Dana White’s Contender Series 2021 Week 2 Play-by-Play & Results

By Lev Pisarsky Sep 7, 2021
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Muin Gafurov (136) vs. Chad Anheliger (135.5)

Round 1

Kicking off the card, Tajikistan's Muin Gafurov (16-3), a long-time veteran of ONE at only 25 years old, is a prohibitive favorite against Canada's Chad Anheliger (10-5), all five of whose losses have come by submission. Referee Mike Beltran gets the assignment. Gafurov lands a thunderous leg kick to start, spinning Anheliger around. Anheliger lands one of his own, although it isn't as powerful. Gafurov shoots in on a very deep low double-leg and converts it. Anheliger does, however, manage to scoot to the fence. Gafurov is wise to it, however, and tries to turn him around. Anheliger builds up his base against the cage, but Gafurov has a nice rear waist-lock, looking to take him back down. Gafurov lands a knee to the thigh. Gafurov eventually scores on a mat return and gets one hook in. He partially flattens out Anheliger, who scrambles, but Gafurov has his back. Anheliger tries to scramble and almost gets armbarred, but Gafurov ends up in full mount. Anheliger keeps turning, and now his back is taken again. However, Anheliger is undeterred, and he eventually gets out! Gafurov holds onto a guillotine, but is now on his own back, with the Canadian in side control! Nice sub defense by Anheliger! he decides to rise to his feet, where they resume striking. Anheliger lands a big short knee, which hurts Gafurov! Gafurov absorbs a bunch of punches from top position from Anheliger, who is just eating them before finally tying up his opponent. Anheliger, however, lands several hard elbows inside the guard. Anheliger postures up, and eventually Gafurov uses it to get back up. Gafurov lands a knee to the body of his own. They clinch along the fence. This round has been fought at a furious pace! As the round comes to a close, they trade knees to the body.

Sherdog Scores

Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Anheliger
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Anheliger
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Anheliger

Round 2

Anheliger begins the second round with a jab. He then lands a second and then a third one, as Gafurov is purely looking to dodge. Anheliger lands a light leg kick. Gafurov shoots in on another deep double-leg, and he gets it, although Anheliger is looking for a guillotine. He doesn't have it, and soon gives up on the submission attempt. Gafurov lands a solid punch from the top, but not long after, Anheliger scrambles again, and uses the ensuing confusion to try to wall-walk back up. Gafurov continues holding on, but Anheliger gets to his feet. Gafurov continues pressing, however, and trips him back down to the canvas. Gafurov has the back now, as Anheliger continues trying to spin to get out. Eventually, he manages to turn into the man from Tajikistan and he is again on top! Gafurov soon gets up, but Anheliger nails him with an elbow. Gafurov comes back with a couple of solid punches of his own, and as they fire toe-to-toe, they throw knees at the same time, and Gafurov's is very low. Referee Mike Beltran calls time. They reconvene, and Anheliger circles on the perimeter of the cage. Gafurov soon clinches, grinding for a takedown, and gets a nice pick-up and slam! Gafurov is in half-guard, but is a little more reticent about passing now, given how well his opponent has scrambled. Gafurov lands a few small forearms, but nothing significant. Anheliger tries to get up, but Gafurov pushes him back down, and lands a punch. Gafurov is looking for a possible kimura attempt, but Anheliger is defending well enough. He looks for the kimura as the round ends, and lands a few punches as time expires.

Sherdog Scores

Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Gafurov
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Gafurov
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Gafurov

Round 3

They touch gloves to begin the final stanza. Anheliger lands a solid body kick that partially gets through. Gafurov partially lands an overhand right and immediately uses it to clinch. He is working against the cage again, as Anheliger defends for dear life. Anheliger widens his base well, and Gafurov has to work for his takedown. An initial attempt at a lift is blocked by the Canadian fighter, as Gafurov continues to press, regardless. Eventually he bails and lands a right hook on his way out. Anheliger comes forward and Gafurov shoots again, only to be stuffed. They trade jabs. Anheliger lands a light leg kick, mostly checked. This is anyone's round, and likely, anyone's fight! Anheliger lands a jab, and then another light leg kick. They clinch and Anheliger partially lands a few knees, as Gafurov comes forward again to clinch. Anheliger breaks free and throws punches, although Gafurov evades them. Anheliger lands another jab. Gafurov punches his way on the inside again, clinching hard. He tries for another lift, but he is again unsuccessful. He tries for an outside reap, but Anheliger stays upright. They disengage, and Anheliger lands a nice right cross soon after, the best connect of the round. Gafurov goes for an outside trip, but he is out of position against the cage, and Anheliger ends up on top! Gafurov turns around, giving Anheliger a wrestling ride, but he doesn't take advantage, and both men stand with a minute left. Gafurov partially lands a right hand and clinches again. Now it's Anheliger turning him around! Anheliger lands a knee to the body, and then Gafurov misses an uppercut as he backs out to range. With 15 seconds left, both men are very tired. However, it's Anheliger landing a nice combination as the fight ends! A gutsy performance by the huge underdog Anheliger, who I believe has won this contest.

