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Contender Series: Five fights, five finishes, three new UFC deals

The final edition in the latest series of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series delivered a full house of finishes

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Rising prospects Bobby Moffett, Kennedy Nzechukwu and Devonte Smith each earned UFC deals after the latest instalment of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series delivered another feast of finishes at The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas.

All five fights delivered finishes, leaving White with a selection headache, and in the end the UFC boss selected featherweight Moffett, light-heavyweight Nzechukwu and lightweight Smith after their impressive wins.

Here’s how the night unfolded…

Gone in 17 seconds

Former NFL star Greg Hardy made his second appearance on the Contender Series after earning a developmental contract in his first showing.

And his second bout inside the cage was even more emphatic than his first, as he finished Tebaris Gordon in just 17 seconds in the night’s featured bout.

The fight itself was barely a contest. Hardy just overwhelmed Gordon with a furious flurry of fists that didn’t end until Gordon hit the canvas and referee Herb Dean waved off the contest.

It was all done in just 17 seconds, and added more fuel to the theory that Hardy, despite still being green, may be ready for the UFC right now.

But UFC president White pumped the brakes on those suggestions, saying: “He needs more time.”

Smith delivers knockout blow

Lightweight prospect Devonte Smith registered an impressive knockout win as he punished Joe Lowry’s takedown attempt in devastating fashion.

Smith looked relaxed and confident as the bout got underway but, after some early striking exchanges, Lowry shot in for a double-leg takedown as he looked to take the Ohio native to the mat.

But Smith was wise to the takedown attempt and defended well, answering back with a salvo of punishing elbows that knocked out Lowry at the 2:52 mark.

The win gave Smith his eighth career win, with all eight coming inside the distance and seven of them coming via KO/TKO.

Returning prospect Nzechukwu improves on his form

Light-heavyweight Kennedy Nzechukwu picked up a win in his first appearance on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, but his split-decision win last August wasn’t enough to land him a UFC contract.

Nzechukwu returned for a second bite of the cherry this week and delivered a far more decisive performance, as the six-foot-five 205-pounder scored a 108-second TKO finish of Dennis Bryant.

A huge head kick did the damage, dropping Bryant to the mat, where Nzechukwu met him with a barrage of ground strikes to force referee Herb Dean to call it off and give the unbeaten prospect a fourth KO/TKO win from his six career wins.

Moffett grinds his way to submission win

Bobby Moffett earned his spot on the Contender Series thanks to an impressive win in front of Dana White during an episode of Looking For A Fight, and the MMA Lab prospect used his grappling skills to good effect to secure the eighth submission finish of his career and finish Jacob Kilburn in their featherweight bout.

Moffett started out looking to throw hands, and connected with a solid right before landing a takedown and setting about moving into position for a submission finish.

And, as the clock ticked past the one minute mark, Kilburn locked up a D’Arce choke and put on the squeeze to force the tap.

Gritty Gilpin impresses with submission finish

Alex Gilpin kicked off the night with an impressive submission as he finished JR Coughran with a D’Arce choke after a back-and-forth featherweight battle.

The pair went at each other from the very start, with both men looking to score an eye-catching early knockout finish. But the bout went Gilpin’s way when he found a higher gear after sustaining a cut near his right eye.

Gilpin battled hard to the end of a striking-heavy opening round, then went to his grappling in the second stanza, as he locked up a D’Arce choke for the win.

Official Results

Heavyweight bout
Greg Hardy defeats Tebaris Gordon
TKO (punches) at 0:17 minutes of R1

Lightweight bout
Devonte Smith defeats Joe Lowry
Knockout (punches) at 2:52 minutes of R1

Light-heavyweight bout
Kennedy Nzechukwu defeats Dennis Bryant
TKO (head kick and punches) at 1:48 minutes of R1

Featherweight bout
Bobby Moffett vs Jacob Kilburn
Submission (D’Arce choke) at 1:02 minutes of R2

Featherweight bout
Alex Gilpin defeats JR Coughlan
Submission (D’Arce choke) at 1:55 minutes of R2

Freelance sports writer and MMA reporter with 19 years’ experience in the UK national media. UFC/MMA Reporter: BBC Three. News Editor: ONE Championship.

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