Ikram Aliskerov - Contender Series Week 8(Photo: MMA Junkies)

Ikram Aliskerov – Contender Series Week 8 (Photo: MMA Junkies)

After another successful week on the Contender Series, Dana White gave out another 5 contracts. Bruna Brasil and Ikram Aliskerov were the clear top performers of the week, grabbing HUGE highlight reel finishes. Trevor Peek also grabbed a finish, but not after getting dominated in the 1st Round by his opponent. Farid Basharat and Daniel Marcos didn’t grab finishes but dominated their opponents to grab contracts of their own. All the fights, along with the BLÜ’s Power Rankings for the night, are described below.

Fight #1

Daniel Marcos def. Brandon Lewis by Unanimous Decision

The height and length advantage was clearly in favour of Marcos, but Lewis was the active one early, throwing out some kicks and jabs. Then, with one of the first strikes he threw, Marcos landed a BOMB that wobbled Lewis. From there, Lewis started to get his grappling going, pinning Marcos into the fence. They separated from there, allowing Marcos to land some HEAVY combos, wobbling Lewis once again. Somehow Lewis was still standing and went for the grappling again, but was shut down for the most part. With a couple more crisp shots from Marcos to close the round, he was clearly up 1-0 going into the second.

Marcos opened up with some HEAVY leg kicks, trying to cripple the striking of Lewis. That didn’t stop Lewis though as he kept getting in close and throwing some beautiful combos. As soon as he got in close, Lewis started his grappling, but couldn’t really get a whole lot going with it. Marcos had slowed down his activity quite a bit, but whenever he landed, especially his kicks, it was a problem for Lewis. Lewis looked as though he was going to grab the round on the cards, but Marcos’ leg kicks did so much damage that you’d have to score it 2-0 going into the final round.

Once again, Marcos came in with a HEAVY leg kick, buckling the legs of Lewis. Lewis tried to get his grappling going, trying to make something happen, but Marcos kept his defences up, shutting down all of the takedowns. With two minutes left, Lewis was still alive but kept finding himself in bad spots, getting lit up by Marcos. Lewis FINALLY managed to grab a takedown… but they quickly went back to their feet. Lewis gave it literally everything, throwing out all kinds of attacks, walking forward nonstop, but still couldn’t get it done.

He couldn’t quite grab the finish that would’ve guaranteed a contract, but all credit went to Lewis for surviving the whole 3 rounds. He’s going to have to work on some things if he wants to compete in the UFC, but he definitely deserves the opportunity to prove himself.

Fight #2

Bruna Brasil def. Marnic Mann by KO in the 2nd Round

Brasil used her length early, slamming HUGE kicks into the body of Mann. Mann wasn’t doing anything for the first minute, then quickly exploded into a takedown. Brasil shut that down and grabbed a beautiful takedown herself. Interestingly, Brasil got back up and went for more striking. This allowed Mann to shoot in for some more grappling, but she was having a hard time with Brasil’s height and strength. Mann briefly got Brasil down a couple of times, but was then SLAMMED into the mat with Brasil on top. With the control time and huge kicks, Brasil had found herself up 1-0.

Mann started hard in the 2nd Round, pushing Brasil into the fence. Sadly, once again, she was shut down and Brasil let loose some more of those beautiful kicks. Brasil was looking fantastic, but wasn’t really pushing the pace; she was letting Mann dictate what was happening. Mann then got her game plan going, dragging Brasil to the ground, smothering her from the top. Then, just like before, Brasil swept her, grabbing the top position. They went back to the feet and went back to striking, where Brasil was still landing beautiful kicks. Then, Brasil landed the biggest kick of the night, a head kick straight to the forehead of Mann, knocking her out CLEAN.

There are not too many women that are already IN the UFC that can throw kicks like that. She dominated most of the fight with her impressive striking AND grappling. She’s going to need to increase her activity if she wants to do well, especially at 115, but she has endless potential in the UFC.

Fight #3

Trevor Peek def. Malik Lewis by TKO in the 2nd Round

Both men opened with HUGE kicks. Peek was throwing out some wild strikes, but Lewis responded with some smothering grappling, really trying to take the fight to the ground. It took him a while with a lot of effort, but he did manage to drag him down a couple of times. In between grappling exchanges, Lewis SMOKED Peek with combos and knees straight to his face. He kept the onslaught going, eventually moving to the ground. It looked as though Peek was going to gain control, but Lewis ended up taking his back, looking for a submission. They went back to their feet from there with Lewis leading the action with HUGE shots that were wobbling Peek. Peek closed the round with a heavy combo, but the round had clearly gone toward Lewis.

