It took longer than normal to arrive, but Tuesday night finally saw the opening night of the fourth season of Dana White’s Contender Series—this after a six-week delay of the original June 23 opening night due to concerns with the coronavirus (COVID-19.)
Fights called off:
Fights were affected two different ways in the run-up to this card—both involving the same competitor.
Kenny Cross (10-3) was initially booked to fight Kevin Syler (10-0) in the card’s original main event.
A few days prior to the show, however, this was postponed after Syler’s coronavirus test returned positive.
Cross was then booked to fight Damonte Robinson (6-1-1), but that fight, too, was scrapped by order of the Nevada State Athletic Commission after it would not clear Cross to fight (eye.)
So, the opening night of Contender Series Season 4 proceeded with just four fights:
Of the four fights contested on Tuesday night, two ended in stoppages, resulting in a stoppage rate of 50 percent.
Three fighters, including both fighters who won by stoppage, scored contracts Tuesday, which brings us to:
The Fights Themselves: (contract winners in italics)
Jose Flores vs. Jordan Leavitt:
Season four commenced with this Lightweight tussle.
Leavitt (7-0) made short work of Flores (9-2) in this one thanks to an arm triangle choke, leading up to it with dominant ground control (he had over two minutes of ground control before the submission.)
Flores tapped out with 45 seconds remaining in the first round.
Leavitt took this fight on short notice and capitalized on Tuesday night—and took home a contract at night’s end.
Luis Rodriguez vs. Jerome Rivera:
Fight number two of opening night took place at 125 lbs.
Rivera (10-2) was a game competitor throughout, dominating Rodriguez (11-2) with a slew of kicks.
In the end, Rivera proved to be too much for Rodriguez, winning by unanimous decision on the scorecards (29-28, 30-27, 30-27.)
No contracts were awarded here.
Co-Main Event: Uros Medic vs. Mikey Gonzalez:
Tuesday’s co-headliner was the other Lightweight contest on the card.
Uros Medic (6-0) had a short night of work as he landed a flurry of kicks to knock Mikey Gonzalez (7-2) down, setting up some ground and pound strikes—which Gonzalez failed to answer.
Referee Chris Tognoni called the match at two minutes, 12 seconds into round one in favor of Medic (TKO- unanswered strikes)—and Medic scored a contract.
Main Event: Ty Flores vs. Dustin Jacoby:
Opening night’s headliner was a Light Heavyweight attraction.
The first two rounds were dominated by Jacoby (12-5), who could have scored a finish in round two if not for Flores (7-3) getting back up to his feet.
As it would turn out, referee Herb Dean would not need to wave the fight off.
Flores fought back in round three, largely due to Jacoby tiring late—but in the end, Jacoby landed 131 total strikes over the course of 15 minutes and scored the win (30-26, 29-27, 29-27) on the scorecards by unanimous decision.
Jacoby, a GLORY Kickboxing stalwart with two UFC appearances from an earlier stint under his belt, won a UFC contract at the end of the show.