On the 34th edition of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series (DWCS): Cosce vs. Reyna, four rising fighters punched their tickets to the UFC.
Ten fighters from the lightweight, heavyweight, strawweight, and welterweight divisions competed in front of UFC President Dana White, providing fight fans with three knockouts and two unanimous decisions.
Kenny Cross (11-3) def. Kevin Syler (10-1)
In a fight many expected to be a strong showing from Bolivia’s Kevin Syler (10-1), Lights Out Championship lightweight titleholder Kenny Cross (11-3) turned in a gutsy, unrelenting performance.
Cross, 25, capitalized on his aggressive, risk-friendly style, pressuring Syler in what became a back-and-forth affair fraught with takedowns, scrambles, and grappling transitions. A noted submission ace, Syler was unable to establish momentum against Cross’ dogged pursuit of positional control.
Cross’ successful takedowns and dominant positioning on the ground were enough to stifle an exhausted, frustrated Syler, and the Michigan native emerged with a unanimous decision, with the judges scoring the fight 30-27, 29-28, 29-28.
Josh Parisian (13-3) def. Chad Johnson (6-2)
In a bout between big-swinging heavyweight prospects, Contender Series and Ultimate Fighter alumnus Josh Parisian (13-3) defeated former King of the Cage (KOTC) title challenger Chad Johnson (6-2).
Parisian withstood an early blitz from Johnson – all of whose six wins came by knockout – before turning the tide in the fight and earning the stoppage win. Following a knee strike, Parisian swarmed a downed Johnson and landed heavy punches and elbows from the mount, forcing the referee to intervene.
Parisian defeated Johnson by knockout at 3:43 of the first round.
Orion Cosce (7-0) def. Matt Dixon (9-1)
In a battle of undefeated welterweights, Orion Cosce (7-0) walked out with his “0” intact.
The first round belonged to Matt Dixon (9-1), as the Oklahoma native repeatedly changed levels to take Cosce down throughout the round.
Both fighters landed significant punches, but Cosce’s lead cornerman, UFC Hall of Famer and Team Alpha MMA owner Urijah Faber (35-11), advised Cosce to keep the fight standing in the second, warning him of Dixon’s wrestling successes.
The opening half of the second round was contested, as Faber hoped, largely on the feet, with both fighters again landing big punches. Dixon’s head movement and Cosce’s overhand were on display, as both fighters had their moments. The second half of the round saw Dixon begin to fatigue, as Cosce continued to stuff his takedown attempts and disengage more consistently from Dixon’s smothering clinch.
Cosce came out swinging to begin the third round, blitzing a slowing Dixon and winging punches. An entanglement from Dixon was reversed by Cosce, who slammed Dixon to the mat and began working to advance his position on the ground.
Dixon evaded a brief arm-triangle attempt from Cosce, but Cosce secured a crucifix and landed a bevy of short elbows to the head of Dixon, prompting the referee to step in at 4:42 of the third round.
Cheyanne Buys (5-1) def. Hilarie Rose (4-2)
The strawweight bout between Cheyanne Buys (5-1) and Hilarie Rose (4-2) was a hectic one, as both women got off to frenetic starts inside the APEX cage.
The first round saw Fortis MMA’s Buys land powerful, snapping punches and kicks to the head and body of Rose while stuffing takedowns and reversing position with near-perfect technique.
Like the first, the second round saw both fighters come out aggressively. Buys’ strikes appeared to continue to land harder, but an ensuing clinch slowed the fight in the first half of the second round. In the standing game, Buys looked to be one step ahead of Rose – just out of range of Rose’s punches and extraordinarily proficient at landing her own.
The third round was the culmination of a fight-long theme: Cheyanne Buys was here to win a UFC contract. Buys battered Rose in the clinch and forced a takedown attempt from Rose with big strikes to the head, which Buys turned into positional control on Rose’s back.
The fight ended with Buys’ best Max Holloway-Ricardo Lamas impersonation, swinging for the finish as time expired. Buys emerged from the bout with a unanimous decision on the strength of 30-27, 30-27, and 30-27 scorecards from the judges.
Louis Cosce (7-0) def. Victor Reyna (11-5)
In the main event of the evening and the second bout to feature a Cosce brother, Combate Americas veteran Louis Cosce (7-0) knocked out Contender Series alumnus Victor Reyna (11-5) in just over a minute.
Following his older brother Orion’s (7-0) win over Matt Dixon earlier in the night, Louis Cosce took out the battle-tested Reyna with a vicious left hand and subsequent ground and pound at 1:12 of the first round.
Dana White walked backstage to contemplate which fighters would earn a UFC contract, and emerged to offer four fighters a deal with the promotion.
Both Cosce brothers (Louis and Orion), Fortis MMA’s Cheyanne Buys, and heavyweight standout Josh Parisian received UFC contracts.