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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.

Rainn Guerrero vs Dione Silva Barbosa de Lima

Rainn Guerrero is a 5-1 prospect fighting out of Texas. Of her five professional victories, two of them have come by finish. She is 31 years old and just turned professional in 2019. Her last fight was over in Fury FC last November when she won by decision. She is nothing special in terms of her skillset. She is basically a wrestle boxer prototype and wants to close distance and grind you up against the cage before peeling you to the ground. She does not seem overly aggressive hunting submissions or landing damage. Overall, I think she needs a bit of work to compete at the UFC level.

Her opponent, Dione Silva Barbosa de Lima is a 5-2 prospect fighting out of Brazil. Of her five professional victories, two of them have come by submission. She previously fought over in LFA and has clearly faced the better competition than her opponent has. She also has a TKO loss to current UFC fighter, Josiane Nunes and a decision win over Karine Silva. Barbosa is primarily a grappler and comes from an Olympic level Judo background and holds a black belt in BJJ. But she is not a one-trick pony and is a very capable striker that can fight behind her jab and mix in the leg kicks well.

I expect Barbosa de Lima to have virtually every advantage in this matchup. She should have success with her jab and the leg kicks while the fight is on the feet. She is also going to be the much better submission grappler and if Guerrero tries to clinch up and get this fight to the ground then she will be in trouble. Barbosa de Lima by submission is the official pick.

Kevin Vallejos vs Jean Silva

Kevin Vallejos is an 11-0 prospect fighting out of Argentina. Of his 11 victories, eight of them have come by knockout and he has six wins inside the first round. He is just 21 years old but seems to have a solid skillset as he is very powerful on the feet and has some really sharp leg kicks that he uses against every opponent. He does not get extended in many fights but his cardio seems to check out as he keeps a strong pace and carries his power and output for multiple rounds. Lastly, he has shown he can land takedowns if he needs to but he is usually content to stay on the feet where he is most comfortable. But if he does get into a dominant position then he is going to let some nasty ground and pound go.

His opponent, Jean Silva is a 10-2 prospect fighting out of Brazil. Of his 10 victories, eight of them have come by knockout and six of them were inside the first round. He is primarily a striker and can fight from both stances and clearly has early knockout power. He is a bit reckless and fights with his hands down at times but is very explosive while he has the cardio. But the few times where his fights were extended he slowed down and that could be an area that exposes him in this matchup.

Both fighters are explosive and powerful but Silva has to land something big early in order to win this fight. But Vallejos seems to be pretty durable and the key difference is that he can carry his power for multiple rounds. I expect the cardio dynamic to really favor him and he gets the finish down the stretch. Vallejos by TKO is the official pick.

Chad Hanekom vs Dylan Budka

Chad Hanekom is a 9-2 prospect fighting out of South Africa. Of his nine professional victories, seven of them have come inside the distance. He is primarily a grappler as he looks to use his wrestling in most of his fights. He is capable of landing takedowns and has good control on the mat and holds a brown belt in BJJ. On the feet, he seems to have some knockout power but I do not like his striking very much. He is very stiff and just does not seem comfortable on the feet in some of these fights. He has faced some solid competition on the regional scene, including current UFC fighter, Ikram Aliskerov who previously fought on Contender Series.

His opponent, Dylan Budka is a 5-2 prospect fighting out of Ohio. Of his five professional victories, two of them have come by finish and he has previously fought over in LFA for his last three fights. He comes from a collegiate wrestling background as he wrestled division II for Notre Dame. He has relied on that wrestling in most of his fights and he is physically strong enough to force his opponents to the mat. On the feet, he is going to be the more active striker mixing in the leg kicks and working the body well. But he can also be taken down despite the wrestling pedigree and he is very inexperienced as he turned professional just last year.

This should be a competitive fight as I see holes in both fighters. But I slightly lean towards the Hanekom side as he is going to be the bigger fighter and should be more difficult to take down. He has also clearly faced the better of competition and seems to be the better submission grappler as well. Hanekom by decision is the official pick.

Serhiy Sidey vs Ramon Taveras

Serhiy Sidey is a 9-1 prospect fighting out of Canada. He is the former Bantamweight champion in BFL promotion. Of his nine professional victories, six of them have come by knockout. He is the striking coach at his local gym and primarily a striker and seems to have a solid skillset. He is capable of landing takedowns but he is not aggressively looking to get the fight to the ground. His only professional loss came against Mateus Vogel who we saw fight last week but outside of that he has yet to really be tested at this level.

His opponent, Ramon Taveras is a 8-1 prospect fighting out of Florida. Of his eight victories, four of them have come by knockout. He fights out of the southpaw stance and clearly wants to keep the fight at range where he can manage distance and look to land his powerful counter shots. He is a clean striker and has some devastating body kicks as well and he regularly works the body in his combinations. He can be susceptible to leg kicks at times and can probably be taken advantage of by strong grapplers. His level of competition could be better as well but he does have a win over former UFC fighter, Martin Day.

I expect this fight to be competitive early on and think it plays out on the feet for the majority. Sidey is fundamentally sound and may have some success with the leg kicks but I expect Taveras to have the power advantage. Tavares is likely going to make Sidey pay for the leg kicks and can catch him with some counter shots that can hurt him as well. Taveras by TKO is the official pick.

Bruno Lopes vs Brendson Ribeiro

Bruno Lopes is an undefeated prospect with an 11-0 record fighting out of Brazil. He is the former Light Heavyweight champion in Jungle Fight and Thunder Fight promotions and recently just won the Light Heavyweight title in LFA as well. Of his 11 professional victories, nine of them have come by finish and he has only reached the third round twice in his career. He is a very well-rounded prospect with legitimate knockout power on the feet. But he is also capable of taking things to the mat where he has good control and submissions as well and holds a brown belt in BJJ. He also a knockout victory over current UFC fighter, Gregory Rodrigues early on the regional scene.

His opponent, Brendson Ribeiro is a 14-5 prospect fighting out of Brazil as well. Of his 14 professional wins, all of them have come by finish. Similar to Lopes, he is not used to seeing the third round as he has only done so twice in his career. He is the former Shooto Brazil Light Heavyweight champion and clearly has some finishing ability. But on the feet, he is pretty sloppy overall and seems slow than Lopes on tape. He has also relied on his grappling at times and holds a purple belt in BJJ. But I would be surprised if he has the grappling advantage in this matchup and on the feet, I think he will be outclassed.

I expect Lopes to have multiple advantages in this fight. Both guys are clearly powerful and decent grapplers but Lopes just seems to be a step above in all areas. He is going to have a clear technical edge on the feet to go along with speed and power as well. Lopes by TKO is the official pick.