to get him the contract and I won’t be surprised if he gets one.

William Knight vs. Herdem Alacabek (Light-heavyweight)

Round 1: Knight shoots early, and forces Alacabek against the fence. Alacabek separates a bit and lands some hard shots to the upper body of Knight. Alacabek clinches and lands some hard knees to the body. Alacabek scores with some hard shots to the body. Alacabek scores with a big takedown, and from there he lands several hard shots on Knight. Alacabek takes the back and attempts an RNC, but Knight escapes after a brief struggle. Knight escapes and scores with a takedown of his own. Alacabek scoops up an arm, but Knight defends. (10-9 Alacabek)

Round 2: Both guys seem tired. They are clinched, Knight is landing uppercuts as Alacabek searches for control. Knight scores with a knee, but Alacabek catches it on the way down and takes his opponent down to the mat. Alacabek has the back, he is landing short shots from there with just over a minute left. Knight scrambles and ends up in the mount! He has 20 seconds to work! Alacabek is controlling the torso now, but that likely cost him the round. (10-9 Knight)

Round 3: Knight opens up with a low kick. They’re now trading low kicks… Knight connects with a big knee! Alacabek is hurt! Knight is chasing him down, both guys are looking to land! Knight drops for a takedown, but Alacabek defends! Knight keeps pushing through and completes the takedown! Alacabek scrambles back to his feet! Knight takes him right back down though, but only for a moment. Alacabek shoots, but falls to the mat, Knight is landing some big shots! He’s landing punches and elbows from the top position! He takes the mount! Alacabek is busted open very badly! Knight is busting him up with punches from the mount and this fight is all over! 

Result: William Knight def. Herdem Alacabek via TKO (Punches) Round 3, 

Verdict: Knight deserves a contract. Fantastic fight. 

Unofficial Rankings: 

  1. William Knight (Contract)
  2. Tony Gravely (Contract)
  3. Brok Weaver (On the fence)
  4. Julius Anglickus (Needs Work)
  5. Sarah Alpar (Needs Work)

Contracts Awarded (Official): Tony Gravely, Sarah Alpar, Brok Weaver, William Knight (Developmental Contract) 

Final Thoughts: White told Anglickus that he needs more work, but that he expects to see him in the future. Knight will get a contract, but considering that he is just 5-0, he will be signed to a developmental contract, much like Greg Hardy.

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