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This is arguably the most anticipated week of this season of Dana White’s Contender Series as highly touted wrestling prospect, Bo Nickal is set to make his Contender Series debut. Additionally, we have four other fights for Tuesday night including a prospect who I believe is one of the most UFC ready participants that we have seen this season. As always, I will break down every fight matchup for Contender Series and give my official prediction and betting strategy for the card.

Karolina Wojcik vs Sandra Lavado
Wojcik, -215; Lavado, +185

Karolina Wojcik is EFC Strawweight champion. She is an 8-2 prospect with six of her eight wins coming by decision. She has good footwork and fast hands although she tends to get reckless at times when she swarms her opponents. She has been clipped multiple times on the regional scene and her striking defense can use some improvement.

Her opponent, Sandra Lavado is a 10-2 prospect with four wins by submission. The level of competition is much lower, and she has not even looked that impressive against those opponents. She is primarily a striker and does have some fast hands when she lets them go but she is not a very skilled fighter, and I am not expecting much out of her moving forward if she makes it to the UFC. She does a hold a purple belt in BJJ but has yet to face any good grapplers.

I do not rate either fighter very highly but the footwork and speed of Wocjik should give her a slight advantage on the feet and I expect this to be a kickboxing match. Wojcik’s durability is a bit of a concern, but I am not sure that Lavado will be able to take advantage. Either way, I think this fight plays out relatively close as I do not see either fighting blowing the other away. I do not mind taking the dog shot here on Lavado in a low-level fight that should come down to judging. Lavado by decision is the official pick.

Clayton Carpenter vs Edgar Chairez
Carpenter, -285; Chairez, +240

Clayton Carpenter is an undefeated prospect at 5-0 with four of his five wins coming inside the distance. He previously fought in LFA and trains out of the MMA Lab in Arizona. He is one of the most UFC ready prospects that we have yet to see this season on Contender Series. He is a well-rounded fighter that is very explosive on the feet with multiple first-round knockouts. However, it is the complete package of his skillset that gets me excited as he will be a nice addition to the Flyweight roster in the UFC. Aside from his explosive striking, he has solid wrestling and is a strong submission grappler on the mat as well and will have a massive advantage there in this matchup.

His opponent, Edgar Chairez is stepping up on short notice as Stephen Erceg had to pull out of this fight due to visa issues. Chairez is an 7-3 prospect with all seven wins coming inside the distance. He trains out of Entram gym in Mexico and is a regular training partner of Andres Luna who we saw on week one this season. He seems to have some power in his hands and is a finisher by nature, but the level of competition leaves more to be desired. The glaring issue of Chairez is his defensive grappling as he has been submitted in two of his three professional losses and Carpenter should be able to cut through him on the mat. Carpenter by submission is the official pick.

Erik Silva vs Anvar Boynazarov
Silva, -145; Boynazarov, +125

Erik Silva is the former Featherweight champion in LUX promotion. He is an 8-1 prospect with six of his eight wins coming inside the distance. He is currently on a seven-fight win streak with five straight first round finishes. He is a physical fighter that seems to have a well-rounded skillset. His striking is not super technical, but he does have power in his hands and some nasty calf kicks as well. But he is at his best when he implements his grappling, and he has shown the ability to take guys down and find their back rather quickly.

His opponent, Anvar Boynazarov is just 3-0 professionally with all three victories coming by first round knockout. Don’t blink in this one because it likely ends quickly. Boynazarov clearly has the knockout power in his hands, but his defensive grappling is unproven at best. He comes from a Glory kickboxing background and actually has a win over Giga Chikadze which speaks to his striking ability. I would expect him to be the better striker on the feet as he is much cleaner defensively. But I expect Silva to come in with the right game plan and try to get this fight to the mat quickly as that is the biggest advantage of the match. Silva by submission is the official pick but this one is going to be fun for as long as it lasts.

Jamal Pogues vs Paul Renato Jr.
Pogues, -285; Renato, +240

This is the second time we will see Jamal Pogues as he previously fought on Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2019 and won a decision but was not awarded a contract. He landed an impressive seven takedowns in that fight and showed off a good enough gas tank to fight a hard 15 minutes even after getting clipped early in the fight. He seems to have a well-rounded game as he has your typical big manpower, but he also shows the ability to land takedowns and grind out top position. He will go for submission attempts as well despite not being great at defending them.

His opponent, Paul Renato Jr. is a 10-1 prospect fighting out of Brazil with seven wins coming by knockout. Of his 11 career fights, just three of them have reached the final round. I could not find much tape on this guy, but he seems to be your typical Heavyweight power puncher that has yet to be tested against better competition. One interesting note is that he used to be much smaller and fight at a different weight class. He took four years off between 2017-2021 and jumped up a few weight divisions and has faced three complete scrubs since.  

Skill for skill, Pogues is much better in every aspect of MMA and if he implements his wrestling then he should cruise here. There is a bit of variance though as these are both power punchers and Pogues has been hurt before despite being knocked out. But the overall ground game and cardio advantages should be pretty drastic here. Pogues by TKO is the official pick.

Bo Nickal vs Zachary Borrego
Nickal, -1250; Borrego, +800

The wait is over. They hype train is full steam ahead on the wrestling standout turned MMA fighter, Bo Nickal. Nickal was previously a three-time NCAA champion wrestler at Penn State but has since set his sights on the MMA landscape. He is just 1-0 professionally with a first-round knockout victory in June but it goes without saying that many are expecting big things from him.

His opponent, Zachary Borrego is a 3-0 prospect with two wins coming by first-round knockout. Despite the impressive record, I was not impressed watching the tape on him and the level of competition was very low as well. He was 3-3 as an amateur including a fight where he got wrecked in the clinch and knocked out in the first round. I do not rate his skillset very highly but the main thing is that he will need to be able to defend takedowns and win the striking exchanges and I doubt he can do either of those things.

The wrestling and ground game favors Nickal here massively. But the striking should honestly favor him as well, it is just a matter of what type of game plan he will implement. Regardless, he gets his hand raised here as the big favorite. Nickal by TKO is the official pick.