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The Ultimate Fighting Championship once again bolstered its ranks through Dana White’s Contender Series.
Middleweights Jamie Pickett and Collin Huckbody, flyweight Jeff Molina and featherweight Rafael Alves were all signed by the promotion after they emerged victorious on Week 4 of DWCS on Tuesday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Sixteen fighters have been granted entry to the UFC since the season started less than a month ago.
In his third appearance on the Contender Series, Pickett cut down Ring of Combat champion Jhonoven Pati with punches in the second round of their middleweight confrontation. Pati (6-4) succumbed to blows 33 seconds into Round 2, buried by an avalanche of rights and lefts.
Pickett (11-4) controlled much of the first round with a punishing jab, a well-timed takedown and a tight guillotine choke that put him on the brink of a finish. Pati freed himself, returned to his feet and closed the period with a burst of power punches. Pickett threw caution to the wind at the start of Round 2, let his hands fly and overwhelmed “The Samoan Savage” with power shots from both hands.
Alves Guillotine Taps Flores
An MMA Masters product, Alves dispatched Alejandro Flores with a guillotine choke in the second round of their featherweight encounter. Flores (16-3) raised the white flag 2:55 into Round 2, as he was submitted for just the second time in his 19-fight career.
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Alves (19-9) spent five-plus minutes stalking his prey. Flores did an admirable job of steering clear of danger, his Brazilian adversary firing away with fast-twitch combinations at various points. However, he ducked a left hook in the second round, moved in for a takedown and found himself hopelessly entangled in the guillotine. After a brief struggle, Alves’ squeeze proved too much for him to bear.
The 29-year-old Alves has posted five straight wins, three of them finishes.
Surging Molina Outduels Silva
Heavy leg kicks, a persistent jab and clean counters spurred Molina to a unanimous decision over Jacob Silva in an entertaining three-round flyweight clash. Molina (8-2), a Glory MMA standout, swept the scorecards with 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 marks from the judges, as he extended his winning streak to seven fights.
Silva (6-3) ate three concussive blows—a right hook in the first round, a head kick in the second and a sneaky knee strike in the third—that might have folded lesser men. The Fury Fighting Championship titleholder continued to move forward and flurried with blinding combinations in repeated bids to turn the tide. Molina stayed composed under fire, trapped his counterpart in frustrating clinches and cut loose with two- and three-punch volleys of his own.
The defeat was Silva’s first in more than five years.
Polished Romero Hobbles Breeden
Well-rounded weaponry carried the undefeated Anthony Romero to a unanimous decision over Glory MMA export Mike Breeden in a three-round lightweight scrap. All three cageside judges scored it for the promising 23-year-old Romero (8-0): 30-26, 30-27 and 29-28.
Breeden (8-3) impressed in defeat but ran into an opponent who was superior in all phases. Romero wrecked the James Krause disciple’s lower legs with repeated kicks that had him hobbling around the cage at fight’s end. Breeden stunned the Canadian with a jumping knee and left hook in the second round but saw his momentum stall when Romero refocused his efforts on the lower extremities. His base gave out midway through Round 3, forcing him to abandon his pursuit of victory in favor of survival.
The setback halted Breeden’s run of consecutive wins at three.
Huckbody Choke Submits Bowen
A Brock Larson protégé, Huckbody submitted Kyron Bowen with an arm-triangle choke in the first round of their middleweight pairing. Bowen (9-5) bowed out 1:28 into Round 1, his seven-fight winning streak having run its course.
Huckbody (8-2) executed a takedown inside the first 30 seconds, scrambled into mount, retained his dominant position and framed the arm-triangle. Bowen offered virtually no resistance once the choke was in place. Operating out of Jackson-Wink MMA, Huckbody capitalized on the moment of weakness, tightened his squeeze and forced the tapout.
The 25-year-old Huckbody has secured six of his eight career victories by submission, five via arm-triangle choke.
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