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Dana White’s Contender Series is back! Season six premieres this Tuesday on ESPN and we have the usual five-fight card with many exciting prospects to watch. As always, I will do my best to give a little background of each fighter along with my full prediction for the fight. I also do a video breakdown of each fight matchup on my YouTube channel so go watch that after reading!

Alessandro Costa vs Andres Luna Martinetti
Costa, -215; Luna, +180

Alessandro Costa is coming off a third-round TKO victory last November. He is a 10-2 prospect with six submission victories and holds a black belt in BJJ. He is the former Flyweight champion in LUX Fight League, but the overall level of competition has not been great outside of a couple fights. He is mostly known for his ground game, but his striking is solid as well. He is patient on the feet and mostly looking for opening to counter. He is a little stiff, but he throws with real power when he does let his hands go.

His opponent, Andres Luna Martinetti is coming off a second-round submission victory last November. He is a training partner of Brandon Moreno and currently a 12-0 prospect with six wins coming by submission. He is only a purple belt in BJJ but an aggressive submission grappler that has various submissions that he will look to attack. In terms of his striking, he is going to be the bigger fighter in there as he is long for the division and will have the height and reach advantage. He has some strong kicks but poor defense as he is very heavy on his lead leg and fights with his hands down.

I expect the striking to be competitive as neither guy should blow you away on the feet. I think it will start out as a low volume striking affair with Luna throwing multiple kicks while Costa stays patient looking for the big counter shot. But I do expect to see some grappling exchanges and exciting scrambles between these two fighters. I favor Costa on the mat as the more experienced grappler and if Luna tries for one of his unorthodox submission attempts then Costa should be able to survive and make him pay. I expect Costa to have the cardio edge if the fight gets extended as well. Costa by submission is the official pick.

Dennis Buzukja vs Kaleio Romero Jr.
Buzukja, -215; Romero, +180

Dennis Buzukja is coming off a decision win in February and is currently on a three-fight win streak. He previously fought on Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2020 and lost a decision to Melsik Baghdasaryan which was one of his only two professional losses. He trains out of Serra-Longo Fight Team in Long Island, New York with guys like Merab Dvalishvili and Aljamain Sterling. He has a well-rounded skillset with a decent kicking attack and will mix in the takedowns as well.

His opponent, Kaleio Romero is coming off a first-round knockout in June of last year. He trains out of Team Alpha Male and is a 6-1 prospect with five of his six wins coming inside the distance. He is not very technical on the feet but will swing heavy overhands and shoot for takedowns as well. Despite the aggressiveness in looking for takedowns and his collegiate wrestling background, I would expect Buzukja to have the advantage in the grappling department.

On the feet, I expect Buzukja to be much more technical and defensively sound. He will need to avoid the power shots of Romero, but he is very durable and ate a ton of shots in the Baghdasaryan fight so I would be surprised if Romero can hurt him. Both fighters are capable of landing takedowns, but I expect Buzukja to have a better gas tank and take over down the stretch. Buzukja by decision is the official pick.

Anton Turkalj vs Acacio Dos Santos
Turkalj, -225; Dos Santos, +188

Anton Turkalj is an undefeated prospect with a 7-0 record fighting out of Sweden. All seven of his wins have come inside the distance with five of them coming in the first round. He has knockout power but outside of that there are many question marks in his game. For starters, his cardio is entirely unproven, and I suspect it is not good based on the way he looks even in round one of some of these fights. Additionally, despite having two submission victories, his grappling is not great, and he will get exposed against legitimate grapplers on the mat.

His opponent, Acacio Dos Santos is coming off a decision victory in April. He is 14-4 with six knockout victories and has been submitted in two of his four professional losses. He is a powerful striker with six knockout victories, but his last six fights have gone to decision outside of his injury loss last year. He is 8-1 in decisions, and I expect him to have the cardio edge over Turkalj who has never had to fight into the third round before. He will need to avoid the early blitz from Turkalj but if he survives that then he is a very live underdog that I would favor over 15 minutes. Dos Santos by decision is the official pick.

Farid Basharat vs Willian Souza
Basharat, -225; Souza, +188

Farid Basharat is coming off a second-round submission victory in March. He is an undefeated prospect at 8-0 with five submission victories to his record. He is the brother of Javid Basharat who fought on last season of Dana White’s Contender Series and has a very similar fighting style. He has a strong jab and is relentless with his kicking attack. But he also has a good ground game as well so he can be competitive wherever the fight goes.

His opponent, Willian Souza is coming off a second-round TKO finish in March as well. He is an 11-1 prospect who lost his professional debut and has since rattled off 11 straight victories to capture the Bantamweight belt in Jungle Fight promotion. He is a finisher by nature and a kill or be killed fighter as all 12 of his career fights have finished inside the first seven minutes. He is long for the division but heavy on his lead leg and susceptible to leg kicks. His defensive grappling is untested as well and I expect Basharat to have the advantage there.

Souza is powerful and wants to get in close and fight in the phone booth where he can unleash multiple combinations in a hurry. If he lands one of those then I think he could hurt Basharat but overall, I think that Basharat stays on the outside and uses his kicks at range. Basharat should also be able to land his jab repeatedly as Souza fights with his hands down primarily. Lastly, Basharat should have a clear grappling edge if he decides to take this fight to the mat. Basharat by submission is the official pick.

Joe Pyfer vs Ozzy Diaz
Pyfer, -130; Diaz, +108

Joe Pyfer is coming off a second-round knockout victory in December. He is an 8-2 prospect with five of his wins coming by knockout. You may recognize the name because he previously fought Dustin Stoltzfus on Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2020 and unfortunately broke his arm on a slam by Stoltzfus. Since then, he switched training camps to Daniel Gracie MMA in Philadelphia with guys like Sean Brady and Jeremiah Wells. He is very powerful on the feet with legitimate fight ending power, but he has a solid ground game as well.

His opponent, Ozzy Diaz is coming off a first-round knockout in March over in LFA. He is a 7-1 prospect with five wins coming by knockout. He also carries legitimate power on the feet and is your typical knockout or get knocked out style of fighter. It is always possible he can hurt Pyfer on the feet, but Pyfer is very durable and is just as likely to catch Diaz in striking exchanges. But the upside in Pyfer is that he would have a clear grappling edge if he were to take this fight to the mat. I would also expect him to have the cardio edge as Diaz has never fought into the third round and Pyfer will continuously pressure his opponents without stopping.

This fight should be a banger and I am expecting a knockout finish one way or the other. But I have to lean with Pyfer as the more proven product who should have multiple advantages outside of just the knockout power. Pyfer by knockout is the official pick.