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DWCS Season 5: Almeida, Duraev score impressive submission wins, earn UFC contracts

Jailton Almeida and Albert Duraev scored big submission victories while Australia’s Jack Della Maddalena turned heads with an outstanding performance on the latest episode of Dana White’s Contender Serieson ESPN+.


Jailton Almeida defeated Nasurudin Nasrudinov via submission (rear naked choke)

Almeida threw two front kicks before shooting in on Nasurdinov barely ten seconds into this fight. Nasurdinov was able to block and counter with a head and arm throw. Almeida was close to sinking and rear naked choke but Nasrudinov defended well. As Nasrudinov threw low kicks without much success, Almeida was able to catch his leg, then attacked with a heel hook from a seated open guard. Almeida would score a beautiful outside trip to take Nasrudinov down one more time before the end of the first round.

Nasrudinov went for a flying knee early in the second round, but Almeida shut it down quickly, and again took Nasurdinov back to the mat. Just like in the first round, Almeida took his back, though this time slithered his way into a perfect rear naked choke, putting away the undefeated Nasurdinov at 1:49 into R2. His wrestling and jiu-jitsu looked awesome tonight.

Bantamweights: Mo Miller defeated Brandon Lewis

Tae Kwon Do black belt and teammate of UFC heavyweight Stipe Miocic, Maurice “Mo” Miller looked dominate in tonight’s final match where he took on Brandon Lewis.

Miller caught Lewis with a huge right haymaker and followed up with a single-leg takedown to put Lewis on the round. Miller peppered Lewis with more right hands on the ground, mostly from Miller’s closed guard. 

We saw Lewis catch Miller with a couple calf kicks early in this. Miller always had an answer or a couple counter-shots that looked and sounded a lot more painful than Lewis’ strikes. Miller has a clear snap to his kicks and some of his punches. 

Miller stuck with the low kick attack strategy but found himself back on the ground with Miller again coming down on Lewis with strikes from Lewis’ guard. Lewis attempted basic BJJ submissions from the guard position, including a few armlock attempts, but this is where Miller would pass Lewis’ guard, or at least allow Miller to improve his position. 

We saw more of the same in R3, with Lewis attempting to take Miller out with low kicks, and again Miller was able to convert one into a single-leg takedown. Miller spent a lot time in this on top, where he dominated. Lewis was able to stand up with a minute or so left in the fight, but Miller responded with a beautiful final double-leg. His wrestling was unstoppable tonight. Miller later won the match via unanimous decision, with each judge scoring the fight 30–27.

Middleweights: Albert Duraev defeated Caio Bittencourt via submission (neck crank)

Bittencourt ripped low kicks and rights in the first 30 seconds. Duraev neutralized him with a double-leg attempt that eventually brought Bittencourt to the mat. He’d eventually land in full mount atop Bittencourt, then moved to an S-mount to lock on a variation of the Dagestani Handcuff. Both of Bittencourt’s arms were locked down, with Duraev trapping his left the knee and the right with a behind-the-back wrist-clutch. Duraev unloaded a rapid-fire series of right hands into Bittencourt’s unprotected face. Bittencourt escaped, but if those shots were harder, Duraev would have finished Bittencourt here. Instead, he’d flatten Bittencourt out and finish him off minutes later with a brutal neck crank.

“Give me [Paulo] Costa, give me [Marvin] Vettori, anybody. I smash, no problem.”

Duraev immediately walked over and crouched in front of an amused Dana White at ringside. “Do you like?” Duraev asked. 

“I like,” White responded.

Duraev’s initiative was admirable. “Yes. Give me very good contract. I am smash anybody. Any champion, Israel [Adesanya] . . . it’s no problem. Give me. OK Dana?”

In his post-fight interview, Duraev mentioned that he’d hope he’d receive a UFC contract since he hasn’t fought in three years, and if he had a contract, he’d fight every month. 

“Give me [Paulo] Costa, give me [Marvin] Vettori, anybody. I smash, no problem.”

Heavyweights: Lukasz Brzeski defeated Dylan Potter via submission (rear naked choke)

Brzeski was aggressive from the top of this, low kicks and later some wild jab-cross combinations. Potter showed poise and withstood the Polish thunderstorm until he threw a low kick that Brzeski caught and used to take him to the mat. When Brzeski went for a Kimura lock, Potter floated over backwards and ended up on top of Brzeski, then brought the fight back to their feet. Brzeski was gassed by the end of the round but was still able to connect with a few heavy punches. Potter has a chin, though, and withstood a lot of punishment. Bisping said these two were quite even on their feet against each other, which is fair to say, though Brzeski felt like the aggressor while Potter functioned as counter-puncher primarily. 

Brzeski peeled Potter off the cage and used a bodylock to take him to the mat. He locked Potter in a crucifix and went to town the strikes but Potter was able to defend and stay relatively out of harm’s way, “relatively” the keyword in that sentence.

Brzeski took Potter down again with a double-leg, slowly, this time, as he looked gassed. With just over a minute left in the fight, he cinched in a brutal-looking neck crank. Potter looked like he tapped in the moment, but on second viewing it looked like Potter might have been trying to readjust his base throwing his arm up to Brzeski’s forearm, but because of how deep that choke was, it could have easily been viewed as a tap-out gesture in the moment. Potter immediately said he didn’t tap but followed up by saying he wouldn’t complain about the decision.

While it may not have been a tap, Potter should have grabbed for Brzeski’s arm earlier to signal to the ref that he was still actively defending.

Welterweights: Jack Della Maddalena defeated Ange Loosa (Unanimous decision)

Sean Shelby called Jack Della Maddalena the best prospect out of Australia at the moment. He is an ex-rugby player who, after turning to MMA and competing for companies like Eternal, now holds a 9–0 record.

