This Tuesday night brings episode seven of Dana White’s Contender Series and we have a full five-fight card again. As always, I will break down each specific matchup and give you a background on each fighter along with my official prediction for each fight. If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter.

Tereza Bleda vs Nayara Maia
Bleda, -675; Maia, +500

Tereza Bleda is the Flyweight champion in Oktagon promotion. She fights out of Czech Republic and is a dangerous 5-0 prospect with four of those wins coming inside the distance. She also has an exhibition win over current UFC fighter, Luci Pudilova in 2020. For starters, she is massive for this division and will have a significant size advantage in this matchup and over many fighters in this division. She is primarily looking to get things to the ground and has some solid wrestling skills to do so. Once she gets you down, she is looking to pass immediately and will rain down some heavy ground and pound or hunt for submissions.

Her opponent, Nayara Maia is coming off a first-round TKO finish in April. She is a 7-0-1 prospect fighting out of Brazil. Five of her seven wins have come inside the distance although I do not rate her finishing where she came out very aggressive from the start. But typically, she is more of a plodder and very hittable in striking exchanges. She wants to clinch up and grind you against the fence and get you to the ground. My biggest issue with her is that her wrestling is not good, and her positional grappling is not good either. Many of these fights, she is just landing in favorable positions from a 50/50 standpoint. She also regularly loses position and winds up on bottom and that would be a massive mistake in this matchup. Her best asset is her toughness, but I doubt that is enough to get her hand raised here.

Bleda is a massive favorite, but a big price tag is warranted considering the matchup. I expect Bleda to get the fight to the ground and be the one in dominant position. I expect her to have a chance to finish this fight early and I think she does so. Bleda by TKO is the official pick.

Nariman Abbasov vs Ismael Bonfim
Abbasov, -115; Bonfim, -105

Nariman Abbasov is a 27-3 prospect fighting out of Ramana. He is the former AMC lightweight champion and has just one loss over his last 25 fights. He has some powerful striking with 11 knockouts to his record but has also shown a well-rounded ground game as well. His biggest issue is that he tends to chase his opponents and get wild with looping hooks and very sloppy defensively. But he should have a clear ground game advantage if he can get the fight there in this matchup.

His opponent, Ismael Bonfim is a 17-3 prospect fighting out of Brazil. He is the older brother of Gabriel Bonfim who is also fighting on this card. He previously fought in LFA and is currently on an 11-fight win streak with his last loss coming to Renato Moicano back in 2014. He should be the more technical striker in this matchup with a clear speed advantage. However, the biggest leak in his game is his defensive grappling as he has been submitted in all three of his professional losses. It appears to be something that he has worked on over the years though and has shown some solid takedown defense in recent fights.

I expect this to be a very competitive fight with both fighters trying to own the center of the octagon. It should be Bonfim who has the striking advantage, but Abbasov carries more power and sits down on his punches. This basically comes down to if Abbasov can get this fight to the ground and how often he can if he does not find a finish. Again, this should be a close fight, but I lean with Abbasov as the more well-rounded fighter who should be able to win clear rounds if he goes to the ground. Abbasov by decision is the official pick.

Jimmy Lawson vs Karl Williams

Jimmy Lawson was originally scheduled to face Kevin Szaflarski but Szaflarski pulled out and Karl Williams is stepping in on just a few days’ notice. Lawson is a 4-1 prospect with all four wins coming by knockout. He has fought in LFA and comes from a high-level wrestling background. He was a three-time state champion wrestler in high school and wrestled at Penn State after playing college football. But he has yet to need to showcase his wrestling much as he has big knockout power and is taking care of most of his opponents early. The only real knock is that the level of competition has been low and when he was forced to fight a full 15 minutes in his professional debut, he lost.

His opponent, Karl Williams is moving up to Heavyweight on just a few days’ notice and will likely be a big underdog against the surging Lawson. Williams has knockout power in his own right with three of his six wins coming by knockout, but it will still be Lawson with the power advantage. Williams has typically relied on his powerful wrestling to get his opponents to the mat and grind on them. However, that will likely not be a path for him here against the credentialed wrestler in Lawson.

Like most Heavyweight matchups, either guy is capable of landing a big power shot, but I have to favor Lawson as the natural Heavyweight with more power and better wrestling. Lawson by knockout is the official pick.

Gabriel Bonfim vs Trey Waters
Bonfim, -275; Waters, +230

Gabriel Bonfim is an undefeated prospect with a 12-0 record. He is the younger brother of Ismael Bonfim and has previously fought in LFA and is the Welterweight champion in that promotion. In my opinion, he is the more skilled brother with a much more well-rounded game. Of his 12 wins, all of them have come inside the distance and nine of those were by submission. He has very fast hands but carries real power and has shown to have some tricky submission skills as well.

His opponent, Trey Waters is a 6-0 prospect fighting out of Jacksonville, Florida. Five of his six wins have come inside the distance, and he is coming off a knockout victory in his LFA debut in June. Despite the undefeated record, I have many concerns about him moving forward and do not think he belongs at this level. He was a (+400) underdog in that LFA fight and won with a come from behind lucky knee that landed flush with 20 seconds left in round three after losing every minute of the fight. He is very long and rangy, but his striking defense needs work and I expect him to get hit hard against Bonfim. Additionally, his defensive grappling is very poor, and he struggles to get off the fence and can be controlled for extended periods.

I have Bonfim winning this fight every which way. He is the more skilled striker with faster hands and more power along with much better defense. He also has all the grappling upside as well. He is a strong parlay piece this Tuesday night. Bonfim by TKO is the official pick.

Vitor Petrino vs Rodolfo Bellato
Petrino, -190; Bellato, +160

Vitor Petrino is a 6-0 prospect fighting out of Brazil. Five of his six wins have come by knockout although the level of competition has been poor for the most part. He most recently knocked out former UFC fighter, Gadzhimurad Antigulov last September in UAE Warriors. Outside of the knockout power, there is not much substance to his game. He has a decent control top game, but his wrestling is not good enough for the UFC level and he seems to be front loaded as well in terms of his cardio.

His opponent, Rodolfo Bellato is an 8-1 prospect fighting out of Brazil as well. He has only fought into the second round once in his entire career, so the cardio is a total question mark. Bellato has knockout power in his hands as well but is also a tricky submission grappler that chains his attempts together and should be the more dangerous of the two if this fight hits the mat.

The most interesting dynamic of this fight is that they fought before back in 2019 and it was Petrino’s professional debut. Bellato threw a naked leg kick early in the fight and Petrino caught him with a clean hook shot that put his lights out. There is always a possibility that could happen again, but I think it is just as likely that Bellato can find a big shot or threaten when the fight gets to the mat. I see this as a 50/50 fight, so I think the value is clearly on Bellato. Bellato by submission is the official pick.