Contender Collection has labored out nice for the UFC by way of delivering thrilling performances, filling programming blocks with broadcast associate ESPN, and snatching up some wonderful prospects to spherical out divisions.
Las week, middleweight standout Joe Pyfer turned the primary (and solely) fighter to get a DWCS contract in 2022 thus far, when he defeated Ozzy Diaz with a second spherical TKO. Hopefully, we’ll have one other banger of a primary struggle this week.
LIGHTWEIGHTS: CHARLIE CAMPBELL vs. CHRIS DUNCAN
Ray Longo protege Charlie Campbell (6-1) has a powerful resume with an amazing novice run that noticed him go undefeated—and has solely seen a call twice in his six wins. To high all of it off, his expertise has all been on the brutal NY/NJ scene, lengthy recognized for being a regional shark tank. Campbell’s received a relentless leg kick sport and nice high management, and all of his finishes have been on account of strikes. That’s largely on account of his robust positional management and the way nicely he manages to restrict the choices for his opponent to flee. He fights sensible and solely will get harder to cope with the longer he stays on high.
He’s received a shot on the large time right here, but it surely gained’t come simple. He’s up towards returning competitor Chris Duncan (8-1), who fought on Contender Collection final yr and suffered and unlucky loss by the hands of Group Alpha Male’s Viacheslav Borshchev. It is smart that he’d be introduced again, he had a pretty exciting performance in that first DWCS bout. Previous to his UFC audition, Duncan had racked up a hell of a run in Bellator, preventing for them on their European exhibits. He’s received jab, nice knees inside, and actually good ending instincts. His wrestling and takedown sport isn’t the place it might be, although. He appears to have a behavior of muscling his takedowns and principally beginning them as a response to the offense of his opponent. He can nonetheless put the stress on and transfer ahead with important offense.
FYLWEIGHT: VINICIUS SALVADOR vs. SHANNON ROSS
Vinicius Salvador (13-4) is a little bit little bit of a curious addition, preventing for Brazil’s Max Struggle, Shooto Brazil, and even Jungle Struggle. His finishes are spectacular, however his document does seem a bit spotty. He’s a finisher above all else, however three of his losses have been to fighters with a document similar to his, whereas his wins are all over. His final struggle—a struggle that he walked into with a 12-4 document—was towards a fighter making his skilled debut.
How’d that go? I imply, form of the best way things like this should go although it shouldn’t actually have been booked. In a division as filled with expertise and with such a excessive bar to only keep afloat in similar to flyweight, he’s going to wrestle massively with a win. And to not disparage him, however he doesn’t appear like he’s received a lot of a shot to win this one, both.
Why? As a result of he’s up towards Queensland’s Shannon Ross (13-5). Ross has been fairly inactive since his 2020 victory over World Collection of Combating vet Donavon Frelow, but it surely’s not his fault. He’s had 4 struggle cancellations between then and now. He’s received plenty of good instruments and does plenty of issues proper, as you may see for your self in his ACB debut towards England’s Steve Nightingale (an outstanding supervillain alter ego, by the best way).
Ross has improved from earlier in his profession and would probably prefer to keep it standing. Salvador may be capable to get issues to the bottom sooner or later, however Ross isn’t helpless there and may really beat him to the punch on that. Both manner, anticipate motion.
FEATHERWEIGHT: FRANCIS MARSHALL vs. CONNOR MATTHEWS
This subsequent one is hard to make heads or tails of. Undefeated featherweights Francis Marshall (5-0) and Connor Matthews (5-0) are set to collide.
Coaching out of Kurt Pellegrino’s fitness center, Marshall has some nice instruments for fulfillment. He didn’t appear to start out there, as all of his earlier fights had been within the Southeast/Gulf area. His physique of labor isn’t dangerous, however he’s fought principally individuals as inexperienced as himself excluding Texas staple Rey Trujillo, who was 24-30 once they fought. That’s to not say he can’t do nicely over time, simply that it’s very, very tough to get a learn on what his ceiling could also be and the way his expertise has served him main into a chance similar to this one. I’d personally favor him on this one pretty simply.
