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DWCS Season 5, Week 5: Charismatic Poteiria scores impressive TKO, earns UFC contract

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Light Heavyweights: Ihor Poteiria defeated Lukasz Sudolski via TKO (punches) 3:41 R1

Poteiria launched a couple big haymakers that connected with Sudolski’s head in the first 30 seconds. Sudolski was staggered. Sudolski kept grabbing the cage and ref Jason Herzog was good in keeping him in check. He landed an inadvertent low blow moments later as they were clinched against the cage.

Before the end of the round, Poteiria caught Sudolski with a sharp elbow, and he must have smelled blood from here because he launched massive one-two combination which leveled Sudolski. After nine or ten smashes later, it was over. Poteiria with the explosive win at the end of R1.

He did a funky celebration dance afterwards. He might be giving Valentina Shevchenko a run for her money.

In his post-fight interview, he did his best to speak English with Laura Sanko and said he’d be more improved within a year. This guy is so charismatic. He ham’d it up for the camera while his translator interpreted the rest of what he said, pec-popping through most of it. As Poteiria walked to the back, he shouted “USA! LAS VEGAS! UFC BIG BOSS DANA WHITE!

Middleweights: Caio Borralho defeated Aaron Jeffery via unanimous decision (29–28, 29–28, 30–27)

Jeffery, who trains with Sean Strickland and Michael Chiesa at Syndicate, was on DWCS Season 3 where he fell to Brendan Allen. We’ve covered some of Jeffery’s win-streak here ahead of his return match against Caio Borralho tonight. He looked super-focused heading into the match. “Fighting Nerd” Borralho is a quite a character. He really pushed the fight-nerd gimmick in his pre-fight vignette.

On commentary, Paul Felder mentioned how Borralho’s stance was similar to karate-rooted fighters like Lyota Machida or Conor McGregor.

Jeffery caught Borralho with a big right early on. He did a good job of keeping Borralho against the cage. Borralho seemed to really want to catch Jeffery with a jumping knee all round long. Jeffery kept the pressure on Borralho but got clipped a few times. Mark Davis warned Borralho to keep his fingers inside the gloves. Borralho scored more significant strikes but Jeffery was in control of the pace over R1.

Borralho took Jeffery down early with a double-leg but Jeffery slipped out after a few moments. Borralho kept going for the flying knee but it wouldn’t connect. Jeffery connected with a right elbow. He forced Borralho against the fence again, but Borralho was never in much danger. He peppered Jeffery with jabs, then took him down with a big hip toss. He’s a judo brown belt, by the way.

Jeffery again dictated the pace in R2, but it never felt like he could pull the trigger with Borralho against the cage. The “Fighting Nerd” defended beautifully while he racked up strikes on the scorecard as he was tied up against the cage.

Jeffery was most aggressive in R3, but it might have been too late. Again, he kept Borralho against the cage, and again, Borralho tried landing the jumping knee. Borralho’s counter-fighting was his most impressive characteristic coming out of this fight.

Borralho tripped Jeffery at one point. He scored three big takedowns total in the match. Borralho had him beat on strikes and takedowns alone, but since most of this fight took place vertically against the cage it made it hard to gauge either’s true ability.

Borralho put out an informal challenge to Sean Strickland from Jeffery’s gym in his post-fight interview with Laura Sanko.

Lightweights: Daniel Zellhuber defeated Lucas Almeida via unanimous decision (29–28, 29–28, 29–28)

Zellhuber went into this undefeated at 11–0 with nine finishes, while Lucas Almeida came in at 12–0 with a 100% finish rate (four submissions, eight KOs). The 22-year-old Zellhuber is two inches taller and had a wild six-inch reach advantage over Almeida.

This was an excellent fight. We saw fireworks between the two as soon as the horn sounded with Almeida getting the better of the scrap. He was connecting with huge heavy-handed bombs before Zellhuber clinched up and pressed the fight against the cage. Almeida was relentless, and Zellhuber couldn’t keep him stationary for more than a few seconds. Almeida’s kickboxing and Muay Thai experience shined through immediately in this fight. He had scored more than 62 significant strikes before the end of the first. Almeida mauled this young man.

Zellhuber showed supreme toughness in eating a lot of Almeida’s shots. He blasted out of his corner at the beginning of R2 and was even able to pull off a high-angle hip toss to lay Almeida out. Zellhuber tried punching out a finish from half-guard, Almeida escaped to his feet. He ate a few hard punches on the ground though.

He found the right range on his feet later in the R2, and from here he was able to capitalize and dominate the rest of the round, where he’d land a Question Mark kick flush against Almeida’s face, and finally score a short takedown before the horn sounded. What a comeback from Zellhuber.

Almeida was more aggressive in R3. He was head-hunting for a knockout, that was clear, but Zellhuber had already found his range and dodged a lot of hard shots Almeida threw. Zellhuber taunted Almeida a bit, too, very Anderson Silva-esque in his bobbing and weaving.

Zellhuber won via unanimous decision, though I have no clue how anyone could have judged R1 in favor of Zellhuber. It came off as very insulting toward Almeida, who came close to finishing Zellhuber in the first. Regardless of the decision, both should be commended for their fight, especially Zellhuber who made a hell of a comeback.

Heavyweights: Rizvan Kuniev defeated Edivan Santos via TKO (ground strikes)

While both are 6’4″, Kuniev came in weighing 31.5 lbs. heavier than Santos. Before the match, the announcers explained that many feel Santos didn’t have a reputable record coming into this because he hadn’t faced off against any top-level talent before.

Kuniev threw a few low kicks early. Santos connected with a few hard punches in response. Kuniev clinched to slow Santos’ pace.

Kuniev grazed Santos’ groin with a knee when they were up against the cafe, and moments later, Santos caught Kuniev with an eye-poke. Referee Mark Davis was forced to call two time-outs half-way through the first round.

Kuniev’s strategy to clinch up against the fence and drag Santos to the mat finally worked. Santos went for a Kimura but Kuniev escaped and both were back to their feet and against the cage until the end of the round.

Kuniev applied the same strategy over the first half of R2, pressuring Santos against the cage in the clinch, landing what shots he could, then eventually peeling Santos from the cage and turning that into a takedown. He slammed Santos to the mat here, and with a lot more force than his first takedown earlier in R1. Santos again went for a Kimura from the bottom, but he let go when Kuniev started dropping heavy elbows and fists.

R3 saw more of the same from Kuniev, and it wasn’t a minute into the fight when Kuniev had shoved Santos against the fence, bodylock-slammed him to the mat and ground-‘n’-pounded his way to a TKO finish. It wasn’t the prettiest fight, but Kuniev dominated pretty much from start to finish. Kuniev is now on a nine-fight win streak.

In his post-fight interview with Laura Sanko, Kuniev explained he couldn’t really see out of his left eye because of Santos’ eyepoke in R1.

Contracts

Only two contracts were awarded this week, which went to Daniel Zellhuber and Ihor Poteiria. Zellhuber was on crutches and said he might have broke his foot in his fight against Poteiria.

Before the end of the show, Dana White talked about how UFC is planning to build a Performance Institute in Mexico, with plans for Puerto Rico and, eventually a PI in Africa.

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