Ange Loosa’s was Kamaru Usman’s sparring partner before Usman’s fight with Tyron Woodley. He was also 2012 Shooto European champion. He was born in Kinshasa, DRC but fights out of Switzerland. 

These two burst out of their corners at each other once this was underway. Both scored hard shots but it felt like an even fight until Della Maddalena threw a front kick that Loosa caught. Della Maddalena recovered and was able to block the takedown with a modified Granby roll, but he still couldn’t escape. Fantastic high-level scramble here. 

Somehow, Della Maddalena, who had thrown the initial front kick that got us to this point, was able to get back to his feet and take Loosa’s back for a moment before they were on their feet again. Loosa’s takedown attempt was a good one, but Della Maddalena’s proactive defense was amazing. 

Seconds later, Della Maddalena rocked Loosa with a right. This guy is a deadly boxer. His shots were crisp and accurate, and he landed a number of them. It’s not like Loosa is a random soup can in there, either. This round was easily 10–9 in Della Maddalena’s favor.

Della Maddalena wouldn’t let up in R2 and continued to connect flush with huge body shots and headshots. When he had Loosa against the cage, Della Maddalena caught Loosa with an inadvertent knee to the groin. While this was obviously unfortunate for Loosa, it was too for Della Maddalena because of how abruptly it cut off his rhythm. It looked to be a hard shot, and Loosa was audible shrieking.

When the back was match on, Della Maddalena threw a kick and slipped onto his back. Loosa capitalized and pounced into side-mount. He’d then apply what look to be a fully sunken-in arm triangle choke when Della Maddalena exploded, escaping and getting to his feet in seconds. The crowd at the UFC Apex went pretty wild for this. The 25-year-old Della Maddalena looked unshaken and continued throwing kicks and sharp elbows until the end of the round. 

This was the first time Della Maddalena had ever fought in the third round of a fight. Loosa went for a takedown early, but Della Maddalena’s defense was perfect. These were very good takedown attempts from Loosa, too. Della Maddalena himself went for a double of his own but Loosa was able to sprawl and stuff the attempt. Della Maddalena’s back was covered in Loosa’s blood; Loosa was caught late in R2 with an elbow that split him open above the eye. 

Loosa scored a huge double-leg in the last minute-and-a-half. Della Maddalena again tried to roll through with it but Loosa was able to shut it down. Loose fought from the top and tried passing Della Maddalena’s guard while he threw big shots. He was bleeding profusely by this point and had essentially given Della Maddalena a Brood-style bloodbath.

To escape, Della Maddalena gave up his back in an attempt to Granby roll his way out of Loosa’s control. It worked again, just as it did in R1. In the last ten seconds, Della Maddalena went wild and unloaded even more crazy shots, rips to the body, and one big massive high kick before the finish. 

Della Maddalena, who won via unanimous decision, is now 10–0. Loose looked very good here, too, but Della Maddalena is something else. Like, superstar-something else. He showed off next-level athleticism and superb technique. We don’t see many fighters who can box like Della Maddalena does in today’s MMA scene, and what’s crazy about that is how high-level his wrestling and counter-grappling was. Keep an eye on the Aussie for the rest of this year. 

Flyweights: Jasmine Jasudavicius defeated Julia Polastri (Unanimous decision)

Jasudavicius, from Canada, is a Silver medalist in Freestyle wrestling but has only been competing in MMA for two years. Polastri has competed for SHOOTO Brazil in the past.

Jasudavicius clinched early and brought Polastri to the mat immediately. She couldn’t fully pass to the mount, so Jasudavicius started dropping elbows and fists to try and make something happen. Polastri was able to hold Jasudavicius in half-guard and stay mostly safe, but it was clearly a defensive stall. In the last thirty seconds, Jasudavicius had Polastri fully mounted and rained down punches until the end-of-round horn sounded. Jasudavicius would have gotten the stoppage if this had happened a minute earlier. This would turn out to be a 10–8 round across the judges’ board in the end.

Between rounds, Polastri’s corner told her that Jasudavicius doesn’t want to stand up and strike with her, so at the beginning of R2, she came out doing just that. Polastri was aggressive with her boxing and landed a few serious shots, but Jasudavicius again clinched up and took her to the ground again, but not for too long. 

Back on their feet, Polastri did the “come on” hand gesture to get Jasudavicius to engage in more of a kickboxing fight, but again, Jasudavicius put her on the mat with a double-leg takedown. Polastri locked in a guillotine choke but Jasudavicius escaped. I’d call this 10–9 Jasudavicius but Polastri showed up late in this and scored more significant strikes by the end of the round.

Polastri on her feet is an entirely different fighter than on the ground, because as the fight wound down, she had really changed the tempo of the match and in her favor. Jasudavicius is a decent striker but the power clearly wasn’t there. Polastri had 47 significant strikes scompared with Jasudavicius’ 33.

Jasudavicius scored a huge double-leg with a minute-and-a-half to go in the match. She threw elbows and hammerfists until the finish. If she hadn’t gotten the late takedown, Polastri would have absolutely taken the round.

Jasudavicius’ dominant first round dominance sealed the deal for her in this, but this was much closer than the result appears to be on paper. Polastri showed up towards the end and proved her striking ability.

Contract awards

Dana White awarded contracts to Jasmine Jasudavicius, Jack Della Maddalena, Lukasz Brzenski, Albert Duraev and Jailton Almeida on tonight’s episode.

Despite winning his bout, Mo Miller did not receive and contract tonight. White said with more experience he will most likely see Williams in UFC soon.

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