Sherdog Scores

Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Anheliger (29-28 Anheliger)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Anheliger (29-28 Anheliger)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Anheliger (29-28 Anheliger)

The Official Result

Chad Anheliger def. Muin Gafurov via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Bruno Mesquita (125.5) vs. Carlos Vergara (126)

Round 1

Next up we have a rare flyweight bout, as Bruno "Korea" Mesquita (12-3) battles Carlos Vergara (8-2). The action is sure to be fast and furious, and keeping them honest will be referee Herb Dean. Vergara presses forward with punches, and lands a solid punch. Mesquita goes for a big jumping knee and almost lands it. They land left hands simultaneously, but it's Vergara who drops Mesquita. They clinch and spin around, as Mesquita tries to find his bearings, when Vergara smashes him with a huge knee to the liver. Mesquita crumples over in pain and the fight is over! A tremendous, quick knockout triumph for the considerable underdog. He is practically assured of getting a contract now.

The Official Result

Carlos Vergara def. Bruno Mesquita via TKO (Knee to the Body) at 0:41 of Round 1

Saimon Oliveira (136) vs. Jose Alday (136)

Round 1

In our second bantamweight affair, the oddsmakers have Brazil's Salmon Oliveira (17-3) as a small favorite against Mexico's Jose Alday (13-5-1). Oliveira has an amazing 16 finishes in 17 victories, but hasn't fought the same caliber of opposition as Alday. Referee Mike Beltran will preside. Oliveira lands a leg kick to start, but misses a second one. He tries for a head-kick, but Alday evades. Oliveira partially lands a spinning backfist. He goes forward for another head kick, but slips. Alday is looking to counter with hooks, but thus far, the few he has thrown have missed. Oliveira goes for another head kick, but it's blocked. Alday counters with a nice right hand soon after, as Oliveira keeps coming forward. Oliveira throws a jab and then another spinning backfist, but he catches nothing but air. On an exchange, however, Oliveira catches Alday with a right. Oliveira lands a leg kick soon after. Alday then goes for a head kick of his own, and it partially gets through. Oliveira goes for another spinning backfist, but it's again unsuccessful, and he eats a punch soon after. Oliveira telegraphs a takedown attempt, and in a clinch, picks Alday up and gets him down. Commentator Daniel Cormier was very unimpressed at that entry. From his back, Alday lands a few elbows, as Oliveira is doing very little from the top. Oliveira manages to get to half-guard, as Alday starts to posture up with about 75 seconds left. Oliveira switches sides and gets to side-control. Oliveira is possibly setting up an arm triangle, but isn't throwing strikes. The round ends with Oliveira on top.

Sherdog Scores

Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Oliveira
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Oliveira
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Oliveira

Round 2

Oliveira begins the round with kicks, first to the legs and then the head, though both are blocked. Oliveira misses another spinning backfist, but then lands on a leg kick. Alday throws a couple of jabs, but Oliveira dodges them. Alday lands a nice hook to the body though, possibly his best connect of the fight. Alday lands a couple of leg kicks. Oliveira then comes forward to grapple. Alday defends better now, and is the one pushing the Brazilian against the fence. They trade knees in the clinch, and eventually, Oliveira turns Alday around. Alday soon returns the favor, turning Oliveira back around. They trade more knees, and finally push off one another. Alday partially gets a jab through and then another hook to the body. Oliveira comes forward with a jumping knee but he misses. Oliveira lands a leg kick, but then eats a punch. Alday throws a jab and then partially gets a left hook through. Alday lands a very big leg kick that hurts Oliveira badly, stumbling him. Oliveira continues attacking like a maniac, first with a jumping knee and then a barrage of punches, all of which miss. Oliveira then clinches. Alday looks more energetic in the position, landing a couple of knees. Alday then connects with a jab. Oliveira goes for a big, telegraphed overhand right which misses by about a foot. Alday lands another huge leg kick that stumbles Oliveira. Oliveira comes forward and they exchange punches, but none land flush. Oliveira lands a leg kick of his own. Alday lands a left hook to the body but misses a right cross upstairs. Alday lands another jab. Oliveira fires a couple of punches, but Alday easily dodges them. Oliveira clinches and lands a knee, but is unable to get a takedown as the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Alday
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Alday
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Alday

