Last week was another great week on Dana White’s Contenders Series (DWCS).
MMA fans saw fight exciting fights and several promising prospects that I believe we will be seeing a lot of in the weeks and years to come.
In a season that has included a lot of second and third chances for past DWCS fighters and a lot of fighters capitalizing on them, Jordan Williams (8-3) will look to do that in the main event.
Williams dropped a split decision to Ramanzan Kuramagomedov (7-0) in a fight many believe he won, but now, Williams can punch his ticket to the UFC with a convincing win just as William Knight (8-1) and Jamie Pickett (11-4) did in weeks prior.
The lines on Contenders Series are smashed as soon as they are released, so if a bettor likes something, he or she should get on it, immediately.
The lines did open super late this week, so I’m not sure that is a good thing, but I guess we’ll see on Tuesday night.
The card is as follows:
Kyle Driscoll (11-3) vs. Dinis Paiva (13-7) – featherweight bout
Danyelle Wolf (0-0) vs. Taneisha Tennant (3-0) – featherweight bout
Korey Kuppe (8-3) vs. Michael Lombardo (10-2) – welterweight bout
Muhammadjon Naimov (5-0) vs. Collin Anglin (7-1) – featherweight bout
Gregory Rodrigues (7-2) vs. Jordan Williams (8-3) – middleweight main event
Kyle Driscoll (-196) vs. Dinis Paiva (+166)
Paiva is a guy that has fought in CES, a Providence, Rhode Island-based promotion that has fed a lot of fighters to the UFC. I’ve said before that I would rather a prospect has faced adversity, and Paiva has. Paiva lost three of his first four professional fights. It would be easy for him to quit after that. He didn’t.
He has won six of his last seven, with a win over UFC fighter and Contenders’ Series alum Jordan Espinosa (15-7). His loss was to Andre Ewell (16-6) in the third round. That tells me he can hang with UFC-caliber opponents and beat them. He also has canceled bouts against UFC veterans Austin Arnett (16-7) and Tony Gravely (19-6), showing he didn’t take an easy road to the top. Another thing about Paiva is that his only two losses since the start of 2014 are by submission.
Kyle Driscoll doesn’t have a sub win since 2016 and it was over a winless fighter in Josh McCracken (0-4).
I think Paiva has a lot more paths to victory here. I’ll take Dinis Paiva.
Danyelle Wolf (-105) vs. Taneisha Tennant (-125)
Taneisha Tennant is 3-0. She does have a win over a fighter that I have heard of in Invicta FC’s Serena DeJesus (1-1). She has two fights and two wins in Invicta, which is the premier women’s fight organization. While looking at Tennant, I found that she trains at Budokan Martial Arts with UFC veteran Randy Brown (12-4). She has two decision wins and one knockout by a body kick.
When it comes to Wolf, the first thing I found out about her is that she is very, as the UFC might think, “marketable.” She was in the 2016 ESPN Body Issue. She’s very tall and athletic. That isn’t why she is debuting on Dana White’s Contender Series, however.
Wolf’s athletic background is extensive. She is a three-time USA boxing national champion and a Golden Gloves champion, and she has grappling chops, too, as she is an IBJJF World Champion. She also played basketball, ran track, and played field hockey at Millersville University. She is 37 years old, which is older than most for a pro MMA debut, but appears to be in good shape. She trains at the Olympic Training Center for boxing and was also on an MTV dating show called “Next.”
This seems much more like a Kayla Harrison (7-0) type of prospect than a Rachael Ostovich (4-5). I’m taking Danyelle Wolf here. I would look for a submission prop.
Korey Kuppe (+135) vs. Michael Lombardo (-165)
In the words of Liam Neeson, Korey Kuppe has a particular set of skills. He has eight wins and seven submissions. His unusual body type has something to do with that. He’s 6’5″ and fights at welterweight. That is ridiculous and something that most fighters will have a lot of trouble with. Kuppe has fought between 165 pounds and 185 pounds.
Kuppe also boasts world championships in karate and kickboxing. It doesn’t seem like he is someone like Luis Pena (8-3) that can use his length to get submissions, but struggles in other facets. The knock on Kuppe is that he fights out of Michigan and has two losses to sub-.500 fighters. He does have a win over Contenders’ Series winner Kenny Cross (11-3).
Michael Lombardo seems like a can crusher to me. His last loss was to UFC fighter Kyle Daukaus (9-1). His last four wins were over Jose Caceres (15-10), Justin Thornton (6-17), Brandon Martin (6-7), and Andrew Sosa (4-13-1), who sport subpar or losing records; I don’t care that he finished all of them. He’s 6’0 with a 72-inch reach.
It is notable, however, that he trains at American Top Team, his performance against Daukaus was quite gritty, and his overall body of work points to a solid, well-rounded game.
This line opened even and quickly went toward Lombardo. I’m taking Kuppe by submission though.
Muhammadjon Naimov (-350) vs. Collin Anglin (+275)
I like that Naimov trains in Vegas and he has shown he can win in a variety of ways. He has also done some training at Elevation Fight Team and is a ranked featherweight in Florida. It seems like he has really made an effort to get better.
Anglin is another Michigan guy. My biggest issue with Anglin is that most of his wins are against very inexperienced fighters. Four of his seven wins have come against opponents with less than three fights.
Naimov opened at -225 and quickly skyrocketed to -350. I’m taking Muhammadjon Naimov here.
Gregory Rodrigues (-140) vs. Jordan Williams (+110)
Just as I said with Phil Hawes (8-2) last week, I like to see guys that have fought UFC-caliber talent, even if they come out on the short end of those. Either you win or you learn. Williams has lost to Kuramagomedov, who could be in the UFC soon, and UFC veterans Dwight Grant (10-3) and Kazula Vargas (11-4). No shame in any of those. I like that he has experienced fighting in the APEX and on Contenders’ Series.
Rodrigues has four of his seven wins by submission. He has fought in Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) and Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB), so he does have experience in good promotions. Rodrigues’ last five wins are over guys with decent records, so the level of competition is there.
Rodrigues is probably best on the ground and Williams has never been submitted. Williams also hasn’t been knocked out in four and a half years. Neither of these guys have been very active. Williams hasn’t fought since that Contenders’ Series fight and Rodrigues has been out of action since December.
I’m taking Jordan Williams here.