Just In Dana White’s Contender’s Series 26: Grading the winners MMA Life

Check out the latest breaking UFC NEWS

Dana White’s Contender Series 26 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.

T.J. Brown

Weight class: Featherweight
Result: T.J. Brown def. Dylan Lockard via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 3, 2:59
Grade: A

Summary: In what was one of the more technical fights of the night, I had a hard time giving T.J. Brown anything but an A for overcoming adversities en route to his third-round submission win over Dylan Lockard.

The fight didn’t start out optimally for Brown, who got dropped by a Lockard right hand within the first 20 seconds of the opening frame. Brown quickly got the fight to the ground shortly after, but the Arkansas native, unfortunately, landed an illegal knee amidst the subsequent back-and-forth scrambles.

Referee Jason Herzog deducted a point from Brown for the incident, while Lockard seemingly composed himself and valiantly pushed on as best he could. The fun scrambles on the floor would continue into the second round, which saw Brown use his slick transitional skills to get on top, as well as things like cradles to kill Lockard’s sweep attempts from bottom.

The third round saw Brown come out much more energized than Lockard, which allowed him to dictate positions once again – an opportunity Brown used to sink in his patented head-and-arm choke off of a smooth transition from the back mount.

The illegal knee was an unfortunate part of the fight, but overcoming the mental and physical adversities of the first round spoke just as loud as Brown’s skills, which impressed me, as well. Featherweight is a deep division to dive into, so I say throw Brown into some fun matchups with the likes of Bobby Moffett or Sung Bin Jo to see how well he swims.


News | MMA Junkie
MMA Life