As fights and names are bandied about, an image for Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contenders Series develops


June 11th, 2017

So Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contenders series is slowly approaching it’s July 11th kick off date; basically a month off. There’s a collection of reasons why the series is happenin’ (desire to get guys fights, boost the FP library, IMO test the capacity of having a weekly UFC mini series for TV networks) BUT whatever the case, it has the chance to give guys who might otherwise be left out of the UFC a chance to get in and guys who maybe are good enough to be in the UFC but have faced way too tough competition to maybe reset themselves a little and get their career back on track.  The only guarantee we’ve had thus far is that there’s five fights a week every Tuesday for the summer but what can we expect necessarily? Well some fights AND fighters are beginning to filter out now and what’ve we got?

Joby Sanchez (9-2) vs Manny Vasquez (11-2)- July 11th

If the name Joby Sanchez is familiar to you then it’s because he’s a former UFC fighter who went 1-2 in the organization before he got released. Sanchez is still a very young fighter (25 years old) so it’s not a bad fighter to give a second chance by any stretch. Manny Vasquez is another familiar name; a guy who probably should’ve been in the UFC after defeating RIcardo Ramos on an Legacy card Dana and company went to for Looking For A Fight. Unfortunately he didn’t get the call up (Cody East did :/) but alas alack and all that. He’s gone 2-1 since the LFAF opportunity and is another very young BW at 23 years old. These are the sort of fights I can get behind.

Zu Anywanu (13-4) vs TBA- July 11th

This kind of feels overdue to be entirely honest. The big HW Azunna Anywanu who has performed for CFFC is scheduled to fight with no real opponent penciled in as of yet (or announced as of yet). I thought around 2015 or so when the UFC’s HW division was truly in dire straights they’d give him the call up but he always seemed to either never put on the performances needed or just flat out lost. He’ll be coming into this riding a four fight winning streak. I don’t think he’s going to really make a run, as one would put it, but if all HW fights are lottery tickets then you might as well swing big when you get the chance.

Boston Salmon (5-1) vs Ricky Turcios (8-0) - July 25th

So I’ll admit off the bat I know little about Ricky Turcios beyond his spotless record. The focus for me is on Boston Salmon; blessed name with blessed skills. Found out of the Tuff-N-Udd amateur system, Salmon put on a pretty decent stretch of wins and was carving his niche as a great young up and coming action fighter. In his last fight, he beat up on Zack Riley (who was coming off an upset win over Hugo “Wolverine” Vianna) and got screwed on the judges scorecards. This is a pretty good fight.

Sean O'Malley (6-0) vs Alfred Khashakyan (8-3)- July 18th

I know more about Khasakyan first and foremost so I guess we’ll start there. Khashakyan was basically an outsourced fight for the Maine Lookin’ For A Fight show that got Ricardo Ramos signed. Ramos beat Khashakayan in the main event but then Khashakyan rebounded to finish Chris Beal in his next fight out. Nothing gets you a look from the UFC like beating a guy who used to be there. Sean O'Malley trains out in Arizona with guys like John Moraga, Bryan Barberena and Lauren Murphy.  Both guys are bantamweights which seems to fit the theme thus far on what they’re targeting.

Dan Ige (7-1) vs Luis Gomez (4-0)- July 25th

I know nothing about either guy other than to note that Luis Gomez is undefeated and fights primarily in Miami for the same promotion that gave us such GOATs like Platinum Mike Perry and Alex Nicholson.

Kyle Noblitt (8-0) vs TBA- July 25th

A doughy bodied HW, Noblitt apparently is making the drop down to 205 lbs to compete on the show. Again I have little to no idea about the guy to be honest so rather than lie and deceive y'all, I’ll just say “No idea” and move on.

Daniel Jolly (5-2) vs TBA- Date TBA

Maybe Jolly vs Noblitt is up soon?

Chase Waldon (11-2) vs Gabriel Checco (10-2)- July 25th

Eeeeeeeghhh…..I think we’ve hit the wall now on things. Chase Waldon vs Gabriel Checco is a fight at middleweight which of course features the usual at 185 lbs. A lot of slow clunky guys (which they are) and in the case of Checco, a penchant for boring fights. Waldon isn’t much better in the two fights I saw of him but whatevs. Both fighters are over 30 years old as well which I mean it is what it is.

Michael Cora vs TBA- Date TBA

Another under 30 fighter who competed for Titan Fighting. Cora had a killer KO his last time out but the rest of his career has been in obscurity. Still I like the idea of rewarding guys who have some Fight Pass exposure getting another chance on the big brand even if it’s a one off chance. Fought at 170 and middleweight (with a weird catchweight bout at 200 lbs thrown in too).

