No time to take a breather, kids. Another installment of the Contender Series is here, with two middleweight fights, an interesting welterweight matchup, a bantamweight fight between two very bright prospects, and a main event slot with a women’s strawweight fight between two very promising ladies.
The card starts with two fantastic athletes squaring off at middleweight as Colorado’s Anthony Adams (7-0) faces Chibwikem Onyenegecha (6-0). Onyenegecha’s trained with former UFC fighter Matt Grice out of the Oklahoma scene, and is replacing Hawaiian Maki Pitolo. He has a strong set of overhook tie-ups to minimize damage and absolutely lethal knees from inside his clinch. Also, he’s got a killer right hand. Adams is the middleweight champion at Sparta Combat League. While all of his pro wins have been decisions, he’s got some impressive finishes on the amateur circuit. He’s got a pretty complete striking game, but his ground game is largely reliant on muscling his way out of bad situations. Both are good and hard strikers, which makes this quite promising on the action front.
Next up is Antonio Jones (7-1) vs Edmen Shahbazyan (6-0), also at middleweight. Shahbazyan trains out of Glendale Fight Club (yes, totally) and has wins over an opponent that at the time was 1-4 (while Shahbazyan was 4-0), followed by his most recent fight against Daniel McWilliams (17-38). All of his wins are finishes via strikes, and this isn’t to say he isn’t a good fighter, but facing that kind of opponent doesn’t bode well for anyone stepping into a spotlight like this one. Jones comes out of the Texas circuit, with a cautious boxing game.
Things get a bit awkward in the next one, though. Team Alpha Male’s Angelo Trevino (7-2) will face “Paige VanZant’s Man“ Austin Vanderford (4-0). Vanderford is 4-0 as an amateur as well as in his pro career, and showed a lot of grit in his last fight. His striking is decent, and he’s not always able to get his takedowns timed right. His grinding style on the ground can serve him well, though. As for Trevino, he’s on a four-fight win streak. That’s good, but his last two wins were in against 0-7 Robert Allensworth (in Gladiator Challenge, natch) and 19-16 Justin Baesman (currently on a ten-fight losing streak). Trevino’s only losses are to Randall Wallace and former UFC fighter Bobby Nash earlier in his career. He’s really good at taking the back and working submissions, but has some gaps in his striking defense.
Domingo Pilarte vs Vince Morales (both 7-1) is set to follow at bantamweight. Morales has an aggressive submission game, and his striking is coming along although he seems a bit too content eating unnecessary damage for now. He’s getting there, though. Just watch the second round against former World Series Of Fighting fighter Brandon Hempleman. Pilarte is another product of the Texas scene, having fought for Legacy and Fury FC in the past. He’s got some catlike reflexes, and had a war against Caio Machado in his only professional loss.
Finally, the main event between Maycee Barber (4-0) and Jamie Colleen Miller (4-1) caps off the evening. Barber’s spent time training at Jackson/Winklejohn, and had a simply unbelievable battle against the very violent Mallory Martin, and an impressive submission win over regional talent Itzel Esquivel. Colleen was on last year’s show, where she picked up a hard-earned submission win over former Invicta fighter Tiffany Masters. She’s also 1-1 against current UFC fighter Danielle Taylor, and that win was a doozy. Both seem like talents that the UFC could just sign right away, but it is what it is.
As usual, it all begins at 8:00pm EST, and will be streaming live on UFC Fight Pass.