Round 3

Oliveira goes for a flying switch-kick to begin the final stanza and he actually connects, but there isn't much power in the blow. Oliveira lands a solid leg kick soon after. On a punch exchange, Oliveira clips Alday, but instead of continuing to strike, takes the opportunity to clinch, pick Alday up and get him down. Oliveira is in half-guard trying to pass, but Alday retains full guard. Oliveira lands a few small punches to the body, as referee Mike Beltran extorts them to work. Oliveira finally opens up, landing two solid punches against Alday. Alday, however, uses the opportunity to wall-walk back up as they clinch against the fence. Oliveira lands a few knees. Alday is the one going for an outside trip, but it doesn't work and they separate again. They fire off punches, but nothing singificant lands. Both men then trade jabs, but Oliveira gets the better of it. Oliveira shoots in for another double-leg and succeeds in getting Alday back to the canvas, this time near the center of the cage. Alday goes for a possible omoplatta, but Oliveira defends it easily. With a minute left, Oliveira is content to largely ride this one out from the top. He lands a few glancing punches, and after trying to pass, interestingly decides to stand back up with 30 seconds left, proving me wrong! Alday fires a few head kicks, but they're all blocked. Oliveira hurts him with a punch and comes forward, but is unable to land a knockout blow. Alday fires some punches of his own as the fight ends, but they're solidly blocked.

Sherdog Scores

Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Oliveira (29-28 Oliveira)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Oliveira (29-28 Oliveira)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Oliveira (29-28 Oliveira)

The Official Result

Saimon Oliveira def. Jose Alday via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Mario Filipe de Sousa (186) vs. Chidi Njokuani (185.5)

Round 1

Coming up, we have perhaps the most talent-laden fight of the card and possibly the entire season, as outstanding striker and long-time Bellator mainstay Chidi Njokuani (19-7) is even money against tremendous Brazilian talent Mario Filipe de Sousa (12-1), who is an amazing 6' 5" at middleweight and 11 of whose victories have come by stoppage. Sousa's lone decision win was in last year's DWTNCS against previously undefeated Mariusz Ksiazkiewicz. Despite it being an excellent fight, one of the best of the season, Sousa wasn't offered a contract, probably because Dana White interprets a decision win as not being enough of a "killer". Referee Herb Dean will be the third man in the cage. Sousa begins with a nice front kick that lands. Njokuani responds with a lightning-fast leg kick, although Sousa partially checks it. Sousa goes upstairs for a vivious head kick but it misses. A very powerful leg kick, however, lands for the Brazilian. So far, they have thrown only kicks so far! Sousa misses a few kicks, and then blocks a Njokuani leg kick. Sousa lands another big leg kick, although Njokuani doesn't appear hurt. Njokuani sticks Sousa with a front push-kick as the Brazilian advances. Sousa goes for a head kick and spinning backfist, both of which miss. Njokuani partially lands a leg kick. They exchange leg kicks, but it's Njokuani who falls. Sousa comes forward and Njokuani decides to clinch. Njokuani lands a few solid knees, although Sousa is defending fairly well against the Muy Thai striker. Sousa fires a big knee of his own, but it's low, right on the cup, with a thud that even the microphones audibly pick up. Njokuani is in obvious pain as he gets a while to recover. Njokuani takes his time, pacing back and forth. After over two and a half minutes, they resume. Njokuani fires off a powerful body kick, but Sousa blocks it. Sousa goes for a leg kick, but Njokuani checks it this time. Sousa comes forward with a punch and partially lands it. He charges forward and lands another illegal, low knee, getting a takedown from it. Njokuani quickly wall-walks back up, though. They go back to exchanging knees in the clinch. It's not long, however, before Sousa lands another knee low, and there is once again a break in the action. Njokuani takes longer this time, reasonable considering he has eaten three huge low blows already, as the 3 minute mark comes and goes. He decides to resume as Herb Dean takes one point away, although I would argue two points might have been warranted. They trade leg kicks and Njokuani lands a body kick. Njokuani lands a nice front kick to the body and then follows up with a jab. They soon clinch, and Sousa overextends, ending up with Njokuani on top. Njokuani lands an elbow from the top, as he moves to half-guard. Sousa lands a few hammerfists from the bottom. Njokuani ends the round with a hard elbow.

