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Dana White’s Contender Series 20 took place Tuesday in Las Vegas, and we’re grading the winners from the five-fight card, which streamed on ESPN+ from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
With a refreshing but digestible format that has had the MMA fanbase responding, this series has shown to have legs in multiple ways while serving as a crockpot for contenders whom the UFC matchmakers can use for future events. So with that trend in mind, I will once again be taking a look at the winning fighters, regardless of whether or not they won a UFC contract – grading their performances in regards to their probability of returning to a UFC stage.
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Weight class: Middleweight
Result: Brendan Allen def. Aaron Jeffery via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:23
Summary: Coming in as the biggest favorite of the night, Brendan Allen made a good account of himself against Aaron Jeffery.
Allen, the former LFA middleweight title-holder, was the fighter whose regional resume stood out the most on this card. And with his only losses coming to UFC talent, Allen – as pointed out by my colleague Nolan King – was arguably risking a lot by opting for this entry point into the organization (especially against another guy who looks good getting off the proverbial bus).
Jeffery is young but promising-looking Canadian fighter who is apart of this season’s international invasion, though tonight may have been a reminder that he may need more seasoning before jumping back into the oven that is the Contender Series. Allen was able to exercise his experience by bringing the pressure early, flowing from Thai clinches to standing submission attempts that eventually opened up an early back-take.
Jeffery was able to break free of the initial strangleholds while striking vigorously off separations, but it wasn’t enough. Allen kept his cool under fire and timed a beautiful knee from the clinch that sent his Canadian counterpart to the floor, where Allen followed him to wrap up his 9th career (if you include his amateur record) rear-naked choke win.
Dana White slow-played his signing of Allen at first, but thankfully awarded the deserving middleweight a contract. The 23-year-old is already calling for a quick turnaround in November at The Garden, citing his baby’s due date. Should the UFC grant his wish, then I’d like to see him matched up with either Deron Winn or Eric Spicely, as I believe either would make for fun, appropriate matchups.
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