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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.

Jafel Filho vs Roybert Echeverria
Filho, -155; Echeverria, +135

Jafel Filho is a 13-2 prospect fighting out of Brazil. Of his 13 career victories, he has finished 12 of them inside the distance. He is primarily a grappler as eight of his 13 wins have come by submission, and he holds a black belt in BJJ. He has fought some notable competition as well with a win over Vinicius Salvador and a loss to Bruno Korea, both previous Dana White Contender Series fighters. On the feet, Filho is very low volume and seems to get hit too much so he needs to get fights to the ground.

His opponent, Roybert Echeverria is an undefeated 7-0 prospect fighting out of Venezuela. Of his seven victories, four have come by knockout. He has some clear power in his striking but the level of competition that he has faced leaves more to be desired. The combined record of his opponents are 22-48 when he faced them. This is clearly a step up in competition, but he should be the better striker of the two with more power and volume.

This fight basically comes down to whether Echeverria can avoid being put on his back for extended periods. I do not rate the takedowns of Filho very highly and think that Echeverria should be able to keep the fight standing for the most part where he should have a striking advantage. The pick is Echeverria by knockout is the official pick.

Nurullo Aliev vs Josh Wick
Aliev, -580; Wick, +440

Nurullo Aliev is a 6-0 undefeated prospect fighting out of Tajikstan. Of his six victories, five of them have gone the distance. He is primarily a ground game specialist and has that typical Russian grappling style with powerful takedowns and smothering top control. His striking is sloppy and good strikers will be able to make him pay on the feet. But he uses his strengths well and blends his takedowns with his striking.

His opponent, Josh Wick is a 12-5 prospect fighting out of Idaho. He trains at Elevation Fight Team in Colorado and has fought some notable competition on the regional scene including former UFC fighter, Dan Moret. 10 of his 12 wins have come inside the distance and he seems fight at a high pace. I expect him to be the cleaner striker of the two, but he is also liable to eat some shots as well. Additionally, he can be pressured against the fence and dragged to the mat which plays right into the hands of Aliev.

I expect Aliev to be able to cut off the cage and get his takedowns and grappling going against Wick. His grappling is good enough to stay safe from any of the attempts Wick throws up off his back. Aliev by decision is the official pick.

Austen Lane vs Richard Jacobi
Lane, -130; Jacobi, +110

Austen Lane is an 11-3 prospect fighting out of Florida. He is the former Heavyweight champion over in Fury FC and currently on a five-fight win streak. He previously fought on Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2018 against Greg Hardy and lost by knockout. Of his 11 career victories, 10 have come by knockout. He is lean for the Heavyweight division but has clear knockout power and carries it through every round. He has also shown the ability to land takedowns as well. The only real knock on him is that he is hittable on the feet and can be countered. He has been knocked out three times in his career.

His opponent, Richard Jacobi is a 6-0 undefeated prospect fighting out of Brazil. He is your typical Heavyweight power puncher with five of his six career wins coming by knockout. But the level of competition has been extremely poor as he has just one victory over an opponent with a winning record. He made his LFA debut in May and fought to a majority draw. Outside of his power, his striking is very sloppy, and he throws with little technique despite coming from a credentialed kickboxing background. Most of his regional tape was just hurting his opponents with a big shot and then climbing on top of them to rain some ground and pound.

This is Heavyweight so either guy can obviously win by knockout, but Lane is the much more skilled fighter in every aspect. I expect him to get the job done. Lane by knockout is the official pick.

Raul Rosas Jr. vs Mando Gutierrez
Rosas, -180; Gutierrez, +155

Raul Rosas Jr. is just 17 years old and will be making history as the youngest fighter to compete on Dana White’s Contender Series. He is a 5-0 prospect with all five wins coming inside the distance and four by submission. He comes from a high-level grappling background and recently won the Submission Only Series pro tournament at 155 lbs. despite being just 16 years old and defeated two black belts. His level of competition has been very low, but he has blown through them every step of the way. He is very explosive early in the fight and will look to shoot for takedowns and cut through his opponents on the mat. You do not want this kid on your back.

His opponent, Mando Gutierrez is a 7-1 prospect fighting out of Michigan. He previously fought in LFA, and his only professional loss came against former Contender Series fighter, Mo Miller. He has some powerful kicks, but he is primarily looking to grapple, and six of his seven professional wins have come by submission. He has some tight chokes and is very slick with his attempts, but I do not like this matchup for him. He is older and has clearly fought better competition, but it makes me very uneasy that he will want to grapple with Rosas. Lastly, his chin is not great either as he was dropped by Miller but also multiple other times across the regionals as well.

There is always risk when backing someone who has yet to really be tested and is so young, but I lean with Rosas in this matchup. He is the more skilled grappler and I expect him to be able to spend more time in dominant positions. Additionally, he is very good at sweeping with submission attempts of his own if he is put on bottom. I have to back the more skilled grappler in what should be a grappling match. Rosas by submission is the official pick.

Bruno Ferreira vs Leon Aliu
Ferreira, -250; Aliu, +210

Bruno Ferreira is an undefeated 8-0 prospect fighting out of Brazil. Of his eight wins, all of them have come inside the distance and he has yet to fight into the third round. The level of competition has been relatively low on the regional scene, but he has looked good throughout his run. He has power in his striking but has also shown the ability to land takedowns and rain down some heavy ground and pound. He holds a black belt in Judo and in BJJ and should have a clear advantage on the ground in this fight.

His opponent, Leon Aliu is a 10-1 prospect fighting out of Italy. Of his 10 wins, all of them have come by finish and his loss was the only time he went to the scorecards. He took three years off after his loss back in 2018 and has had two first-round finishes since coming back to the sport. He seems to have some power and some heavy leg kicks, but he fights with his hands down and leaves himself open to counters. Additionally, his takedown defense is not great and that could be key in this fight.

I expect Ferreira to implement the grappling in this fight and take away the danger of Aliu on the feet. Ferreira by TKO is the official pick.