Dana White's Contender Series

MMA Sucka’s Dana White’s Contender Series 40 Staff Picks

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The fifth season of Dana White’s Contender Series nears its halfway point tonight with Dana White’s Contender Series 40, and the MMA Sucka staff has picked who they think the night’s winners will be. The five-fight card is set to take place at 8pm ET/5pm PT tonight, airing only on ESPN+.

Stay tuned to MMA Sucka this Saturday for the UFC 266 staff picks.

Dana White’s Contender Series 40 Fights

Middleweights Hashem Arkhagha and AJ Dobson will meet in the main event of the night. Both fighters will be looking to earn a UFC contract with a win, while the other will experience the first loss of their professional career.

A 32 year old native of Jordan, “Cavaca” Arkhagha has finished all six of his wins, with the last two coming under the UAE Warriors and Brave CF banners. The 29 year old Ohio native Dobson has finished all but one of his fights, including a 35-second KO over former Contender Series competitor Kailan Hill.

The co-main event is at welterweight, as Michael Morales fights Nikolay Veretennikov. The 21 year old Ecuadorian Morales has won 11 fights in a row to start his career, with all but one of them coming by finish. He will take on 31 year old Kazakh Veretennikov, who survived a 1-3 start to his career to win eight fights in a row. Most recently, Veretennikov took only two minutes to take out UFC veteran Anthony Ivy at Fury FC 46, in front of UFC president Dana White on his YouTube show Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight.

Staff Picks

Throughout the calendar year, staff picks will be composed of main card fights from both UFC and Bellator events. Main card fights and selected preliminary fights will be selected for PFL MMA. Dana White’s Contender Series will be composed of the full fight card.

The WINNER of staff picks in 2021 will have a choice between receiving a custom-made championship belt from ProAmBelts or a chain from Championship Chains. For the third straight year, Michael DeSantis captured the 2020 victory compiling a record of 201-88.

See our Dana White’s Contender Series 40 staff picks below.


Staff Records after Bellator 266 and UFC Vegas 37

1. Nate Freeman: 166-94
2. Wesley Riddle: 163-97
3. Michael DeSantis: 161-99
4. Frazer Krohn: 148-112
5. Ash Camyab: 142-99
6T. Jeremy Brand: 140-120
6T. Mike Lynch: 140-110
7. Andrew Benjamin: 115-118
8. Mitchell Banuelos: 107-89
9. Tim Wheaton: 100-78
10. Brandon Joint: 71-36
11. Matt Bricker: 57-57
12. Chris Presnell: 44-20
13. Amanda Grace: 13-8
14T. Steven Irvine: 9-7
14T. Al Mac: 9-2

*Note – not all staff pick for every event*


Jacob Rosales (13-6) vs. Victor Martinez (12-4)

Jeremy Brand: Martinez via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Rosales via Unanimous Decision
Michael DeSantis: Rosales via Unanimous Decision
Ash Camyab: Rosales via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Rosales via Unanimous Decision
Mike Lynch: Rosales via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: Rosales via Split Decision
Chris Presnell: Martinez via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Rosales: 6
Staff picking Martinez: 2


Kleydson Rodrigues (6-1) vs. Santo Curatolo (6-1)

Jeremy Brand: Curatolo via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Curatolo via Round 1 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Curatolo via Round 2 TKO
Ash Camyab: Curatolo via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Rodrigues via Unanimous Decision
Mike Lynch: Curatolo via TKO
Nate Freeman: Curatolo via Round 2 TKO
Chris Presnell: Curatolo via Round 1 TKO

Staff picking Rodrigues: 1
Staff picking Curatolo: 7


Steven Nguyen (7-1) vs. Theo Rlayang (5-0)

Jeremy Brand: Nguyen via Round 2 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Nguyen via Round 2 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Nguyen via Round 2 TKO
Ash Camyab: Nguyen via Round 3 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Nguyen via Round 3 TKO
Mike Lynch: Rlayang via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: Nguyen via Unanimous Decision
Chris Presnell: Nguyen via Round 2 TKO

Staff picking Nguyen: 7
Staff picking Rlayang: 1


Michael Morales (11-0) vs. Nikolay Veretennikov (9-3)

Jeremy Brand: Veretennikov via Round 1 Submission
Wesley Riddle: Veretennikov via Unanimous Decision
Michael DeSantis: Veretennikov via Round 2 TKO
Ash Camyab: Veretennikov via Round 2 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Morales via Unanimous Decision
Mike Lynch: Morales via TKO
Nate Freeman: Veretennikov via Round 1 TKO
Chris Presnell: Veretennikov via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Morales: 2
Staff picking Veretennikov: 6


Hashem Arkhagha (6-0) vs. AJ Dobson (5-0, 1 NC)

Jeremy Brand: Dobson via Round 2 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Dobson via Round 1 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Dobson via Round 2 TKO
Ash Camyab: Arkhagha via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Dobson via Round 2 TKO
Mike Lynch: Dobson via TKO
Nate Freeman: Dobson via Round 3 TKO
Chris Presnell: Dobson

Staff picking Arkhagha: 1
Staff picking Dobson: 7

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Nate Freeman is from Birmingham, AL, and has been an MMA fan since 2013 after buying UFC Undisputed 2009 for $2 from a second-hand electronics store.

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