UFC Inks Four Competitors on Week 6 of Dana White’s Contenders Series

By Brian Knapp Oct 5, 2021

Mike Malott needed less than a minute to handle his business.

The Team Alpha Male rep was one of four competitors to earn an Ultimate Fighting Championship contract on Week 6 of Dana White’s Contender Series, as he submitted the previously unbeaten Shimon Smotritsky with a guillotine choke in the first round of their welterweight feature on Tuesday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Malott (7-1-1) sealed the deal 39 seconds into Round 1.

Smotritsky (7-1) took the bait, moved in for a potential takedown and immediately found himself entangled in the guillotine. His situation went from bad to worse to downright dire as Malott improved his positioning and tightened his squeeze on the choke. Smotritsky waved the white flag soon after.

In addition to Malott, UFC President Dana White awarded contracts former Hoosier Fight Club champion Carlos Hernandez, Fortis MMA standout Fernando Garcia and undefeated Entram Gym prospect Genaro Valdez.

Hernandez outstruck and outpaced Daniel Barez to a split decision in a competitive three-round flyweight attraction. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28: Sal D’Amato for Barez, Michael Bell and Tony Weeks for Hernandez.

Barez (12-5) delivered multiple takedowns and managed to hold his own in the standup exchanges for much of the match. Hernandez (7-1) shifted the momentum in the middle stanza, where he shoved the Spaniard to the canvas, settled in side control and eventually transitioned to the back. From there, he flattened out Barez, piled up points with ground-and-pound and fished for a rear-naked choke. While the finish failed to materialize, the message was sent. Hernandez answered takedowns from the Combate Global veteran with body-head combinations in the third round. The VFS Academy export pieced together a volley of punches and kicks against the fatigued Barez in the waning seconds, leaving the judges something by which to remember him.

Hernandez, 27, has rattled off seven consecutive victories.

Meanwhile, Garcia took care of Joshua Weems with punches in the first round of their bantamweight showcase. Weems (9-2) succumbed to blows 2:10 into Round 1, his eight-fight winning streak having run its course.

Garcia (10-1) weathered an early one-two, a few stinging leg kicks and some close-range knee strikes from his aggressive counterpart. He decked Weems behind the ear with an overhand right, trailed him to the canvas and drowned him with unanswered follow-up punches.

The 29-year-old Garcia has won five fights in a row.

Elsewhere, Valdez put away Patrik White with punches in the second round of their lightweight pairing. The last man standing in an epic firefight, Valdez (10-0) brought it to a close 44 seconds into Round 2.

White (9-2) swung for the fences and almost made it pay off. The Avalanche Wrestling rep surrendered multiple takedowns, ate punches that sent his mouthpiece flying and withstood an attempted rear-naked choke in a breakneck first round. By the end of it, White appeared to turn the tide in his favor with sweeping bursts of power punches to the head. Bleeding from a cut on his forehead and exhausted by wild standup exchanges, Valdez looked like a spent force at the start of Round 2. He nevertheless stormed out of his corner, floored White with a left hook-right cross-left hook combination and pounced with follow-up punches to prompt the stoppage.

Valdez, 29, has finished all 10 of his opponents.

Finally, Glory MMA rep Joseph Holmes submitted Shonte Barnes with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their middleweight battle. Holmes (6-1) drew the curtain 2:46 into Round 2, as the James Krause protege extended his winning streak to six bouts. The UFC plans to chart his progress at a Fury Fighting Championship event in November.

Operating out of an American Top Team affiliate in Asheville, North Carolina, Barnes (6-2-1) never managed to establish himself as more than a one-punch or one-kick threat. Holmes struck for a takedown early in the second round, secured his position with hooks and cinched the choke. After a brief struggle, Barnes capitulated.

The loss was Barnes’ first since March 18, 2017.
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