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.

Vinicius de Oliveira vs Victor Madrigal

Vinicius de Oliveira is an 18-3 prospect fighting out of Brazil. Of his 18 professional victories, 14 of them have come by knockout. He is a very explosive striker with clear finishing ability. He typically starts out by trying to chop his opponents down with heavy leg kicks to open up the head with his punches. He has very fast hands and will throw some flash spinning wheel kicks and other high variance attacks. The concern with him is that he typically fights with his hands down and gets reckless with his defense when swinging in the pocket. He has been knocked out three times in his career and can be taken down by grapplers as well.

His opponent, Victor Madrigal is a 15-4 prospect fighting out of Mexico. At 33 years old, it is now or never for him to make a name for himself and be awarded a UFC contract. Of his 15 professional victories, 12 of them have come inside the distance and he has a win over current UFC fighter, Cristian Quinonez. Madrigal is a dangerous finisher in his own right with power on the feet but a capable ground game as well. Much like his opponent, Madirgal fights with his hands down and can be tagged on the feet.

I expect this to be a high variance fight with both guys able to land a big shot. But I think the speed advantage will be in favor of de Oliveira along with the technical ability on the feet. De Oliveira by TKO is the official pick.

Carli Judice vs Ernesta Kareckaite

Carli Judice is a 3-0 undefeated prospect fighting out of Louisiana. All three of her career wins have come by first-round knockout. She turned professional just last year but has rattled off three quick wins in highlight fashion. She fights out of the southpaw stance and is good striker with powerful kicks and uses her length well. She trains at the gym of current UFC fighter, Aaron Phillips and has gotten rounds in with Andrea Lee and Victoria Leonardo. She is still inexperienced though and her cardio seems suspect but her striking is very solid and she is going to give her opponents issues if they choose to stand with her.

Her opponent, Ernesta Kareckaite is a 4-0-1 prospect fighting out of Lithuania. Of her four professional victories, two of them have come by knockout. She comes from a striking background but has yet to be tested on the regional scene as her level of competition has been very low. She is very long and lanky for the division but she is going to be at a striking disadvantage in this fight. She has also been taken down and controlled on the regional scene as well. I do not see her competing well unless she makes some massive improvements.

I expect this fight to play out on the feet and I strongly favor the striking of Judice who is going to be landing more volume and will have a power advantage as well. Judice by decision is the official pick.

Danny Silva vs Angel Pacheco

Danny Silva is a 7-1 prospect fighting out of California. Of his seven career wins, five of them have come by knockout. He is primarily a boxer and is comfortable switching stances throughout his attacks. He has trained with Cub Swanson and Rafa Garcia in the past. His boxing is solid but he can be hit on the feet and struggles to get inside his range at times. He has faced a low level of competition on the regional scene but has fought his last three fights over in LFA with mixed results. Lastly, he can be taken down and good grapplers should be able to expose his one-dimensional approach.

His opponent, Angel Pacheco is a 7-1 prospect fighting out of Minnesota. Of his seven professional wins, all of them have come by finish. The only time he reached the third round in his career was when he lost a decision back in 2020. He is a former Golden Gloves boxer and trains with the New England Cartel with Rob Font and Calvin Kattar. Pacheco is mainly a striker like Silva and I would expect these two to duke it out on the feet for the majority of the time. However, Pacheco does hold a brown belt in BJJ and if either guy is going to grapple then I would expect it to be him. He is also much more likely to mix in the kicking attack which could pay dividends as well.

I expect this to be a competitive fight but I favor the well-rounded Pacheco to mix in the martial arts and get his hand raised. Pacheco by submission is the official pick.

Alexander Soldatkin vs Mario Piazzon

Alexander Soldatkin is a 14-3 prospect fighting out of Russia. Of his 14 professional victories, 10 of them have come by knockout. Despite being from Russia, he does not seem like your typical Russian Heavyweight that wants to take you down and grind on you with smothering grappling. He is primarily a striker and moves well for the division with clear power in his hands and kicks. The only concern with him is the gas tank if the fight gets extended as with most Heavyweight power punchers.

His opponent, Mario Piazzon is a 7-0 prospect fighting out of Brazil. Of his seven victories, six of them have come by knockout and all of those were inside the first round. Piazzon has only beat one fighter with a winning record at the time and there is very little tape on his regional fights. He seems to have some power and will mix in the leg kicks but it is tough to know what to expect with so many unknowns.

This is a high variance Heavyweight matchup but it seems to clearly be a setup fight to showcase Soldatkin to me. Piazzon just seems like a bumhunter regional guy whereas Soldatkin is way more explosive and powerful while he is fresh. Soldatkin by first-round knockout is the official pick.

Danny Barlow vs Raheam Forest

Danny Barlow is a 6-0 undefeated prospect fighting out of Tennessee. Of his six career wins, three of them have come by knockout and all of those were inside the first round. He comes from a very athletic background and has explosive power on the feet. He fights out of the southpaw stance and has powerful leg kicks. He typically takes a few minutes to get his reads but once he lets his hands go, he can put your lights out if he connects clean. I do not trust his defensive grappling much but not many of his previous opponents have tested it.

His opponent, Raheam Forest is a 7-1 prospect fighting out of Tennessee as well. Of his seven professional victories, four of them have come by knockout. He is formerly a Welterweight champion in Cage Fury but later relinquished the belt to UFC fighter, Charles Radtke. He is very powerful on the feet and he is like a dog with a bone when he has his opponents hurt. But what I really like about him is that he is not one-dimensional. He has landed takedowns in multiple fights and will go for submissions as well.

I expect Forest to have the power advantage on the feet and be the one more likely to land takedowns with the submission upside as well. Forest by TKO is the official pick.