- Dana White’s Contender Series returns on Tuesday, August 19, 2019
- Five fights are scheduled to take place at the UFC Apex gym, headlined by Leon Shahbazyan vs. Philip Rowe
- See all the odds plus fight predictions below
Dana White’s Contender Series, which features top MMA prospects competing for a chance to secure a UFC contract in front of White and matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard, resumes in Week 9 with another five fights at the UFC Apex gym with the action starting at 8:00 pm EST on Tuesday night (Aug. 19th).
Below, find odds, previews, and predictions for each bout on Tuesday’s card.
Leon Shahbazyan vs Philip Rowe Odds
|Leon Shahbazyan (7-1)||-200|
|Philip Rowe (6-2)||+150|
*All odds as of 08/19/19.
Leon Shahbazyan will indeed get a shot on the Contender Series after all.
The brother of UFC middleweight Edmen Shahbazyan was originally set to fight in Week 1 but he was deemed medically unfit. He is riding a three-fight winning streak and is a submission specialist with five of his wins by tap-out. For Shahbazyan to win this fight, he will no doubt want to get it to the ground.
Rowe, meanwhile, started out 0-2 and has won six straight fights. Although he has submission wins, he’s not as good on the ground as Shahbazyan. He will want to keep this fight on the feet.
My prediction is that Shahbazyan will win this fight by submission and earn a UFC contract.
Pick: Leon Shahbazyan (-200)
Marcos Brigagao vs Jamal Pogues Odds
|Marcus Brigagao (11-0)||-110|
|Jamal Pogues (6-2)||-130|
Brigagao vs Rowe is a very intriguing light-heavyweight bout which will likely see someone get knocked out.
It is rare to see the odds for a Contender Series fight this close, and I am surprised that Pogues is the favorite. I think Brigagao is the better fighter and should win.
Pogues does have some notable wins, but has also been facing lesser competition, including six fighters with a .500 record or worse. Ultimately, I think Brigagao will win this fight by KO/TKO in the first or second round.
Pick: Marcus Brigagao (-110)
Desmond Torres vs Steve Garcia Odds
|Desmond Torres (7-1)||-160|
|Steve Garcia (9-3)||+120|
In the bantamweight division, Desmond Torres looks like the real deal. The 22-year-old has been fighting in promotions like Bellator, LFA, and King of the Cage and has looked very impressive. He has excellent jiu-jitsu and his opponent, Steve Garcia, has been submitted before.
Garcia has fought some top-level fighters, like former Bellator champ Joe Warren, and he’s a live dog here. But I really like what I have seen from Torres and he should win this fight by submission.
Pick: Desmond Torres (-160)
Micol diSegni vs Mallory Martin Odds
|Micol diSegni (7-2)||+200|
|Mallory Martin (4-2)||-300|
A rare strawweight bout on the Contender Series pits two promising prospects against one another. Although diSegni has more experience, it is Martin who is the favorite because of what she has done in Invicta.
One of her two losses is to Maycee Barber, a rising star in the UFC, but I am not sure the odds have it right here. This is a fight where the experience in diSegni could be a factor. It is a super-close fight to call and at +200, the value is on diSegni.
Pick: Micol diSegni (+200)
Ricky Steele vs Phil Caracappa Odds
|Ricky Steele (5-0)||-175|
|Phil Caracappa (8-0)||+135|
Another bantamweight bout is on the card between two fighters who both should really be in the UFC. Steele was on The Ultimate Fighter 27 where he beat Suman Mokhtarian by decision but has not fought since.
He was well-liked by the UFC brass to win be brought onto the Contender Series where it will be a close fight, but I think Steele gets it done. However, he doesn’t finish fights so I don’t think he will do enough to earn a UFC contract.
Pick: Ricky Steele (-175)
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