Dana White Contender Series Week 3 Review
By Matt Wise
Dana White hands out record five contracts
The victor of each bout was offered a contract by Dana White for the first time since the show began.
In the featured bout of the evening, Joe Selecki beat American Top Team’s Jesse Wallace via first round submission to cap off a dominant grappling display.
Wallace, known for his own advanced ground game, found himself fighting off multiple submission attempts, and eventually succumbed to a guillotine choke which left him unconscious.
It was a similar ending in the evening’s light heavyweight matchup, as Antonio Trocoli defeated Kenneth Bergh via first round submission.
It was Bergh who fought on the front foot in the opening exchanges, pinning his opponent against the cage and landing a number of hard knees to the Brazilian’s thigh.
Trocoli looked void of ideas against the cage, but caught his opponent off guard with a speedy Judo-style throw to send the fight to the mat. From there, Bergh never found his way back to his feet and Trocoli sunk in a mean neck crank to force the tap.
It was not clear until his interview with Laura Sanko post-fight that he fought most of round one with a broken foot, making his triumph all the more impressive. With his admission to the UFC, Trocoli immediately becomes the tallest fighter at 205 lbs at 6″6.
At bantamweight, Hunter Azure put on a dominant display against Chris Ocon to earn a unanimous decision victory.
The pair exchanged punches back and forth in the early goings, but Azure’s hard kicks to the left leg of Ocon brought about an opportunity to take the fight to the mat.
Ocon showed resilience to shun his opponent’s advances on the ground and managed to scramble back to his feet. He could not get the better of Azure in either department, and the punishing leg kicks appeared to stifle any attack he tried to mount.
The judges scored the contest 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 in favour of Hunter Azure, enough for a UFC contract.
At middleweight, Hawaiian Maki Pitolo defeated the larger figure of Justin Sumter via TKO in the opening round.
The UFC hopefuls showed their intentions from the get go, firing punches left and right, but Pitolo was first to land strikes of note, and had his opponent backed up against the cage.
Pitolo did well to draw away from clinch attempts by Sumter, and smothered his opponent with a series of left hooks to the body which were too much for Sumter to absorb. Referee Chris Tognoni jumped in to signify the end of the fight, and the beginning of Maki Pitolo’s UFC journey.
In the night’s opener at lightweight, Jonathan Pearce overcame some powerful offerings from Jacob Rosales to win TKO in round three.
Pearce was rocked early on by Rosales as the two exchanged leather, but he kept coming back and landed a greater number of strikes, including some knees in the clinch.
The fight ended on the ground though, with a fierce right hand bound for the open chin of Rosales, and Herb Dean stepped in to put an end to proceedings.
A more than content Dana White then handed out UFC contracts to each of the evening’s winners. Joe Selecki, Antonio Trocoli, Hunter Azure, and Jonathan Pearce were all added to the UFC roster.