Dana White's Contender Series

MMA Sucka’s Dana White Contender Series 41 Staff Picks

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

Stay tuned to MMA Sucka later this week for the Bellator 267 and UFC Vegas 38 staff picks.

Dana White’s Contender Series 40 Fights

Light heavyweights Lukasz Sudolski and Igor Poterya will meet in the main event of the night. Both European fighters will be looking to earn a UFC contract with a win.

Poland’s 28 year old “Pchela” Sudolski sports a spotless 8-0 record going into this fight, with six of those wins coming by finish. Mostly competing in Polish promotion Babilon MMA, Sudolski also trains out of one of Poland’s most notable gyms in Berserkers Team. Ukraine’s 25 year old “Duelist” Poterya has nearly three times as many professional fights as Sudolski, holding a record of 19-2, including a current six-fight winning streak. Poterya has been competing at middleweight over his last few fights, but will make the move back up to 205 for this fight.

The co-main event is between two 7-0 lightweights, as Manuel Gaxhja fights Chris Duncan. The 24 year old Albanian Gaxhja now trains out of the Netherlands and has not fought since February 2019. That fight was his first in over a year previously, meaning he has only fought once since November 2017. Going into his fights, his seven previous opponents sported a combined record of 3-5. Scotland’s “The Problem” Duncan, meanwhile, has finished all of his fights, with three of them coming under the Bellator banner.

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 41 staff picks below.


Staff Records after UFC 266

1. Nate Freeman: 173-97
2. Wesley Riddle: 170-100
3. Michael DeSantis: 168-102
4. Frazer Krohn: 156-114
5. Ash Camyab: 148-103
6. Jeremy Brand: 147-123
7. Mike Lynch: 146-114
8. Andrew Benjamin: 119-119
9. Mitchell Banuelos: 107-89
10. Tim Wheaton: 103-80
11. Brandon Joint: 71-36
12. Matt Bricker: 57-57
13. Chris Presnell: 52-22
14. Amanda Grace: 13-8
15T. Steven Irvine: 9-7
15T. Al Mac: 9-2

*Note – not all staff pick for every event*


Rizvan Kuniev (10-2-1) vs. Edivan Santos (12-2)

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

Staff picking Kuniev: 8

Staff picking Santos: 0


Lucas Almeida (12-0) vs. Daniel Zellhuber (11-0)

Jeremy Brand: Almeida via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Zellhuber via Round 1 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Zellhuber via Round 2 TKO
Ash Camyab: Almeida via Unanimous Decision
Andrew Benjamin: Almeida via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Almeida via Unanimous Decision
Mike Lynch: Zellhuber via TKO
Nate Freeman: Zellhuber via Split Decision
Chris Presnell: Zellhuber via Round 2 TKO

Staff picking Almeida: 2
Staff picking Zellhuber: 6


Aaron Jeffery (10-2) vs. Caio Borralho (8-1)

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

Staff picking Jeffery: 8
Staff picking Borralho: 0


Fight Cancelled

Manuel Gaxhja (7-0) vs. Chris Duncan (7-0)

Jeremy Brand: Duncan via Round 1 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Duncan via Round 1 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Duncan via Round 1 TKO
Ash Camyab: Duncan via Round 3 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Duncan via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Duncan via Split Decision
Mike Lynch: Gaxhja via TKO
Nate Freeman: Duncan via Round 2 TKO
Chris Presnell: Duncan via Round 1 KO

Staff picking Gaxhja: 0
Staff picking Duncan: 8


Lukasz Sudolski (8-0) vs. Igor Poterya (19-2)

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

Staff picking Sudolski: 8
Staff picking Poterya: 0

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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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