Four more prospective mixed martial artists -- Aleksa Camur, Aalon Cruz, Tracy Cortez and Rodrigo Nascimento Ferreira -- punched their tickets to the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Season 3, Episode 6 of Dana White’s Contender Series on Tuesday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Strong Style Fight Team’s Camur wiped out Fabio Cherant with a flying knee and follow-up punches in the second round of their light heavyweight showcase. Cherant (4-1) succumbed to blows 48 seconds into Round 2, as he fell from the ranks of the unbeaten.
An even first round gave way to a chaotic second. Cherant had the Ohioan reeling with a left hand, gave chase and walked right into the flying knee. The impact sent him careening backward, resulted in a knockdown and set the stage for the stoppage. Camur (6-0) swarmed with punches, drove the CES MMA veteran to all fours and forced referee Chris Tognoni to intervene.
Camur, 23, has put away all six of his opponents with strikes.
A Defiant Warrior standout, Cruz knocked out Steven Nguyen with a flying knee in the third round of their entertainment featherweight tilt. Cruz (6-2) drew the curtain 4:36 into Round 3, as he posted his third win in as many appearances.
Nguyen (3-1) sat down the Floridian with a right hand in the first round, pushed the pace and strung together two- and three-punch combinations. However, he had no real answer for his opponent’s vast arsenal of kicks. Cruz flirted with a flying knee in the middle stanza and returned to the technique in the final minute of Round 3, as he connected in the center of the cage and sent an unconscious Nguyen crashing to the canvas.
Cruz has rattled off three straight victories, all of them finishes.
Operating out of the Fight Ready camp, Cortez extended her winning streak to six fights with a unanimous decision over Mariya Agapova in a three-round flyweight confrontation. Cortez (6-1) swept the scorecards with 30-26, 30-26 and 29-27 marks from the judges.
Agapova (5-1) performed well in the striking exchanges but had difficulty staying upright. Cortez landed multiple takedowns, spent long stretches of time attached to her counterpart’s back and applied her ground-and-pound in bursts, all while hunting rear-naked chokes. Agapova refused to concede, forcing the 26-year-old Henry Cejudo stablemate to go the distance.
American Top Team’s Ferreira submitted Michal Martinek with an arm-triangle choke in the first round of their heavyweight pairing. In his first appearance in nearly two years, Ferreira (7-0) prompted the tapout 3:16 in to Round 1.
Martinek (7-1) ate a knee to the face from the Brazilian, pursued the clinch and moved on an ill-advised takedown attempt. Ferreira pancaked the former hockey player, landed in top position and slid to side control. From there, he softened Martinek with punches and elbows, cinched the choke and closed out the overmatched Czech.
Ferreira, 26, has submitted all seven of his opponents, six of them inside one round.
Finally, effective standup and tactical takedowns carried Combate Americas veteran Daniel Rodriguez to a unanimous decision over MMA Masters export Rico Farrington in a three-round welterweight affair. All three cageside judges scored it for Rodriguez (9-1): 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Farrington (7-3) failed to exploit his three-inch height and five-inch reach advantages. Rodriguez leaned on penetrating jabs, persistent leg kicks and the occasional overhand left while securing takedowns at the end of all three rounds. The Joe Schilling protégé nearly finished it in the waning seconds of the fight, as he executed a takedown, advanced to full mount and unleashed punches until the horn sounded.
Rodriguez has won five fights in a row.