Sidney Outlaw vs TBA- Date TBA

Was rumored to have been signed for the big league off of LFAF but looks like Outlaw at 8-3 will be fighting on Tuesday Night Contenders.  A guy who can bounce between a few weight classes.

So what is Tuesday Night Contenders at this point? Well nobody knows. Most of these fights are basically unconfirmed as of right now and the rumored UFC vet vs debuting prospect fights aren’t here as of yet. The “get some guys some fights” filler proponent is also absent during the early portions. We’ll see how the visual continues to develop but as of right now, Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contenders Series looks like it’s got a pretty easy theme to it. Hyped prospects who aren’t good enough to get signed to the UFC right away and fighters who are probably under the radar getting opportunities. Most of them are under 30 years old as well so there’s clearly an onus on younger fighters. The relatively small collection of names (five fights for two months means we’re about to get a ton of signings) so far is good but not great but they do paint a pretty clear visual of what we’re getting here. If they expand it a little (fighters from other countries would be awesome) and maybe give us some names for guys who are clinging to their careers in the UFC (Ross Pearson really jumps out to me) then this coul dbe a fantastic little project.

(Kudos to mma_kings and mmawizzard on twitter for doing most of the hard work collecting these fights plus all the management teams trumpeting the signings)

guys in guyliner

here we have several fine specimens of the guylined species.

david tennant killing it

johnny depp looking hella fine

colin o’ donoghue being very pretty

russel brand completely working it

adam lambert slaying like the motherfucking queen he is

and then there’s sebastian stan.

“A Finale With A Killer Headliner” TUF Redemption Finale Preview


July 3rd

The month of August is pretty lean for high level MMA so you better enjoy this July we’ve got coming! With a Bellator card, some PFL stuff and five UFC events (Dana White Tuesday Night Contenders Series notwithstanding), it’s a pretty busy month where quality meets quantity. The first show comes through from Las Vegas with a snazzy TUF Redemption season finale. Compared to some of the other TUF Finales? This one is okay I guess. Comparing it to the last four July TUF Finales, it’s probably on the lower end of shows. 2014 had BJ Penn vs Frankie Edgar and an at the time very solid undercard with guys like Derrick Lewis, Scoggins vs Dustin Ortiz and Kevin Lee on the prelims. Also there were two at the time great finale fights with Van Buren/Anderson and Lima/Gordon. In 2015, it was a relatively blegh card I suppose with Wonderboy at the helm. 2016 was an awesome card with Joanna Champion vs Claudia Gadelha at the tippy top plus the debut of Will Brooks and so on so forth. This year is probably on par with 2014 but above ‘15 and well below ‘16. 

Fights: 11 (as of right now with maybe two more to be added)

Debuts: 1 (Aspen Ladd)

Fight Changes/Injury Cancellations: 1 (Amanda Ribas out/Tecia Torres in vs Juliana Lima)

Headliners (fighters who have either main evented or co-main evented shows in the UFC): 6 (Brad Tavares, Michael Johnson, Tecia Torres, Jessica Eye, CB Dollaway, Gray Maynard)

Fighters On Losing Streaks in the UFC:  (CB Dollaway, Jessica Eye)

Fighters On Winning Streaks in the UFC: (Steve Bosse, Elias Theodorou)

Stat Monitor for 2017:

Debuting Fighters (Current number: 16-18)- Justin Gaethje, Aspen Ladd

Short Notice Fighters (Current number: 10-17)- Tecia Torres

Second Fight (Current number: 19-18)- Drakkar Klose

Cage Corrosion (Current Numbers: 2-2)- Steve Bosse, CB Dollaway,

*Going to give this a test run of sorts. How do fighters who have taken more than a year of perform in their first fight back?*

Twelve Precarious Ponderings

1- Of all the fights on these two shows, Michael Johnson vs Justin Gaethje is the fight that I’d argue is the MOST Must See fight of the weekend. Justin Gathje is joining the UFC’s deepest division and he’s entirely unique as a fighter. Think of a guy who has Tony Ferguson’s level of activity combined with Conor McGregor’s ability to adapt as the fight goes on with a prime Diego Sanchez level recuperative level. His ability to go to the body when he pressures against the fence is absolutely perfect and he’s going to rack up plenty of body shot KOs in time. Justin Gaethje has taken a ton of damage over the past 3-4 years, a guy who has never had an easy fight and whose initial output and activity level put him in the way of danger consistently. That makes for an intriguing match up with Michael Johnson given how Johnson has the ability to toast dudes out the gate with his hand speed and versatility on his feet. Sometimes you forget that Michael Johnson’s quality of competition is so vast; guys like Tony Ferguson, Beneil Dariush, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Nate Diaz, Joe Lauzon and Edson Barboza. If you look at the kind of guys that Johnson has struggled with, Gaethje IS that kind of guy. We’re talking about somebody who amplifies the pressure with each passing minute, can take advantage of the lulls and inactivity Johnson uses to time himself down the stretch and somebody who will earn his respect right off the bat with his power. So yeah, I’m 100% in love with this fight.

