Julian Marquez, Brandon Davis Earn UFC Contracts on Dana White’s Contender Series

By Brian Knapp Aug 1, 2017



Julian Marquez put foot to face for one of the year’s most brutal knockouts.

The Syndicate MMA middleweight cut down Phil Hawes with a savage second-round head kick in the fourth installment of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series at the UFC Training Center in Las Vegas. An unconscious Hawes (4-2) hit the deck 2:20 into Round 2 and remained there for several tense moments.

Marquez (6-1) surrendered a pair of takedowns in the first round but avoided any significant danger, even as his opponent twice advanced to his back. Early in the second round, he clipped Hawes with a volley of power punches, pancaked into top position and dropped elbows in half guard. Once the Jackson-Wink MMA rep escaped to his feet, Marquez greeted him with clubbing rights and lefts. Hawes pulled guard in a last act of desperation. As he attempted to return to an upright position, Marquez drilled him with the fight-ending head kick.

Afterward, Marquez was awarded an Ultimate Fighting Championship contract.

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In the bantamweight co-feature, undefeated MMA Lab prospect Kyler Phillips disposed of James Gray Jr. with elbows and punches in the first round. Phillips (5-0) brought it to a close 46 seconds into Round 1.

Gray (4-2) saw his situation rapidly deteriorate after shooting on an ill-advised takedown. Phillips braced himself against the fence, unleashed a series of hellacious elbows to the side of the head and showed no mercy. Gray retreated to his back, where more he absorbed more punches and hammerfists until referee Chris Tognoni had seen enough.

Phillips, 22, has finished four of his first five fights inside one round.

Meanwhile, hyper-aggression and crisp combination striking carried Brandon Davis to a unanimous decision over Sikjitsu representative Austin Arnett in a three-round featherweight showcase. A fast-rising Alan Belcher protégé, Davis (8-2) has rattled off seven consecutive victories.

It was gory. Arnett (15-3) could not match his counterpart’s output. Davis threw and landed everything from spinning backfists and spinning back elbows to inside and outside leg kicks. In the second round, he shook free from a standing guillotine, settled in top position and opened a deep cut on Arnett’s forehead with a short elbow strike. Blood poured from the wound, covering the King of the Cage vet’s face, Davis’ body and much of the canvas. Needing a finish in Round 3, Arnett again ran into the superior volume of his opponent and had no answers down the stretch.

The loss snapped Arnett’s 13-fight winning streak. Davis joined Marquez as the other fighter earning a UFC contract.

In other action, Carlos Candelario (7-0) kept his perfect professional record intact with a unanimous decision over Nova Uniao jiu-jitsu ace Ronaldo Candido de Oliveira (6-1) in a three-round flyweight clash; and Combate Americas veteran John Castaneda (14-2) took a unanimous decision from Cheyden Leialoha (6-1) in a three-round bantamweight battle.

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