The Ultimate Fighting Championship roster continues to swell thanks to the latest crop of competitors on Dana White’s Contender Series.
Four more UFC contracts were awarded on Tuesday in Las Vegas, as middleweights Antonio Arroyo and Brendan Allen, bantamweight Ode Osbourne and heavyweight Don’Tale Mayes let their talents do the talking on Season 3, Episode 4 of the show. All four signees made believers out of UFC President Dana White.
Arroyo submitted former Ring of Combat champion Stephen Regman with an arm-triangle choke in the second round of their middleweight scrap. Regman (9-4), who entered the cage on a four-fight winning streak, bowed out 3:31 into Round 2.
Arroyo (9-2) blasted the Pellegrino MMA representative with body and leg kicks, fought through takedowns and hunted the finish. A partially blocked head kick sent Regman crashing to the canvas in the second round and served as a harbinger for what was to come. Arroyo followed him to the ground, freed himself from an attempted armbar, assumed a standing position and passed to side control. He eventually climbed to full mount, locked in the arm-triangle and cinched the choke for the tapout.
The 27-year-old Arroyo has recorded five consecutive victories, four of them finishes.
A Pure Vida MMA export, Osbourne submitted Bellator MMA alum Armando Villarreal with an armbar in the first round of their bantamweight confrontation. Villarreal (5-2) offered a verbal tapout 4:39 into Round 1, closing the book on his three-fight winning streak.
Hand speed, head movement and excellent takedown defense allowed Osbourne (6-2) to control the early stages of the fight. He staggered Villarreal with a short but powerful left hand and connected with a sneaky head kick before finally conceding a takedown. Osbourne ate some ground-and-pound in bottom position but wheeled his hips into place, isolated the arm and executed the submission.
Osbourne has won three of his last four fights.
As reigning Legacy Fighting Alliance middleweight champion, Allen submitted Aaron Jeffery with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their middleweight clash. Jeffery (6-2) conceded defeat 3:23 into Round 1, his run of four consecutive victories having run its course.
Allen (12-3) lured the Canadian into the clinch, floored him with a short-range knee strike and moved into top position before passing to side control. The Roufusport standout advanced to the back without much resistance, cinched the choke and forced the tap.
The 23-year-old Allen finds himself on a four-fight winning streak.
Operating out of Bronx Hill MMA, Mayes wiped out Rizin Fighting Federation alum Ricardo Prasel with punches in the first round of their heavyweight duel. The 28-year-old Prasel (10-2) succumbed to blows 4:59 into Round 1.
Mayes (6-2) walked through a series of leg kicks from the Brazilian and denied his repeated bids for takedowns, slowly bleeding his gas tank dry. Late in the first round, he backed Prasel to the fence and uncorked a savage left hook that dropped him where he stood. Mayes pounced with punches, forcing referee Jason Herzog to intervene with one second left on the clock.
Finally, American Top Team prospect Kevin Syler kept his perfect professional record intact, as he laid claim to a unanimous decision over Lance Lawrence in a three-round featherweight showcase. All three cageside judges struck scorecards in Syler’s favor: 30-27, 30-26 and 30-26.
Outside of a brief third-round exchange during which he had has back taken, Syler (9-0) dominated virtually every second of the fight. He doubled and tripled up on his jab, fired off accurate multi-punch volleys, connected with devastating body-head combinations and incorporated takedowns at opportune times. Lawrence (4-1) refused to go away despite accumulating significant damage, including a massive hematoma on his forehead that grew to the size of a softball across the second and third rounds. He made his counterpart work for the victory for a full 15 minutes.
Syler, 25, missed weight for the match by a staggering 6.5 pounds, his failure on the scale likely costing him a deal with the UFC.