Sherdog Scores

Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-8 Njoukauni
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-8 Njoukauni
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-8 Njoukauni

Round 2

Njokuani barely misses a 1-2 but he soon lands a nice front-kick. Njokuani lands a solid punch and Sousa immediately clinches. Njokuani lands a couple of knees in the clinch. He then follows it up with several more solid ones to the body. Sousa desperately grapples, looking for a leg, but he is unable to convert. However, Sousa eventually forces one through. Njokuani is undeterred, however, and immediately reverses him, landing right back in half-guard. Sousa works to get Njokuani off, but the striker stays on top of him. Sousa angles for a possible armbar, but Njokuani nips it in the bud. Sousa keeps trying to scramble, but Njokuani stays tough on top. Halfway through the round, and Njokuani begins pelting Sousa with hard elbows. Sousa is clearly bothered and desperately tries to move away, although he eats some punches in the process. Eventually, Sousa is able to lessen the barrage. Njokuani takes his time now, landing the occasional hard elbow, punch, or hammerfist, based on the opportunity. Sousa moves to his elbow, but that just makes it easier for Njokuani, who batters him with powerful, accurate elbows. Sousa just eats the big blows. Njokuani lands a few body punches. Sousa goes for a possible heel hook, but Njokuani immediately gets out and goes back to the guard. Njokuani postures up and lands a hammerfist. Sousa spins for a possible leglock, but only ends up with Njokuani in a wrestling ride, pounding away with punches. Very dominant round for the veteran striker.

Sherdog Scores

Lev Pisarsky scores the round: 10-9 Njokuani
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Njokuani
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Njokuani

Round 3

Sousa is very tired to begin the round, throwing some wild, sloppy punches. Njokuani soon clinches and lands several huge knees to the body that cause Sousa to fall to the canvas. Sousa isn't finished yet, clinching for dear life. Njokuani lands a few solid body punches, which Sousa simply eats. He then begins adding punches to the head and then several hard elbows, as Sousa is simply covering up, and with obvious exhaustion at that. Njokuani bides his time, and like a surgeon, splits the Brazilian's guard with pinpoint precision. After a hellacious body punch, Sousa is hurt, and Njokuani pours it on with a series of elbows upstairs to the head. Herb Dean mercifully stops it. Tremendous performance by Chidi Njokuani, possibly the most skilled, decorated fighter of the entire season, who absorbed three huge low blows in round 1 and still finished his very tough, skilled foe.

The Official Result

Chidi Njokuani def. Mario Filipe de Sousa via TKO (Punches and Elbows) at 1:35 of Round 3

Josh Quinlan (170) vs. Logan Urban (170)

Round 1

In the main event, we have the two least-experienced fighters on the card, as Josh Quinlan (5-0) is a considerable favorite against Logan Urban (5-1) at welterweight. Urban took the fight on about 72 hours' notice. Referee Mike Beltran gets the final call of the night. Quinlan begins with a leg kick that barely lands. Quinlan cracks Urban with a huge right cross to the temple, badly dazing Urban, who is reeling and rocking. Quinlan smells blood and goes forward throwing big power punches. It's a risky strategy, opening him up, but Urban is unable to recover. they clinch for a while, but Quinlan continues punching on the inside. Urban tries to shoot, but Quinlan easily defends. Quinlan then starches Urban with two huge right hands behind the ear, and Urban slumps to the floor unconscious. Another furious, impressive knockout. He will unquestionably get a contract.

The Official Result

Josh Quinlan def. Logan Urban via KO (Punch) at 0:47 of Round 1

In a surprising twist, Dana White signs all five winners. So Chad Anheliger, Carlos Vergara, Saimon Oliveira, Chidi Njokuani, and Josh Quinlan all get contracts.

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