Three more fighters have joined the UFC roster following the latest installment of Dana White’s Contender Series.
UFC president Dana White handed out the contracts following five action-packed fights on Tuesday night in Las Vegas.
Undefeated lightweight prospect Omar Morales not only picked up a second-round TKO but he earned his UFC contract by finishing the current LFA lightweight champion in Harvey Park.
“He’s 8-0 now, he is violent, and he is exactly what I love and exactly what I’m looking for,” White said about Morales to welcome him to the UFC.
Finally, the UFC added a new middleweight after Andre Muniz made quick work of previously undefeated former college wrestling standout Taylor Johnson with a first-round submission.
Here are the full results from Dana White’s Contender Series for week seven, season three.
Lightweight: Omar Morales def. Harvey Park by TKO (strikes) at 1:06, R2
Omar Morales kept his undefeated record intact by taking out Harvey Park in the featured fight on the latest installment of Dana White’s Contender Series.
A gameplan fueled by leg kicks and eventually pinpoint power striking led Morales to the TKO stoppage at 1:06 in the second round to cap off the show.
Park was the aggressor moving forward on Morales as soon as he was released from his corner but he had to deal with plenty of adversity with that game plan. Morales used that forward pressure to set up counter punches that snapped Park’s head around a few times in the opening round.
Despite eating a few shots, Park was not backing down as he continued to move forward while launching powerful strikes with every punch thrown. When Morales did get enough distance, he manage to pop off a few leg kicks that paid off huge in the second round.
Morales continued to chip away until he landed a crippling kick to the leg that buckled Park’s knee, which let the Venezuelan fighter know that he needed to continue his strategy to take away his opponent’s foundation. It didn’t help matters much that Park tried to return fire with a kick of his own but it appeared he took more damage when Morales blocked with his elbow.
With Park limping backwards towards the cage, Morales stood directly in front of him, measuring his shots and then unloading with a stiff shot that put the LFA lightweight champion down on the mat. Morales didn’t get a chance to do much more as referee Herb Dean swooped into stop the fight knowing that Park was already done.
The win puts Morales at 8-0 in his career with a statement win over a legit prospect in Park as he now joins the UFC roster.
Women’s Flyweight: Lucrezia Ria def. Marilla Santos by split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
Marilla Santos and Lucrezia Ria were definitely gunning for a UFC contract in their flyweight fight but a three-round war then led to a somewhat controversial split decision.
Ria got the nod with two scorecards reading 29-28 in her favor with the third judge scoring the fight 30-27 in favor of Santos.
There were plenty of bombs being launched with Santos and Ria both willing to exchange punches on the feet with more than a few landed for both fighters. When the fight hit the ground, Santos was quick to begin looking for a submission attack but Ria was able to avoid any serious danger.
It was more of the same in the second round with Santos getting the better of a firefight as she connected with a combination of punches in succession. Ria countered with a takedown but she then had to fight off an armbar and a heel hook attempt from Santos on the bottom.
Neither submission landed and Ria was able to retake top control as she started to look for ground-and-pound. It appeared Santos was starting to lose some steam late in the round, which allowed Ria to get a little more aggressive before the horn sounded.
Perhaps Santos was playing possum because she came out like a ball of fire in the final round, because she blitzed Ria with a barrage of shots that had the Italian fighter wobbled on the feet. Santos was tagging Ria with punches but she couldn’t put her opponent down and out.
The fight eventually went back to the ground with Santos closing out the contest with an armbar attempt but once again Ria was able to survive.
It was definitely a battle throughout but it appeared Santos did enough to win by landing the better punches over three rounds as well as looking for several submissions on the ground. The judges disagreed and gave the fight to Ria, who moved to 8-2 in her career with the win.
Featherweight: Herbert Burns def. Darrick Minner by submission (triangle armbar) at 2:29, R1
Herbert Burns did everything possible to join his brother Gilbert Burns on the UFC roster with an impressive showing in his featherweight fight against Darrick Minner.
The Brazilian showed off his slick submission skills by wrapping up a first-round triangle choke that earned him the win after he personally got the call up from White following an appearance on his series “Lookin’ for a Fight.”
There was no feeling out period in this fight with Minner and Burns going after each other with everything in their arsenals from the first seconds of the opening round. While Burns has a wealth of ground experience, Minner showed no fear going to the mat with him.
The exchanges eventually led to the fighters working back to the feet with Minner catching Burns with a few stiff punches before grabbing another takedown attempt. Unfortunately for Minner, he went to the ground with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt one time too many.
Burns wasted no time locking up a triangle choke-armbar combination and with a vice-like grip around his head and arm, Minner had no choice but to tap out almost immediately after he got stuck in the submission.
Burns celebrated the his victory by sending well wishes to his brother Gilbert, who competes at the UFC Fight Night card in Uruguay this weekend.
Middleweight: Andre Muniz def. Taylor Johnson by submission (rear naked choke) at 1:46, R1
Andre Muniz was one of the biggest underdogs on Tuesday night but after surviving an early barrage, the Brazilian pulled off a rear-naked choke submission to hand Taylor Johnson his first professional defeat.
The action moved fast and furious in the opening round with Muniz clipping Johnson with a counter punch just seconds into the fight, which then led the former NAIA All-American wrestler to go for a takedown. Johnson grabbed onto Muniz’s legs and lifted him into the air before bringing him crashing to the mat.
Johnson immediately began raining down punches to look for one of his signature ground-and-pound finishes but Muniz stayed patient to ensure he could weather the storm. The Brazilian then transitioned to an armbar attempt before getting locked in a scramble with Johnson that allowed him to take the back.
From there it was all Muniz as he quickly locked down the position and found an opening to slip his forearm under the chin to secure the rear-naked choke. A second later, Johnson was forced to tap out as Muniz celebrated the submission victory.
Muniz is now 2-0 in the Contender Series after winning in Brazil last year before picking up his victory over Johnson on Tuesday night.
Bantamweight: Dwight Joseph def. Jason Perrin by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Team Alpha Male fighter Dwight Joseph had to survive a grueling battle with Jason Perrin to earn a unanimous decision in the opening bout on the Contender Series.
Both fighters were cautious in the opening round but Joseph manages to rattle off several stinging leg kicks that reverberated throughout the UFC Apex. Joseph showcased some serious power behind his punches as well, which kept Perrin from advancing too much in the exchanges on the feet.
Perrin opened the second round with a little more aggression but Joseph nearly made him pay for it with some well-timed counter shots. A kick to the body from Joseph then led Perrin to look for the takedown but he left his neck exposed, which then led to a guillotine choke attempt.
It looked for a moment like Joseph might get the submission but Perrin was able to survive before the fighters worked back to the feet. Before the horn sounded, Joseph unleashed a big flurry of punches as he looked to do a little damage before time expired.
With five minutes remaining, Perrin opted for a slightly different strategy as he took Joseph to the mat before advancing his position to take the back. Perrin made an attempt to latch onto a rear-naked choke but exhaustion was setting in, which allowed Joseph to explode out of the position to get back to his feet.
It was a grinding pace until the fight came to an end and the judges opted to give the decision to Joseph with scores reading 29-28, 29-28 and 29-28.