Season 6 of Contender Series is four weeks in the books. There is still plenty of weeks left, however, most of the match-ups are already made. This season we are getting top-notch prospects and good names like Bo Nickal, the Bonfim brothers, and more…
There are some deserving prospects that surprisingly aren’t part of this season though. It seems there are still a few fights to be made, but the names listed below will unfortunately have to wait for their much deserved opportunities.
Lightweight, Anthony Romero (11-1)
I like the matchmaking of the Contender Series this season in terms of the match-ups they’ve made and the names booked. With that said, what I don’t like is that they got seven (so far) fighters getting their second chance on the show… But won’t book someone like Anthony Romero for a second time.
Romero had one of the best performances on Season 4, beating down Mike Breeden for three rounds. To make it worse, Breeden is in the UFC which is bullshit. Since that DWCS stint, Romero has gone 3-1, winning his last two. He’s coming off a highlight-reel flying knee knockout too. He should already be in the UFC, so to not even get a second chance on DWCS is disappointing.
Bantamweight, Felipe Lima (11-1)
Brazil’s Felipe Lima has a lot going for him. He’s a young man at 24-years-old. He trains out of Allstars Training Center where Khamzat Chimaev and many others call home. More importantly, Lima was the current Fight Club Rush bantamweight champion; a promotion on UFC Fight Pass.
Lima is a stud at 135 and has looked outstanding thus far. He lost his pro debut and hasn’t lost since. Lima is a good personality; he’s young and an exciting fighter. I thought he would be a shoe-in for this season, but it looks as if that’s not the case. He is still young, so hopefully he gets the chance next season…
Flyweight, Phumi Nkuta (5-0)
The owner of the CFFC flyweight title is Phumi Nkuta. He is only 5-0 in his pro career, but has looked phenomenal. He trains out of Longo and Weidman MMA, and they have a bright star on their hands… “Turbo” was an amateur regional champion as well, going 5-0. He’s currently 10-0 combined with his pro resume.
Nkuta is at a level where he can compete towards the top level of the UFC today. It’s surprising he isn’t going to be on this season, considering he’s a champ in one of the best regional promotions in the world. Not to mention, we have seen a number of guys from LAW MMA already this season, so why not Nkuta?
Bantamweight, Ekaterina Shakalova (7-1)
Ukraine’s Ekaterina Shakalova made quite the impact last year. She earned a win over a good prospect in Róża Gumienna and Jamila Sandora, while also beating former UFC fighter Izabela Badurek. Doing all that, she capped it off starting this year winning the FEN bantamweight championship.
Shakalova is a three-time grappling world champion and a four-time European grappling champion. She’s fun to watch compete and is a finisher, which fits the brand of the Contender Series perfectly. She would’ve been so fun on the show.
Jesse Butler has quietly been on a solid run over at Fury FC. He’s beaten two former UFC fighters in Masio Fullen and Dimitre Ivy. That being impressive alone, he also finished both guys…
In his last fight, he got a clean knockout win. But the majority of his wins have come by submission. Butler is well-rounded and at 30, he’s at his peak. A UFC shot could come first, but not even having a Contender Series fight doesn’t even make sense.
Flyweight, Jamey-Lyn Horth Wessels (5-0)
Among all the many top Canadian prospects, Jamey-Lyn Horth Wessels’ name is brought up often. In her last fight, she won the LFA title. Before that, she won the BFL title. Wins over Jade Masson-Wong, Mayra Cantuária, and Corinne Laframboise prove she’s UFC-ready.
Wessels was supposed to fight on the Contender Series a few years back, but VISA issues held that back. Winning the LFA title usually means a DWCS fight, or a UFC contract straight out. With Wessels, it shouldn’t be any different…
Bantamweight, Jonas Mågård (14-5)
Jonas Mågård is the current Oktagon bantamweight champion and the former FEN champion. He’s fought for Cage Warriors, ACB, and BAMMA as well. Mågård is a grappling ace with seven submission wins overall, and five via a rare Japanese Necktie. His wrestling has gotten much better over time too.
He’s just a really talented guy… Mågård is a proven guy that’s fought everywhere, so an opportunity like this should’ve been warranted. He’s paid his dues around the world, so it would be nice to see him get a Contender Series opportunity.
Lightweight, Ignacio Capella (7-1)
Apparently, the UFC matchmakers don’t know of Ignacio Capella, because if they did, he would no doubt be on this season. Capella is an action-packed fighter from Spain, and that is a county that could be represented more in the UFC. He is constantly going to push the pace and be in your face. He’s also a volume guy, throwing purely combinations.
Capella likes to get in the pocket and rip to the body and head. He can land that kill shot at any point, having power in both hands. He was a must for the Contender Series, but sadly we have to wait.
Bantamweight, Justin Wetzell (7-1)
Justin Wetzell has been very slept on over the past few years. He tried out for The Ultimate Fighter Season 29, but didn’t make the cut. Next, he was rumored to fight on the Contender Series last season but it never happened.
He’s 3-0 inside the LFA cage – he took out Askar Askar who was signed briefly to the UFC, and was close to another shot in his last fight. Wetzell is well-rounded, having the ability to fight anywhere the fight takes him. He shouldn’t be denied anymore, and somehow still is…
Welterweight, Kaleb Rideout (7-2)
Kaleb Rideout has been putting on exciting fights over in Australia the last few years. He is a six-foot-two welterweight who has also fought at lightweight, and is only 25-years-old. That alone would get any talent scout interested in his style. If anything, Rideout is a guy you want to tune in to watch every time he fights. He’s got the knockout power in his hands and his kicks. He’s also explosive, as shown when he smells blood in the water.
Rideout does a real good job at controlling the range and is tricky with what he’s going to throw, being both diverse and awkward. Just recently beating a guy like Kevin Jousset is pretty impressive… It made a lot of sense for him to be a part of this season.
Welterweight, Kamal Magomedov (9-0)
If Kamal Magomedov was more active, he would already be in the UFC… In 2019 he won the Titan FC title, but didn’t fight again until last November. Magomedov is a really good, well-rounded fighter that has tons of potential. He has very clean boxing skills and will change levels and shoot for a takedown at any time.
The Russian is a big threat when it comes to catching a neck and on the feet, he’s a threat finding that jaw. A visa has held him back, but a Contender Series contract could’ve helped that out.
Lightweight, Losene Keita (9-0)
Losene Keita had a huge step up in competition his last fight, taking on the 46-fight veteran Ivan Buchinger. Keita stopped him inside one round and won the Oktagon lightweight title. He is a fighter that’s shown a bit of everything… He swings with some real stopping power in his hands, and when he puts his hands together – he’s even more lethal.
Keita has shown glimpses of good boxing as well, using the jab and going body-head. He has shown out in all his fights and should’ve been booked this season. But he might just get signed to the UFC straight out…
Welterweight, Alfonso Leyva (6-0)
Alfonso Leyva is an Olympic wrestler who wrestled for the Mexican national team. He’s been wrestling ever since he was thirteen. Even though Leyva is a superb wrestler, he’s excelled as a striker in MMA. Five of his six wins have come from his hands on the feet. Leyva throws a good one-two, a solid jab, heavy leg kicks, and his right hand is lethal.
It’s crazy the Olympic wrestler’s wrestling is his hidden weapon. Leyva made an impact last July making his U.S. debut for LFA, and won in a big main event. I am pretty surprised he isn’t on the Contender Series, since they usually like to get Mexican fighters on the show.
Let us know what you think of the list in the comments below…