UFC Contracts Awarded to Record Four Fighters on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series

By Brian Knapp Jun 19, 2018

Anthony Hernandez could not have done more to impress the powers that be with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The undefeated MMA Gold Fight Team middleweight obliterated Jordan Wright with first-round punches on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series at the UFC Training Center in Las Vegas. Hernandez (7-0) brought it to a close 40 seconds into Round 1.

Wright (9-1) was in over his head. Hernandez cracked “The Beverly Hills Ninja” with a thudding right, then flurried and separated. A left hook sent a dazed Wright to the mat and left him vulnerable to the attack that followed. Hernandez capitalized on the opening, a burst of right hands knocking his adversary unconscious.

Hernandez was at the forefront of a record windfall, as he was one of four fighters who were awarded UFC contracts. Alliance MMA’s Matt Sayles, reigning Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Ryan Spann and American Kickboxing Academy export Dwight Grant were the others.

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Sayles disposed of Glory MMA and Fitness standout Yazan Hajeh with punches in the first round of their featherweight encounter. Hajeh (6-1) met his end 1:57 into Round 1.

A World Series of Fighting alum, Sayles (7-1) picked his spots with calm calculation. The 24-year-old folded Hajeh with a straight right, pounced with punches and advanced from side control to full mount. Once there, he secured his position and rained punches until referee Jason Herzog had seen enough.

Meanwhile, Spann submitted Emiliano Sordi with a guillotine choke in the first round of their clash at 205 pounds. Sordi (16-7) bit the dust just 26 seconds into Round 1.

The 26-year-old Spann (14-5) sent the Argentinian reeling backward with a crisp right hand, shut down his bid to scramble and caught the guillotine. Sordi tried briefly to free himself, tapped and then lost consciousness before referee Mark Smith could arrive on the scene.

Spann has rattled off four consecutive victories.

Elsewhere, Grant wiped out Tyler Hill with a multi-punch volley in the second round of their welterweight pairing. Hill (6-2) succumbed to blows 2:08 into Round 2, as the Alan Belcher protégé suffered his second straight defeat.

Grant (8-1) connected with stinging leg kicks and punching combinations to the head, all while moving backward against the oncoming Memphis, Tennessee, native. Hill was the aggressor, but his efforts proved largely ineffective. Grant countered with an overhand right-left hook combination in the second round, trailed him to the canvas and mopped up the rest with punches.

The 33-year-old Grant has won seven fights in a row.

Finally, Austin Springer submitted Kings MMA muay Thai stylist Giga Chikadze with a rear-naked choke in the third round of their featherweight tilt. Chikadze (9-3) conceded defeat 4:10 into Round 3, his five-fight winning streak having run its course.

Springer (10-2) ate a number of kicks on the way in but managed to neutralize his Georgian counterpart with a suffocating clinch and opportunistic takedowns. He countered a knee strike from Chikadze with a takedown in the third round, moved to mount and cut loose with ground-and-pound before transitioning to the back. Soon after, the fight-ending choke was in place.
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