The resume is essential in any job interview, and Contender Series is essentially a job interview for the UFC.
With the COVID-19 pandemic not even at its peak in the U.S., it is unknown whether the new season of DWCS will be delayed. Because many regional promotions were forced to cancel or reschedule their cards, UFC will have less fighters to choose from.
With the trend for this season being international fighters and fighters with lengthy records, we at The Scrap decided to go against the UFC’s trend and scout for some impressive regional resumes early in their careers.
Here is a list of a few fighters that should earn an interview with the UFC this season on Dana White’s Contender Series after dominant performances in early 2020:
Michael Stack (Featherweight)
Last Fight: LFA 79, 11/22/19, first-round Submission
Stack is a young talented fighter out in Colorado. While being 4-0 as a professional and 8-0 overall, Stack has shown a knack for finishing. He is tough, and huge at featherweight. His last time out, he made a rising prospect tap in the first round.
If we’re in need of fighters for Season 4 due not having enough prospects fighting, then Stack would be a perfect fit for the show.
Khai Wu (Bantamweight)
Last Fight: WOTD: Enter The Dragon 03, 1/12, Unanimous Decision
Khai (6-2 MMA) is one of the most exciting prospects on the California regional MMA scene and the Asian MMA scene in Taiwan. His current resume showcases a few decisions wins, along with 2 submission and 2 TKO victories.
“The Shadow” has massive star potential with thousands of subscribers on YouTube. He has also been showing improvement in his game with each fight. It’s only a matter of time until we see Khai in the big leagues, why not start with Contender Series?
Mitch Raposo (Bantamweight)
Last Fight: Cage Titans 47, 1/25, Unanimous Decision
Raposo is 4-0 as a professional in MMA, and is 10-0 overall. He found his finishing touch when he turned professional, with 2 submissions and 1 win by TKO/KO. He faced some adversity in his last fight, but still managed to win a unanimous decision after 2 opponent changes. New England MMA seems to be in good hands with Raposo leading the charge for the next wave of talent.
Aaron Phillips (Middleweight)
Last Fight: Alaska FC 155, 12/11/19, second-round TKO
Phillips has finished every one of his wins as a professional. At 5-1, he has 2 submission wins, and 3 wins by TKO/KO which would make him a perfect fit for Contender Series. It’s not often we see guys on the Alaska MMA scene make it out of Alaska, and it seems like Phillips is well on his way.
Will Morris (Lightweight)
Last Fight: Fury FC 40, 12/13/19, first-round Submission
Will has 4 finishes in his 5-1 professional record. 2 wins coming by submission and 2 by TKO/KO. He is huge at lightweight, measuring in at 6’2″ and if that doesn’t intrigue you enough, watch his last fight. Beautiful work done by Will who got the job done early.
Morris is going to be a problem at 155-pounds, I feel bad for his next opponent.
Justin Wetzell (Bantamweight)
Last Fight: LFA79, 11/22/19, first-round KO
Wetzell is 5-1 as a professional and has a lot of experience. You’ll see he can control where the fight goes with his wrestling when he wants to. Wetzell is a bully in the cage, he makes his opponent uncomfortable the whole fight. He has shown he can dominate from bell-to-bell, and has seemed to make quicker work of his opponents in his recent fights finding TKO/KO victories faster each time.The Team Elevation prospect also went 10-0 as an amateur. With one loss via decision as a pro, he is 15-1 overall and is poised for the next level.
Tony Laramie (Flyweight)
Last Fight: PFC 13, 3/8, Unanimous Decision
It seems like the flyweight division is sticking around for the foreseeable future. The weight class has a new life, has new drama/rivalries, and is exciting to watch. It is time to add some new young talent in the division to develop, so in enters Laramie. At 21 years old, he is 9-2 overall, and 5-2 as a professional. His losses came from an injury, and a decision.
What is more impressive are his wins. He has finished all but 2 wins in his 11 fight combined record. He has a long list of TKO/KO victories with a few submissions to help show his game is well rounded enough. UFC should take notice and lock up a potential future star before another big promotion does.
Paul Capaldo (Bantamweight)
Last Fight: CFFC 79, 11/16/19, third-round Doctor Stoppage
We’ve said it numerous times and still believe that Paul Capaldo is one of MMA’s next stars. He’s very talented for being 23 and is only 4-0, but he’s extremely dominant in his fights. He will tire you out with his wrestling or he’ll knock you out.
Going undefeated at 5-0 during his amateur days, if Dana is in need, he should tap in the New Jersey boy.
Louis Cosce (welterweight)
Last Fight: Combate 52, 12/13/19, first-round TKO/KO
Who wants to fight this guy? *deafening silence* Cosce has yet to see the second round. 6-0 as a professional, all finished inside of 1 round. He makes quick work inside the cage, and spares no time or souls. 4 wins have come by TKO/KO, and 2 wins by choke.
There really is not much else to say…
Pauline Macias (Strawweight)
Last Fight: LFA 82, 2/21, Split Decision
Macias has not lost in her MMA career, 4-0 as a pro, and 7-0 overall. On her professional resume, she has 2 decision wins, and 2 wins by submission. Many may disagree with the judges’ score cards her last time out, however, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Macias is improving with each fight.Not only is she talented, she comes from Olympic Training Center Judo. She’s also notorious for being Ronda Rousey’s friends. So we may see Macias on Contender Series sooner than we think.
Jacob Thrall (Bantamweight)
Last Fight: LFA 76, 9/13/19, first-round Submission
Thrall is a young exciting fighter. He has finished every win on his professional record, he does not like to get the judges involved. With his professional record standing at 6-2-1, his 2 losses and draw were all by decision. So Thrall has the game-plan to finish every fight, seems to be working for him so far?
He does have an extensive 13-3 amateur record, so he does have a lot of experience for a 24-year old fighter. I say let’s give him a shot.
Orion Cosce (welterweight)
Last Fight: Bear River Fighting Championship 12, 1/25, third-round TKO
Orion is almost as mean as his brother is. He is also 6-0 as a professional, and has finished all of his wins. Orion has actually been outside of the first round, but has still finished everyone he has faced. He has 5 wins coming via TKO/KO, and 1 submission win on his resume.
I think it’s time we see our first brother duo on Contender Series. They both bring the excitement, which is everything Dana White is looking for.
Brett Martin (Heavyweight)
Last Fight: LFA 77, 9/27/19, fifth-round Illegal Knees
“Big Dog” has had some odd wins as of late, however, it doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s ready for the next level of talent. It is evident UFC is in need of heavyweights to add to their roster. At 25 with a 9-1 record, Martin has to be a shoe-in this season. Aside from his last two fights, Brett has 4 finishes on his resume and has gone to decision numerous times.
Let’s get him on Season 4!
Grace Cleveland (Atomweight)
Last Fight: KOTC Pure Vengeance, 2/1/20, Split Decision
Cleveland is undefeated as a pro going 5-0, and is on an 8-fight win streak. She is young, talented, marketable, a finisher, and she is at a great MMA gym that will prepare her for UFC-level competition. Cleveland already has a knack for finding submissions as well. She has 2 wins via submission as a pro, and a few more on her amateur resume.
Although Cleveland fights at 105, I say we bring on the atomweight division for Season 4. It’s only time… She has star potential, a decent following on social media, and loves to scrap.