Jamie Pickett had failed to pick up a UFC contract on his first two tries. But there was no denying him a third time.
Pickett blitzed Jhonoven Pati early in the second round after a back-and-forth first, unleashing a flurry of punches – 22 in total, according to UFC President Dana White – that evoked Wanderlei Silva vs. Vitor Belfort and earned that coveted paper.
The middleweight bout headlined Week 4 of DWCS’ fourth season at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. In total four fighters received UFC contracts, including Pickett, Rafael Alves, Jeffrey Molina and Colin Huckbody.
After his first DWCS win, Pickett poured his heart out about the sacrifices made to get his third shot, describing to UFC commentator Laura Sanko a six-hour commute between gyms to train for Tuesday’s bout.
“I wanted it that bad,” he said. “I want a chance to provide and do better. Where I come from, there’s not a lot of opportunities. That’s why I’ve got stab wounds and a hammer hole [in my body]. I just want to show kids they can do better.”
White told Sanko, “Pickett’s dues are paid in full.”
Alves taps Yair Rodriguez partner in second
Rafael Alves needed two tries to stick the landing on a pre-fight flip, and two rounds to figure out Yair Rodriguez associate Alejandro Flores.
Flores stayed elusive against an aggressive Alves in the first, sniping at the Brazilian’s lead leg and getting out of way of power shots. He appeared more tentative in the second frame when Flores took the initiative and landed more strikes at distance, diffusing the momentum that had been built early on.
But Alves only needed one opportunity to turn the fight back in his favor. When Flores ducked under a punch and got a takedown, he slapped on a guillotine choke. He called out for referee intervention, and after a tap, he got what he wanted at the 2:55 mark of the middle frame.
Here’s Alves’ acrobatics that started the fight.
Molina’s technique overcomes Silva’s aggression
Jacob Silva never stopped trying to knock out Jeffrey Molina over 15 minutes. He took a tremendous amount of punishment along the way, resulting in a barnburner that brought a standing ovation from White.
Molina broke his foot in the first round as he tried to keep the surging Silva at distance. When Silva refused to relent, his striking accuracy was the deciding factor. Twice, Silva took a knee as Molina cracked him with right hands.
Molina better controlled the distance in the second frame, rocking Silva again with a knee up the middle that produced a deep cut on the left side of the face. Undeterred, Silva continued to bully his opponent, fighting through another knee to the face to close the fight on a rampage of punches.
Romero fights off hobbled Breeden for decision
Over three rounds, Romero showed discipline and technique, slowly chopping away at Breeden’s foundation with low kicks. Midway through the second, he hobbled Breeden’s left leg with an inside kick and added salt to the wound with a flurry of calf kicks to the right leg.
Yet Breeden refused to end his advance, forcing his opponent to brawl inside. And while he was outworked in exchanges, he made it a fight to the final bell. Barely able to stand, he eagerly accepted a trip to the mat.
The final scores were 30-26, 30-27, 29-28 for Romero. In his post-fight interview, he admitted his share of damage from the calf shots.
Huckbody takes advantage of Bowen flub
An early tactical error from Kyron Bowen gave Collin Huckbody top position early in the show opener, and from there, Huckbody took over. Quickly advancing to mount, he slapped on an arm-triangle that got a tap just 88 seconds into the fight. It was Huckbody’s fifth submission using that move.
Complete DWCS Season 4, Week 4 results:
Jamie Pickett def. Jhonoven Pati via TKO (strikes) - Round 2, 0:33
Rafael Alves def. Alejandro Flores via submission (guillotine choke) - Round 2, 2:55
Jeffrey Molina def. Jacob Silva via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Anthony Romero def. Mike Breeden via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
Collin Huckbody def. Kyron Bowen via submission (arm-triangle) - Round 1, 1:28