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DWCS Season 5: Quinlan and Vergara score quick first-round TKOs

Josh Quinlan, Chidi Njokuani, and CJ Vergara scored big TKOs on the latest episode of Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) this week.

Welterweights: Josh Quinlan defeated Logan Urban via TKO (punches)

This was a mugging: Josh Quinlan extended his undefeated streak to 6–0 after bulldozing Logan Urban in 0:47. Once his first massive right connected with Urban’s head, Quinlan was relentless. He punched the life out of Urban.

In his post-fight interview, Quinlan was almost serene as he talked about wanting to cut off Urban’s range early in the bout. He put over his teammates, too, before wrapping up with Laura Sanko.

Middleweights: Chidi Nkojuani defeated Mario Sousa via TKO (elbows)

Sousa launched a hard front kick into Njokuani’s solar plexus not even ten seconds into this. Njoukuani, who is the younger brother of former UFC and WEC fighter Anthony Nkojuani, answered with a similar kick seconds later. There wasn’t much action between the two until a few minutes into this, when the two were up against the cage. Sousa tried a standing hammer choke that Njoukuani shut down quickly. Sousa blasted Njokuani with an accidentally knee to the groin that sounded brutal.

After a time-out, Nkojuani returned and threw a hard high kick. Sousa sounded like he knee’d Nkojuani in the cup again before both fell to the mat. On replay, it was clear Sousa connected. Minutes later, Sousa actually connected again with Nkojuani’s groin and ref Herb Dean had to call for another time-out. These were not light shots, either: At least two of Sousa’s knees were full-blast into Njokuani’s nether regions. Nkojuani took just over three minutes before coming back to the match. He caught Sousa with a great straight jab before taking him back to the mat.

R3 was short. Nkojuani caught Sousa with a hard jumping knee to the sternum that put him on the mat. From here, Nkojuani showered Sousa with punches for a good minute or so, but when he started throwing elbows, Sousa didn’t have an answer, and Dean immediately stopped the fight. Great showing from Nkojuani here, especially after three low blows.

Bantamweights: Saimon Oliveira defeated Jose Alday via split decision (29–28, 28–29, 29–28)

One interesting note about Muay Thai fighter Oliveira is that, according to Laura Sanko on commentary, it was Brazilian luta livre, the Brazilian version of catch wrestling, that improved his fighting and put him on the trajectory that got him to DWCS.

These two had an explosive exchange of high-level kickboxing and Muay Thai over the first half of R1. Oliveira went for a double-leg takedown, one that according to Daniel Cormier he telegraphed so badly that he “saw it coming from San Jose.” Oliveira did get finish the takedown, however, but landed in Alday’s open guard. Oliveira would eventually pass to side control and tried setting up an arm triangle but couldn’t swing it before the end of R1.

Alday connected with some nasty shots in the first minute of R2, forcing Oliveira to go for an earlier takedown attempt then he assumedly wanted. Oliveira held Alday in a whizzer with his back against the cage. Alday pummeled through and got his underhooks. Oliveira broke away again and the two boxed more. Oliveira grazed Alday with a spinning back-fist at one point.

Oliveira came at Alday with a flying knee at the top of R3 but it didn’t fully connect. Alday answered back with a hard body kick. Oliveira caught Alday with a hard left hook and a straight right, then took him down and went to possibly choke Alday out from the mount, but Alday pulled Oliveira into his guard. The announcers were critical of Oliveira not capitalizing on the inital shot, and of his choice to take Alday down. Referee Mike Beltran ordered the two to improve their position or be stood up. Alday was bleeding onto Oliveira’s back and it was visible when both got to their feet again. The striking scores at the end were Oliveira with 79 (39 head, 17 body, 23 leg) to Alday’s 73 (47 head, 21 body, 5 leg). This was well-contested, with Oliveira edging out Alday with in the workrate department, apparently.

Flyweights: CJ Vegara defeated Bruno Korea (TKO, knee to the body)

Korea (pronounced ko-RAY-uh) is a Muay Thai and Tae Kwon Do champion and was also on TUF: Brazil. Former backyard fighter CJ Vergara is the current Fury Flyweight champion and was described as the underdog going into this.