Peek came out like a demon, swinging WILD shots at Lewis. All of the pace from the 1st Round had clearly affected Lewis as he had slowed down quite a bit. This allowed Peek to easily drag him down to the canvas and pepper him with ground and pound. After Lewis was slammed by ground and pound for about a minute straight, the ref called it off, giving Peek a sensational come-from-behind win.

It’s always questionable when you have a performance like this one. He got destroyed in the 1st Round, and dominated in every single way. But that’s what separates a regional fighter from a developed, major promotion fighter: cardio. He was the one who could keep pace and still be dangerous as the fight progresses. That being said, it’s not a good image to UFC fans when you were dominated like that in the 1st Round. It makes you wonder how he would fare against a real UFC bantamweight.

Fight #4

Ikram Aliskerov def. Mário Sousa by Submission in the 1st Round

Aliskerov went for a takedown early, but was actually shut down by Sousa fairly easily. In between the attempts, both men were throwing out some nice strikes. After stuffing a couple of those takedowns, Sousa was thrown through the air. From there, Aliskerov got to work and absolutely mangled the arm/shoulder of Sousa in a NASTY kimura.

Just like Bruna Brasil, this was an obvious contract. He struggled at first with some of the striking but ended up DOMINATING his opponent, as expected, when he finally moved the fight to the ground. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he also locked in the FIRST kimura in the history of the Contender Series. It wasn’t a normal kimura either; he destroyed Sousa’s arm and shoulder before he even had the chance to tap.

Fight #5

Farid Basharat def. Allan Begosso by Unanimous Decision

Both men were very cautious early, knowing they both have some impressive power. Begosso made the first big couple of moves, landing some impressive combos and kicks. Basharat was trying to stay at a distance and not get hit while Begosso was the one trying to be aggressive. Begosso followed all that up with a DEEP guillotine from the bottom. Basharat held on nicely, waiting for Begosso to tire his arms out. Then he switched from the guillotine to the heel hook. Basharat avoided that as well, finding himself on top of Begosso, landing ground and pound. It was a tight, back-and-forth round, but I may have given it to Begosso because he was the one landing the offence and pushing the pace.

They exchanged some quick shots early in the 2nd Round, then Basharat started to push hard for a takedown. He got Begosso down easily and started to work towards a submission. Begosso was doing very well to defend but was still getting absolutely shredded by the ground game of Basharat. With Basharat dominating the round, he had clearly tied it on the cards, maybe even scoring a 10-8. Begosso didn’t look the same coming into the final round. He was letting Basharat pressure forward and destroy him with quick combos. Begosso landed a decent combo, but then found himself with his back on the canvas again. Basharat continued his dominance on the ground, slamming some heavy elbows down. He tried to get a finish with 10 seconds left but had to settle for a dominant decision instead.

Farid didn’t grab a finish, but, just like Daniel Marcos, that had more to do with the toughness of his opponent. He dominated the fight, even grabbing a 10-8 on multiple cards (including mine), and he’s already got his brother in the UFC. This seemed like another fairly clear contract.

Contract Results

Daniel Marcos: Contract Secured

Bruna Brasil: Contract Secured

Trevor Peek: Contract Secured

Ikram Aliskerov: Contract Secured

Farid Basharat: Contract Secured

No surprises yet again as every winner on the card grabbed an easy contract. On this card though, the only one I wasn’t sure about was Peek because of the way he had lost the 1st Round. He ended up getting convinced, of course, thanks to the toughness of Peek. He came back and grabbed a finish of his own in the next round.

Dana said he was impressed with Marcos, especially since he was the underdog, is undefeated and hadn’t fought in the past few years. The easiest decisions of course were Brasil and Aliskerov who had grabbed MASSIVE, very impressive finishes. He made it very clear that these two were the ones to watch. Finally, Dana quickly gave a contract to the first Basharat that’ll fight this week. Much like his brother, Farid is undefeated, has great cardio, and is very well-rounded.

BLÜ’s Power Rankings

1. Ikram Aliskerov

2. Bruna Brasil

3. Farid Basharat

4. Daniel Marcos

5. Trevor Peek

BLÜ’s Best of the Rest

Brandon Lewis and Malik Lewis