In the second last episode of the third season of Dana White’s Contender Series, 10 more fighters compete for their spot on the UFC roster. 

Bout 1: Ricky Steele (5-0) vs. Phil Caracappa (8-0) (Bantamweight)

The first fight of the evening was a battle of two undefeated fighters. Ricky Steele was a competitor on Season 27 of The Ultimate Fighter, but withdrew after one fight due to injury. Phil Caracappa has found eight fights in the Ring of Combat promotion. Caracappa came forward with punches early on. They clinched up against the cage for a few moments and then separated again. Caracappa tried for a takedown for a whole minute before landing it. They got back up with two minutes left. Caracappa got another takedown in the final minute of the first round. Steele got up, but Caracappa stayed on his back. They went back to the ground with Steele in top position as the round ended. Steele got a takedown in the first minute of the second round, landing an elbow from above before trying for a guillotine. They got up and went back into clinch against the cage. In stand-up, Caracappa tried for another takedown but couldn’t get it. After being in clinch up against the cage for a while, Steele let his hands go, throwing a few punches. They went back to the ground in the final moments of the round as Caracappa slipped after missing a kick. They went back up against the cage in the final round. Steele landed a good elbow in this position. Caracappa landed some elbows which had Steel retreating. Steele got a takedown but found himself in a guillotine attempt. He escaped the hold and stayed on the bottom position until the round ended. In a split decision, Ricky Steele was favoured on two of the three scorecards (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2  Round 3 Total
Steele 9 10 9 28
Caracappa 10 9 10 29

Bout 2: Micol di Segni (7-2) vs. Mallory Martin (4-2) (Strawweight)

In the lighest weight class bout of the night, Italian fighter Micol di Segni faced Mallory Martin. After a minute of stand-up, Martin scored a takedown. Martin was in complete control on top position, transitioning seamlessly from side control to half guard many times, and while doing all of this landed strikes. Segni got up against the cage eventually, but Martin brought them back down short after. When they stood back up, Martin tried for a guillotine but wasn’t successful. They went back to striking for the final seconds of the first round. The first half of the second round had both fighters showing decend striking. Martin got a trip takedown. They got back up with a minute left in the second round. Martin got a second takedown as the round ended. Segni was getting absolutely dominated. In the final round, Segni was landing knees in a standing clinch. The fight went the distance with Mallory Martin getting the win (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Segni 9 9 9 27
Martin 10 10 10 30

Bout 3: Desmond Torres (7-1) vs. Steve Garcia Jr. (9-3) (Bantamweight)

In the third fight of the evening, bantamweights Desmond Torres and Steve Garcia Jr. faced off. When the match started you could tell Garcia had a huge size advantage. Torres chased after a takedown early in the fight but didn’t get it. After both fighters threw tons of strikes in a short amount of time, Torres got a single leg takedown which Garcia got up from immediately. Near the end of the first round, Garcia started to string together lots of shots, making Torres go into total defensive mode. Torres fell on the canvas and was given a few hammerfist strikes before the fight ended. Worth noting that Garcia missed weight for this fight (139.5 lbs in a 130 lb bout).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Torres
Garcia Jr.

Bout 4: Marcos Brigagao (11-0) vs. Jamal Pogues (6-2) (Light Heavyweight)

In the co-main event of the show, undefeated light heavyweight Marcos Brigagao faced Jamal Pogues. Right off the bat they were trading hard punches. Pogues scored a takedown a minute later. Pogues was clearly the better ground fighter. He tried for an armbar but couldn’t get it. When they stood back up in the final minute of the round, Pogues landed a good knee. Pogues got a third takedown to close out the round. Brigagao threatened a triangle choke but lost it. Pogues had another great round, landing many more takedowns and strikes in many positions. The final round felt like an identical one to the two before, with Pogues landing many more takedowns and grinding away at the tough Brigagao. The fight went the distance with Jamal Pogues getting the unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Brigagao 9 9
Pogues 10 10

Bout 5: Leon Shahbazyan (7-1) vs. Philip Rowe (6-2) (Welterweight)

The main event of this episode was Leon Shahbazyan versus Philip Rowe in a welterweight bout. After a minute of close stand-up, Shahbazyan caught a leg and took down Rowe, landing punches on the ground. Rowe got back up but was in full defense mode. Rowe had his moments in the round but Shahbazyan never backed down. Rowe put Shahbazyan up against the cage in the first minute of the second round. With Shahbazyan up against the cage, Rowe started to land a ton of punches. Shahbazyan possibly saved himself by landing a takedown. Rowe landed some shots in top position on the ground. Rowe had a large flurry of strikes at the end of the round, with the horn potentially saving Shahbazyan. Rowe had a quick start to the final round, dropping Shahbazyan with strikes and landing a few more before referee Herb Dean ended it. Rowe was able to overcome a failed first round, turning the tides and closing the show in the following six minutes. Philip Rowe came off as a real character in his post-fight interview.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Shahbazyan 10 9
Rowe 9 10

At the end of the night, Dana White awarded a contract to Philip Rowe.