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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.

Igor Da Silva vs Jhonata Silva

Igor Da Silva is a 7-0 undefeated prospect fighting out of Brazil. Of his seven victories, all of them have come by finish with four submissions and three knockout wins. He is just 20 years old and the former Jungle Fight Flyweight champion. He is a powerful striker with some heavy leg kicks and he rips the body well in combinations. He is also capable of mixing in the grappling as he has landed takedowns in most of his fights on the regional scene and holds a purple belt in BJJ. The concern with Da Silva is that he is still very young and needs more experience against quality competition and he has been hurt to the body in previous fights.

His opponent, Jhonata Silva is an 8-1 prospect also fighting out of Brazil. Of his eight victories, five of them have come by knockout. He previously fought in Shooto Brazil on the regional scene and made his Cage Warriors debut in March and won by third-round knockout. He is primarily a striker and does have some powerful kicks but does not typically push a high-volume pace. He can also be taken down and controlled by decent grapplers which is a concern. He is constantly looking for that flying knee which he has hurt multiple opponents with.

I expect Da Silva to be the more active striker and the one owning the center of the octagon. Da Silva is more active and still improving a lot from fight to fight. If either guy is going to spend time in top position then I think it is Da Silva who should be the better grappler as well. Da Silva by submission is the official pick.

Dylan Mantello vs Kaynan Kruschewsky

Dylan Mantello is a 7-2 prospect fighting out of New York. Of his seven professional victories, six of them have come by finish. He trains out of Longo and Weidman MMA in New York and previously fought in Cage Fury. He seems to have a pretty generic skillset. He is lanky for the Lightweight division but he does not manage distance well and is a bit of a punching bag on the feet. He is capable of landing takedowns but he gives them up just as easily which is a concern.

His opponent, Kaynan Kruschewsky is a 14-2 prospect fighting out of Brazil. He is the former Lightweight champion in Jungle Fight and eight of his 14 career victories have come by submission. He seems to be a well-rounded fighter as he has explosive striking and legitimate knockout power. But he is also capable of getting the fight to the mat with good trip takedowns and solid submission grappling as well.

I expect Kruschewsky to have multiple advantage in this fight. He is the more explosive striker and going to be landing the bigger shots on the feet. But he is also the better submission grappler and I expect him to find the finish. Kruschewsky by submission is the official pick.

Stephanie Bruna vs Talita Alencar

Stephanie Bruna is a 5-1 prospect fighting out of Brazil. Of her five victories, two of them have come by knockout. She is just 23 years old and is the former Strawweight champion in Jungle Fight promotion. To be honest, I was not impressed with Bruna when running the tape as her striking seems subpar to me. She is sloppy defensively and just seems a step behind at times in terms of quickness. She is capable of holding opponents up against the fence and peeling them to the ground but I do not rate her grappling very highly.

Her opponent, Talita Alencar is a 4-0 undefeated prospect fighting out of Brazil. Of her four career victories, three of them have come by submission and she previously won her LFA debut by way of decision. Alencar comes from a high level grappling background as she holds a black belt in BJJ and is a six-time IBJJF world champion. It is clear that she wants to get the fight to the ground where she is in her world and she should have a clear advantage there in this matchup.

Alencar still needs more MMA experience but a fighter like Bruna does not have the skillset to challenge her on the feet or the mat. Alencar by submission is the official pick.

Jacobi Jones vs Dan Allen

Jacobi Jones is a 6-1 prospect fighting out of Colorado. Of his six career wins, four of them have come by finish. He trains at altitude at Factory X and has fought his entire career in LFA and is the Lightweight champion in that promotion. He seems to be a well-rounded prospect as he is very athletic and explosive on the feet with clear knockout ability. But he also has good takedown defense and when he is in top position, he has nasty ground and pound as well.

His opponent, Dan Allen is a 4-0 prospect fighting out of California. Of his four professional victories, two of them have come by knockout. He trains out of American Kickboxing Academy but has yet to face anyone with a winning record on the regional scene so he has not really been tested yet. He comes from a high level collegiate wrestling background as he was a 2X JUCO All-American with a 49-5 collegiate record. That is clearly what he is looking to do in all of his fights. He has good timing on his entries and once he gets his opponents down, he has good control in top position.

I am expecting Jones to be a sizable favorite due to the LFA tax and Allen being unproven. But Allen is certainly a live underdog especially if he can have success in the wrestling department. My worry is that if Allen cannot have success wrestling then he is going to be dealing with the powerful shots on the feet from Jones who has the cardio to push him for 15 minutes if needed. Jones by TKO is the official pick.

Shamil Gaziev vs Greg Velasco

Shamil Gaziev is a 10-0 undefeated prospect fighting out of Bahrain. Of his 10 career victories, nine of them have come by finish and he has only reached the third round once in his career. He is a very explosive fighter and has your typical Heavyweight knockout power on the feet. But he also has the traditional Dagestan grappling chops and usually uses his explosive takedowns to get in dominant positions on his opponents. The only real concern with Gaziev is that he does get sloppy on the feet and can be tagged but so far he is proven to be durable.

His opponent, Greg Velasco is a 6-0 undefeated prospect fighting out of New Jersey. Of his six career wins, five of them have come by finish and he is the former CFFC Heavyweight champion. He fights out of the southpaw stance and is active with the leg kicks but can get countered heavily. He has also relied on his wrestling and cardio to break his opponents in the past but I feel he will be outmatched in the grappling realm pretty heavily.

I expect Gaziev to get the takedowns early and often and find a finish on the mat. Gaziev by TKO is the official pick.