We’re entering the home stretch for DWCS (Dana White Contender Series), but that doesn’t mean the quality of talent looking to fight their way into the UFC is any lower. This time around we’ve got a top class bantamweight bout to headline, a new potential top middleweight prospect out of Dagestan, and a couple of undefeated lightweights looking to fast track their careers to the big show.
It should provide a rock solid night of action, especially for a Tuesday evening. After which, we’ll almost certainly have another passel of new talent ready to make their debuts inside the Octagon. So, let’s take a look at all the fights set to go down this week on Dana White’s Contender Series.
Farid Basharat (8-0) vs Allan Begosso (7-1-1)
If Farid Basharat’s name looks familiar, it’s because he’s the brother of former Contender Series participant and current UFC fighter Javid Basharat. Farid was supposed to fight earlier this year on the July 26th edition of Contender Series, but his bout was cancelled when his opponent (Willian Souza) missed weight badly. Much like his brother, he brings a lot to the table.
A scrambly ground game, aggressive submission attempts, a nice jab, decent movement to avoid damage and a nice counter left hook make him a problem. He’s still growing as a fighter and is a bit rough around some edges, but he can work well off his back and has a lot of upside right now.
For his part, Begosso has some nice boxing fundamentals and some great athleticism. His patience when applying submissions is excellent as well. There’s not much out there on him, though. But he made his way from the Brazilian circuit to LFA while fighting decent opposition. No Bumwatch™ for either guy, and this is another case of the UFC winning big with either fighter getting signed.
Ikram Aliskerov (12-1) vs Mario Souza (14-2)
Souza has been on Contender Series twice now. His first outing went his way as he won by decision. That was back in 2020. Here’s what I said about him then:
Mario Felipe Souza (11-1), has devastating body kicks, long reach, and jumps onto submissions like a barracuda. With a handful of submission victories, he’s confident enough off his back to not worry about where the fight goes.
But then he returned in 2021 and fought Chidi Njokuani:
Much more patient with his strikes, he relies on counters and has a decent submission game. In the clinch, he’s got some good instincts for throwing knees and elbows, as well as an aggressive attitude in going for the finish. At only 24 years of age, he’s got plenty of time to develop, and this may be a case of biting off more than he can chew for now. A lack of urgency paired with a tendency to get controlled on his back is a problem. He’s got a bunch of finishes, but this may not be the right kind of fight for him, or one where he gains much to learn from.
Unfortunately for him, I was right. He lost due to ground strikes in the third. However, he got back into his groove and is 2-0 in 2022. The only slight caveat is that his last opponent was 0-1. I understand wanting a tune-up, but it’s a bad look for a guy as talented as he is.
All of his positives remain, but it’s hard to read on where he’s improved, if he has at all.
Unfortunately for his Octagon dreams, he’s dealing with an absolute threat. Aliskerov has been through Tech-KREP FC, BRAVE FC, Fight Nights Global and most recently Eagle FC. He’s defeated a slate of really good opposition that includes Miro Jurkovic, Geraldo Neto, Nah-Shon Burrell, and current UFC talent Denis Tiuliulin (by submission). His only loss? Khamzat Chimaev.
As is the case with so many Dagestani fighters, this guy has a very strong baseline for MMA and a high skill level. He can tank his way through leg kicks, chain wrestle beautifully and has power in his hands. This is a great pickup for middleweight and a pretty bad matchup for Souza. Regardless, it should make for a great fight. As much as I hate bickering about this so often, this is a talent that should have been signed as a free agent, but we have what we have.
Malik Lewis (5-0) vs Trevor Peek (6-0, 1 NC)
Lewis is a forward-moving fighter with some good-looking offense and a ton of pressure from top control. He’s got a great finishing instinct and a good jab, while having serviceable defense. It’s tough to tell where he’s truly at given his relative inexperience at the pro level (and his amateur experience), but that should mean he’s got lots of room and time for growth. All of his pro wins are finishes, and he’s got some good reads to set up counters and immediately put opponents on their back foot.
Peek fights out of the Southeast. A powerful striker, he’s got decent front kicks and and absurd right hand. His leg kicks may not be pretty or as functional as they could be, but he can bust out the yopper when he needs to. Seriously, just look at this. Not sure what to make of the matchup here, seeing as they’re both finishers that have faced some adversity but never really seem to have had to dig too deep. It may be a case of who picks up momentum first. Either way, this could quickly turn into the fight of the night.
Bruna Brasil (7-2-1) vs Marnic Mann (5-0)
Mann comes forward, throws some solid 1-2s, and has a hell of a squeeze on her triangle choke. Along with a good and strong teep, her knees from the clinch are nasty.
Brunaonly has losses to current UFC talent Ariane Carnelossi and Invicta champion Jessica Delboni. Her only other notable opponent is Aline Sattelmeyer, who was 12-13 at the time they fought. Bruna’s got a lovely kicking game and solid composure, but might struggle with the takedowns and pressure that Mann brings to the game.
Brandon Lewis (6-1) vs Daniel Marcos (12-0)
Marcos came up through the Peruvian circuit and has some hard lunging punches to go with a sneaky clinch game. His counters are pretty good and he’s mostly a pressure fighter. Seven of his twelve wins have been finishes.
Like Trevor Peek, above, Lewis also hails out of the Southeastern US and made his way to LFA in short order. Here’s what I said about him last year:
Lewis is a problem. Starting his MMA training at just 15 years of age, he went 7-1 as an amateur with all wins being finishes. Having gone pro in 2016, he’s had a perfect record since. Mixing up his kicks high and low, surprisingly agile and pouring on a lot of pressure, he’s hard to get off of you once he picks up the pace to his comfort level.
Unfortunately, he lost by decision, but he might be able to correct course here.
You can check out the weigh-ins here, courtesy of the crew at MMAJunkie:
Farid Basharat (135.5) vs. Allan Begosso (135.5) – Bantamweight
Ikram Aliskerov (186.0) vs Mario Sousa (185.5) – Middleweight
Malik Lewis (156) vs Trevor Peek (156.0) – Lightweight
Bruna Brasil (115.0) vs Marnic Mann (115.5) – Strawweight
Daniel Marcos (136.0) vs Brandon Lewis (135.5) – Bantamweight
Dana White’s Contender Series takes place at its usual time and place, Tuesday night at 8:00pm EST. This event will be streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+.
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