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This Tuesday night brings episode one of season seven for Dana White’s Contender Series and we have a full five-fight card. 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.

Felipe Dos Santos vs Luciano Pereira

Felipe Dos Santos is a 22-year-old prospect fighting out of Brazil. He sports an undefeated 7-0 professional record with five wins coming inside the distance. He is another Chute Boxe prospect and trains with UFC fighters, Charles Oliveira, Danny Santos and Mateus Mendonca among others. Dos Santos relies on constant pressure. He moves forward and utilizes his kicking attack with switch kicks and front kicks consistently. He has also shown the ability to land takedowns although his control is not great. I do worry about him though as he gets very sloppy when pressing forward and will eat some shots. He can also give up takedowns and only sometimes works back to his feet.

His opponent, Luciano Pereira is another young prospect fighting out of Uruguay. He has a 12-1 professional record with his only loss being a disqualification for an illegal knee in a fight that he was dominating. He fights out of the southpaw stance and seems to have some legitimate power. Most of his wins came inside the first round and he has faced very poor competition on the regional scene. He is going to be giving up some significant size in this matchup and will need to close distance and be able to fight on the back foot.

This is a low-level fight as both fighters are very young and need more experience from quality competition. I side with Dos Santos due to the size and pressure along with fighting some better competition up to this point. But if the odds are massively favoring either fighter then I will blindly take the underdog as this is a high variance matchup. Dos Santos by decision is the official pick.

Luis Pajuelo vs Robbie Ring

Luis Pajuelo is a 7-1 prospect fighting out of Peru. Of his seven professional victories, six of them have come by knockout. It is very clear watching this guy that he really enjoys hurting people with his hands. All he wants to do is move forward and fight in the phone booth where he can land some of his heavy shots. He is a skilled boxer but is very one-dimensional in terms of his approach. He can be susceptible to leg kicks as they have affected him in multiple fights but he mostly just pushes through and continues to pressure and wing shots. He has also shown some solid takedown defense as well but the level of competition on the regional scene could have been better as usual.

His opponent, Robbie Ring is a 6-0 undefeated propsect fighting out of Virginia. Of his six career wins, all of them have come inside the distance and five of them by knockout. Of the two, he is clearly the more well-rounded martial artist as he holds a black belt in BJJ and has some solid wrestling as well. On the feet, he is kind of a brawler like Pajuelo and I could see both fighters landing some big shots. If Ring is unable to get the takedowns then things may get dicey for him as Pajuelo just keeps on coming.

This is a very fun fight and it is sure to deliver in terms of excitement. I like this kid Ring and thing he has some potential but still needs a little work to shore things up. At this point, I favor the power and cardio of Pajuelo who should be able to keep the fight on the feet and land some power shots on Ring. Pajuelo by TKO is the official pick.

Josefine Knutsson vs Isis Verbeek

Josefine Knutsson is an undefeated prospect with a 5-0 professional record and fights out of Sweden. She comes from an experienced kickboxing background and four of her five career wins have come by decision. On the feet, she has some strong leg kicks and looks to move forward and pressure her opponents. But she is not a high-volume striker as she is very patient and waits for her openings. She is also well-rounded and looks to hold her opponents against the fence for extended periods and that is typically where she looks to mix in some takedowns as well.

Her opponent, Isis Verbeek is a 5-1 prospect fighting out of the Netherlands. She trains out of American Top Team and of her five career victories, two of them have come by finish. She comes from a high-level kickboxing background as well and is a former European kickboxing world champion. On the feet, I expect her to be throwing more volume and she is going to have a clear power advantage as well. Her only career loss came against Kathryn Paprocki who previously fought on Contender Series and is well-known on the regional scene. The worry with Verbeek is that she is purely a striker so does not have the ground game which is a concern in this fight.

I expect Verbeek to have the striking advantage in this one but I worry about her takedown defense and her ability to work back to her feet when the fight hits the ground. This should be very competitive, but I have to side with Knutsson due to the wrestling upside. Knuttson by decision is the official pick.

Kaik Brito vs Oban Elliott

Kaik Brito is a 16-4 prospect fighting out of Brazil. Of his 16 career victories, 13 of them have come by knockout. He is primarily a striker and has big power in his hands. He fights with his hands down but is very fast and if he connects clean then he is going to put your lights out. However, he can be taken down and controlled on the mat and that has been the story why he has lost all three times he went to decision. He holds a brown belt in BJJ but does not seem to be a huge submission threat in grappling exchanges.

His opponent, Oban Elliott is an 8-2 prospect fighting out of Wales. Of his eight career victories, five of them have come inside the distance. He fights out of the Cage Warriors promotion which has not had a ton of success at the UFC level recently or in Contender Series for that matter. On the feet, he is nothing special and gets sloppy in striking exchanges and could eat some shots. He is a capable wrestler though and that is his path to victory in this matchup but I do not rate his wrestling very highly. He holds a purple belt in BJJ but typically does not control people long when he does get the takedowns. Lastly, he has had cardio issues in the past as well.

I favor Brito in this matchup pretty convincingly. Brito has his issues with his takedown defense but I see him having a big advantage on the feet. I also would not be surprised to see Elliott not have a ton of success grappling and I favor the gas tank of Brito who will carry his power for three rounds. Brito by knockout is the official pick.

Zach Reese vs Eli Aronov

Zach Reese is an undefeated propsect with a 5-0 record fighting out of Texas. He has not faced much competition on the regional scene outside of Aaron Phillips who previously fought on TUF along with a decision loss to Kevin Holland as an amateur. All five of his wins have come inside the first round and his defensive grappling and cardio are big question marks but he seems to be pretty well-rounded. He fights out of the southpaw stance and has legitimate knockout power with multiple tools on the feet. But he also has some sneaky submissions as well and he looked to grapple more as an amateur but we have not seen much of it as a pro because he is finishing everyone so quickly.

His opponent, Eli Aronov is a 6-0 undefeated prospect fighting out of Israel. Of his six career wins, three of them have come by finish. He is primarily a grappler and is very physical when he initiates his takedowns. But he is going to be giving up significant size to the bigger Reese in this matchup. He likely wants to shoot takedowns early and often as he will struggle when the fight plays out at range. I have concerns with him if he is unable to get his grappling going as he will be at a significant disadvantage in the striking. But he has shown he can fight for 15 minutes so you would think it favors him if the fight gets extended.

This is a classic stylistic clash and it basically just comes down to if you think Aronov has success grappling. I do not expect the takedowns to come easy for him and the bigger Reese will have a clear striking advantage. Reese by TKO is the official pick.