However it’s Matthews that actually worries me. His professional document consists of fighters that had been 0-7, 1-8, 2-1 when he fought them solely to face the then 15-97 Jay Ellis, who humorous sufficient simply retains popping up in these previews like some form of ceremony of passage to get on the present. After that was Matthews’ final struggle, towards an opponent that’s 1-2.
Fighters don’t get to select and select who they struggle all that always. Even with that caveat, this type of can crushing isn’t an amazing look. Particularly when a man’s preventing out of the Northeastern/New England space, the place there’s plenty of powerful opposition and much better skilled fighters to check towards. Matthews can win this, however with out trying on the odds I can confidently inform you to not guess on this for any motive by any means.
HEAVYWEIGHT: WALDO CORTES-ACOSTA vs. DANILO SUZART
Heavyweights are additionally on the menu. Brazil’s Danilo Suzart (9-1) faces Waldo Cortes-Acosta (6-0). Cortes-Acosta has cut up his time between MMA and boxing and hits actually onerous. Just lately he appears to have rounded out his skillset to grow to be LFA heavyweight champ. With plenty of stress and a great instinct to finish fights, he generally is a drawback for lots of low-to-mid stage heavyweights.
He meets Suzart, who just lately captured the ARES heavyweight title. Suzart can also be principally a striker and never the perfect conditioned fella potential. Chunky heavyweights typically face this drawback, and it’s exacerbated right here by him being considerably slower than Waldo in addition to having a top drawback. Cortes-Acosta has confronted higher competitors as of late together with his LFA run, however just a few haymakers could lower his night time brief.
WELTERWEIGHT: SHIMON SMOTRITSKY vs. BILLY GOFF
Shimon Smotritsky (8-1) additionally makes his return to Contender Collection after not reaching the success he’d hoped for final yr. He misplaced to Mike Malott, presently within the UFC now and nonetheless has plenty of nice issues going for him as a prospect.
I nonetheless have reservations. Right here’s what I said about him last year:
Israel’s Shimon Smotritsky (7-0) is a bit powerful to get a learn on. Whereas undefeated, he’s probably not confronted any notable opposition. That’s superb, particularly given the area he competes in and comparatively early stage in his profession. To this point, Shimon’s opponents have principally been (and I merely should use this time period) can crushers. And people are those with successful data. Once more, not gonna make a lot hay out of it, however how prepared he’s for one thing harder stays to be seen.
Armed with a handy guide a rough jab, nice karate kicks, and scrambly BJJ and fast backtakes, he could cause plenty of complications, particularly towards opponents that aren’t all that athletic. His cardio generally is a drawback deeper into fights, however he’s received plenty of grit and a chin that’s been dependable up till now.
Seeing how that went, I not solely stand by what I stated again then, I’m doubling down.
His opponent is Billy Goff, who’s a little bit of a cool matchup. His finish of Robson Gracie Jr. was bonkers, and his stress each in wrestling and hanging is an issue. He can use his vary successfully and actually pour it on over time. Can Smotritsky climate that form of storm and get his sport going? Frankly, I’m uncertain. No disrespect to Shimon, however he actually may not be prepared for this stage of competitors.
You possibly can try the weigh-in highlights courtesy of the crew over at MMAJunkie:
Full card is as follows:
Charlie Campbell (155) vs. Chris Duncan (155.5)
Shannon Ross (126) vs. Vinicius Salvador (126)
Francis Marshall (145) vs. Connor Matthews (145.5)
Waldo Cortes-Acosta (259) vs. Danilo Suzart (255)
Billy Goff (170.5) vs. Shimon Smotritsky (170.5)
Dana White’s Contender Collection is again to its authentic airtime of Tuesday nights, beginning at 8:00pm EST. The occasion will be streaming live exclusively on ESPN+.