Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series (DWTNCS) officially makes its return for season 3, as it’s set to air on ESPN+.
Season 2 was full of impressive finishes, an absurd number of UFC contracts handed out, and every Tuesday night had viewers on the edge of their seats last summer. DWTNCS proved to be a reliable pipeline for talented and exciting fighters to filter into the UFC and give new and young fighters more of a fan base coming into the promotion.
A real win-win for the UFC as there is an influx of talented fighters coming in with more hype and fans behind them, as well as filling the prelims on fight cards with young fighters who are willing to go for broke and put on a show and entertaining fight.
Season 3 of DWTNCS is off to a good start with the first card which showcases talented and dangerous fighters, and there are only more to come.
The Scrap has predictions for the first card this season below.
Yorgan De Castro vs Alton Meeks (Heavyweight)
Joel: There’s not way I’m going against New England here. Both men are undefeated, however, I do believe De Castro has faced some top competition out in the east coast where MMA is on the rise.
Yorgan De Castro def. Alton Meeks via TKO in round 1.
Connor: De Castro turned pro in 2017, and has been undefeated since making the switch from amateur to pro. A late start for De Castro has him on the brink of making the UFC at the age of 31 as he will take on the 25 year old Meeks. Meeks is also undefeated as a professional and as an amateur, finishing all but one fight in his career. The UFC loves young undefeated prospects that finish fights, they seem to try to set them up for success in these matchups.
Alton Meeks def. Yorgan De Castro via TKO in round 3.
Bill Algeo vs Brendan Loughnane (Featherweight)
Joel: I’ve been following Loughnane for quite some time now and it’s so damn nice to finally see him get the opportunity to make it back to the UFC after having a nice run in the local scene. For a while, it was hard to get him fights. That’s when you know it’s time and you are ready for the UFC. I don’t know much of Algeo, however, he has a 12-3 record and fights out of Pennsylvania. So you know he’s no joke. Loughnane though, has lived with Dominick Cruz and trains with him frequently. I have this featherweight stud getting the contract in week one of DWTNCS. If I’m honest, this fight could steal the show.
Brendan Loughnane def. Bill Algeo via TKO in round 1.
Connor: Loughnane comes in with a 16-3 record, and just finishes fights at a high rate. All three of his losses have come in a decision, two of them being a split decision. This guy is not an easy out, and anytime you finish a fight with leg kicks, it is worth mentioning. Algeo is experienced as well, and should look to avoid the kicks of Loughnane, taking the fight to the mat where he will likely have the advantage.
Brendan Loughnane def. Bill Algeo via TKO in round 1.
Kali Robbins vs Hannah Goldy (Strawweight)
Joel: This should be a great fight, Robbins is no joke. She has a 6-2 record and has fought some great strawweights. Although Goldy lacks the resume Robbins does currently, her undefeated record speaks for itself. Oh, and what a name – Hannah Goldy. This matchup was set for Goldy to win, she’s the younger fighter, has a better record, and is shown more in Contender Series commercials. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Robbins get the win.
Hannah Goldy def. Kali Robbins via unanimous decision.
Connor: Robbins is 34 years old, and it’s now or never for her to make a run in the UFC. She will most likely be a heavy underdog in this fight, but the ones with nothing to lose, can be the most dangerous. Robbins does have a strong submission game and should not be counted out. Goldy (Goldschmidt) is from the east coast originally, so you know I am biased in this pick from the start. Yes the name Hannah Goldy is quite the name, but the nickname The Queen of Sparta is even better. Goldy is undefeated but the one thing she is missing is what DWTNCS demands, and that is finishes. I believe this is her coming out party, the UFC is one impressive performance away for both fighters.
Hannah Goldy def. Kali Robbins via TKO in round 2.
Brok Weaver vs Leon Shahbazyan (Welterweight)
Joel: If the last name sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Leon is season two contract winner, Edmen Shabahzyan’s little brother. Weaver has a solid record, but there’s no way the Shabazyan’s don’t become the next siblings to be signed to UFC. And if they are, it definitely wasn’t because Weaver was an easy fight. He’s coming off a 6 fight win streak, however, most wins come via decision. Leon on the other hand, has finished every fight he’s fought. This scrap will be interesting for sure, but I see Shahbazyan getting the win.
Leon Shahbazyan def. Brok Weaver via submission in round 2.
Connor: Weaver is coming off a win in one of the weirdest ways, where he submitted his opponent, but his opponent’s corner entered the cage during the bout which resulted in Weaver winning via DQ. Either way Weaver came away with the win. The young fighter looks to take on anther young talented fighter with a familiar last name to DWTNCS and the UFC. Shahbazyan is a name that will be familiar to UFC fans whether it be Edmen at middleweight or Leon at welterweight. If Leon wins, he gets a contract, if Weaver wins, he might get a contract depending on how the victory comes, or a developmental contract to hone his skills a little more to become more of a finisher.
Leon Shahbazyan def. Brok Weaver via submission in round 1.
Punahele Soriano vs Jamie Pickett (Middleweight)
Joel: Soriano is an absolute stud, but so is Pickett. The difference between the two is one has been on DWTNCS, and the other has not- but is undefeated. I have to go with Soriano here, he has a perfect record, and there aren’t many prospects coming out of Hawaii. I think Soriano is everything Dana White is looking for, and we see him get the finish and contract.
Punahele Soriano def. Jamie Pickett via TKO in round 2.
Connor: Pickett makes a return to DWTNCS after suffering a loss in his last appearance on the show where Charles Byrd earned a contract at Pickett’s expense. Since then he has come back with two first round finishes to try and show that he does belong in the UFC. Soriano is undefeated as a professional at 5-0 and on a 7 fight win streak. This guy is island tough. Soriano muscles through fighters at middleweight, he hits with BAD intentions, and has strong wrestling to round out his ground game. The only thing we do not know is how long he can actually fight for, he has yet to hit the 4th minute in a fight. I would bet that one of these guys is either going down in the first, or they will gas out and slug it out until the final bell.
Punahele Soriano def. Jamie Pickett via KO in round 1.