Korea went for a jumping knee but missed early. Vergara caught Korea with a nice combination that brought Korea to his knees. Vergara cinched in a standing neck crank and began launching knees into Korea’s head. When Vergara let go, he caught Korea with a hard knee to the body that he actually threw at a right angle. It landed right in the liver. Referee Herb Dean put an immediate stop to the match; CJ Vergara wins in absolutely dominate fashion in under a minute here. Vergara, who was said to have been reading a lot of Alan Watts recently, is now on a 5–0 winning streak.

Vergara talked about how nervous he was the morning before the fight in his post-match interview. Vergara explained that he and his coaches knew that Korea would go for flashy TKD kicks and that he needed to get Korea on his back foot against the cage early on. They cut to Vergara’s family watch party in Laredo, Tex., who were absolutely losing their minds for their boy.

Bantamweights: Chad Anheliger defeated Muin Gafurov via split decision (29–28, 28–29, 29–28)

Gafurov is first fighter on the show from Tajikistan and is a two-time world Sambo champion. Gafurov went in strong and committed to a double-leg takedown that Anheliger defended with a guillotine choke. Anheliger didn’t have a good angle nor any power behind the choke, so Gafurov slipped behind him to take his back. Gafurov then peeled Anheliger off the cage with a waistlock and took his back again, this time grapevining his legs through Anheliger’s for full body control. Gafurov’s pace and technique were similar to Khabib’s, especially in the way he controlled Anheliger against the cage.

Round 2 saw Gafurov again take Anheliger down with a forceful double-leg shot and again Anheliger defended with a guilitione /Von Flue choke, though this time more deeply sunk in, but Gafurov escaped and had Anheliger’s back against the cage just like he did in the first round. Gafurov tripped Anheliger, bringing him to the ground, but Anheliger was up after half a minute or so. Up until this point, it felt like we were watching a mirror version of Round 1, that was until Anheliger escaped back to his feet and exploded with strikes. Gafurov hung in there with him, but the scrap ended prematurely when Gafurov caught Anheliger with an inadvertent knee below the belt.

After a short time-out, the fight was back on. Gafurov slammed Anheliger to the mat after peeling him off the cage again. By this point in the match Gafurov had earned five takedowns already.

Gafurov caught Anheliger with a hard right before trying to take Anheliger down again. Anheliger did a good job of defending Gafurov’s takedown this time and was able to stay on his feet. Anheliger landed a few knees; Gafurov fought for more takedowns but also landed hard shots. Gafurov caught Anheliger with a big left hook in the last minute of R3, one that made even the announcers gasp. They exchanged bombs in the last ten seconds of this.

Anheliger somehow won this via split decision. He was a huge underdog in the betting odds going into this. While Anheliger did show off improved takedown defense toward the end of the fight, Gafurov clearly won each round 10–9.

Contract awards

Dana White said that despite Chad Anheliger not doing enough to really finish off his fight against Muin Gafurov, his 9–0 win streak and his 5:1 underdog betting line coming into the fight, he would still award Anheliger a UFC contract.

White also mentioned that CJ Vergara was a 2:1 underdog heading into tonight’s fight before awarding him a contract, as well.

White described Saimon Oliveira vs. Jose Alday as a dogfight before awarding Oliveira his UFC contract. He later praised Chidi Nkojuani for his fight and awarded him a contract, as well.

Before the end of the show, White said he wrote “holy shit!” on his notes during Josh Quinlan’s fight before awarding him a contract.

Full results

Josh Quinlan def. Logan Urban via KO (punches) – Round 1, 0:47

Chidi Njokuani def. Mario Sousa via TKO (elbows) – Round 3, 1:35

Saimon Oliveira def. Jose Alday via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Carlos Vergara def. Bruno Korea via TKO (knee to the body) – Round 1, 0:41

Chad Anheliger def. Muin Gafurov via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

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