2- TUF isn’t going anywhere and next season features the female 125ers. I know it’s not something of note anymore but I still get a major kick out of learning who the coaches for the next TUF season is. They normally get announced during the TUF shows so here’s hoping we learn something on the show about it. I’d be totally down with two retired fighters taking the opportunity to coach TUF for the banter to avoid a champion getting tied up in TUF again. Give me Renzo Gracie vs Mark Coleman or Dan Severn vs Don Frye. Let Rampage and Rashad coach again and then retire vs one another.

3- So by all accounts, this season of TUF was a moderate success. The ratings have gone up and if you watch the show, the fights haven’t been too awful with some of them actually being really, really good. I don’t necessarily expect anybody to stick around, mind you, but chances are we’re going to get 1-2 guys added to the roster. So how many fighters from the show will be on the Finale? We’ve got the final (James Krause or someone else/Jesse Taylor vs Dhiego Lima) plus potentially an open spot on the prelims (likely semi finalist vs semi finalist). Could they squeeze a third fight on the Fight Pass prelims? I mean I think it’s possible if you really liked the season. You can do Ramsey Nijem vs Hayder Hassan or something similar to that if need be.

4- I wonder if Michael Johnson pulls off the upset over Justin Gaethje if the UFC would get froggy about sliding Johnson into Khabib’s spot in this upcoming interim title fight. Khabib is expected to fight in September or October but can you trust booking thast fight a third time?

5- Angela Hill vs Ashley Yoder is on the FS1 prelims; Tecia Torres vs Juliana Lima is on the Fight Pass prelims. Given the interest in Tecia Torres, at least at the start of this 115 lb project, you’d assume it’d be the other way around. Unfortunately Torres has fallen by the wayside because her fights are just not up to the par of the other ladies at strawweight. Angela Hill vs Ashley Yoder at least has big wacky action potential with Hill probably chasing a finish in the process.

6- Brad Tavares vs Elias Theodorou is arguably the most frustrating UFC fight you’re going to see this year. Tavares has the key components to be a MW title contender; the ability to strike, grapple and wrestle with most guys. Maybe he’s just protecting a suspect chin but he seems SO cautious almost to the point of brilliant inactivity. For Theodorou, he’s a phenomenal grappler but his wrestling is labored almost to the point of absurdity and his striking hasn’t developed beyond some range finding kicks. Both guys SHOULD be better and yet here we are. Oi.

7- So if Drakkar Klose beats Marc Diakiese is going to be the new Bryan Barberena style prospect killer?

8- Jordan Johnson vs Marcel Fortuna is interesting to put it mildly. Both are early 30s LHWs in a division where that’s worth its weight in gold. Jordan Johnson was dominant in his wrestling vs Henrique Da Silva while Marcel Fortuna went up to HW and KO’d Anthony Hamilton in really impressive fashion. It’s a shame that two new faces in a division that hungers for new faces are pitted against one another but hey! All’s well that ends well, right?

9- If Jessica Eye loses vs Aspen Ladd, will they release her or is she earmarked for 125 lbs?

10- How have CB Dolloway and Ed Herman lived in the same division for like 15 years and never fought before?

11- Gray Maynard vs Teruto Ishihara is interesting if you’re looking to try some new things for both guys. Maynard hasn’t been the same guy who gave Frankie Edgar hell for quite some time and Ishihara had quite a few flaws exposed in his fight vs Artem Lobov. Maynard’s just got enough of that mythical “vet savvy” to give Ishihara problems and there’s no doubt that he’s got the power to hurt him.

12- So about this Marc Diakiese vs Drakkar Klose fight. It’s a really intriguing fight on paper given how despite all of his skills, Diakiese hasn’t had to face a lot of complex challenges in the UFC. His toughest opponent was Frankie Perez who was coming off a tryist with retirement. Now granted it’s not like Perez was gone for four years but it’s still realistic to have questions about a guy who steps away from the sport. In that fight, Diakiese had his first flirtation with trouble when he took on Perez but he passed all tests with flying colors by adapting and then dominating the fight when he had to make changes. We’re talking composed and comfortable in the face of trouble. Curious to see how he deals with the length and tenacity of Klose who is a smart pressure fighter off the regional circuit.

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