Contender Series: Exciting prospects to watch coming out of Season 4
Every season of Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) hands out multiple contracts to deserving fighters. While each contract is earned, there are some performances that stood out from others.
Season 4 had some exciting prospects to watch. It is hard to narrow down the best performances from the whole season, but these fighters earned their mention and should be ones you keep a close eye on come the new year:
Jordan “The Monkey King” Leavitt will be a fighter that some people will hate. He has flamboyant and showboating style that is in your face. However, he is undefeated to back it up. He embraces the villain role, and Leavitt can thrive in this role. With incredible submission skills, he is dangerous from almost anywhere. He showed that in his UFC debut against Matt Winman at UFC Vegas 16.
Uros Medic really set the tone for Season 4. He brought the first TKO/KO finish of the season and did it impressively. Medic is fighting another DWCS alumni in Aalon Cruz at UFC 259 in March. With his signing, Medic adds another Serbian born fighter to the UFC roster. Medic also trains out of Alaska, bringing and undefeated record, finishing everyone he faces.
Adrian Yanez already has a win in the UFC with a 1st round KO. With 2 of his 3 losses coming to guys on the UFC roster, Yanez continues to show he belongs and fans are starting to take note of his fun finishing style. With the UFC behind him, Yanez is definitely one to watch in 2021 as an exciting newcomer to the bantamweight division.
Cheyanne Buys may have had the most impressive performance all season. She has the skills to compete in the UFC, but she also has the look, a good story, and her presence is incredible. Buys went from swearing and apologizing in the same breath, to showing her aggressive style and tempo on the feet, and in the grappling exchanges. Consequently, Buys was entertaining from start to finish and is one you should keep an eye on next year when she debuts.
The Cosce Brothers
Louis Cosce & Orion Cosce had one of the better stories of the season, and received tons of attention becoming the first brothers to get signed on Contender Series. Although Louis Cosce lost his UFC debut this year, he won a bonus at the end of the night for the war he went through, showing he belongs. With Orion Cosce healing up from an injury, it will be exciting to see him make his debut after the fight he had to get the contract (which was arguably one of the best matchups we’ve ever seen on DWCS).
Jimmy “The Brick” Flick has a very aggressive submission game. He is constantly hunting submissions, and looking to improve position, his opponent is just trying to survive. For example, it is like watching someone try to learn how to swim, and they are just staying above water. It is going to be hard for the UFC to find this guy fights, especially after catching Cody Durden in a Flying Arm Triangle at UFC Vegas 17.
Aliaskhab Khizriev wasted no time en route to a contract. He is 13-0 as a professional, and finishes fights like it’s a race. Khizriev has 5 finishes in under one minute, but also has gone the distance on 5 occasions. He fights out of Dagestan, so his ground game should be taken very seriously by default. Keep an eye out for his UFC debut next year.
Carlos Ulberg is undefeated, and an experienced kickboxer. Although he is only 3-0 in MMA, he trains with Israel Adesanya and made a statement against a tough opponent on Dana White’s Contender Series. You can tell that has given him confidence, he looks comfortable, calm, and composed in the octagon. This is a debut I am definitely interested in watching next year.
Ignacio Bahamondes landed one of the cleanest front kicks in MMA history days after Anderson Silva retired. He is a young fighter, just recently turning 23 and has a long list of KOs. Born in Chille, he now fights out of Miami, and went 2-0 in 2020 while earning a UFC contract. He will likely look to make his UFC debut in 2021, with big expectations waiting for him.
Luis Saldaña had one fight in 2020 and it was the one that got him a UFC contract. After getting the second front kick days days after Anderson Silva retired, Saldaña earned his contract and impressed many fight fans. Just look at his resume at all the finishes on his record… yeah… Keep an eye on this one.
Natan Levy is an undefeated fighter with Israeli roots. He took the Contender Series fight on short notice, at catchweight. Sometimes you have to do whatever it takes for a UFC contract. Levy has a fantastic ground and submission game, that he pairs well with his Karate striking style. As a result, Levy has the potential to blend his styles and be a very dangerous prospect. Not to mention, potential to make UFC lots of money too, representing Isreal.
We were able to see Luana Pinheiro on DWCS this season as a potential exciting addition to the UFC strawweight division. It’s not often we see finishes at 115, especially knockouts, so to see the powe Pinheiro possessed should make everyone excited to see what she does against the upper echelon of her weight class.