This year’s edition of Dana White’s Contender Series is nearing its end as we’ve reached week nine. Tuesday’s card packs a ton of international flavor, highlighted by Brazil’s Jansey Silva facing Russia’s Gadzhi Omargadzhiev in the headliner.
In addition to the main event, week nine features bantamweights Christian Quinonez and Long Xiao facing one another. Unbeaten prospects Javid Basharat and Oron Kahlon will settle their differences, but before that women’s flyweights, Qihui Yan and Karine Silva are set to square off. In the night’s sleeper bout, Manuel Torres takes on Kolton Englund at lightweight, and kicking things off will be a featherweight matchup between Olivier Murad and Bin Xie.
Dana White’s Contender Series Preview
Jansey Silva (7-1) vs Gadzhi Omargadzhiev (12-0)
Silva enters as the biggest betting underdog on the card as he attempts to be the first man capable of defeating Omargadzhiev.
The 26-year-old from Brazil trains at Tata Fight Team in Rio de Janeiro, where he’s worked alongside middleweight contender Thiago Santos. Silva is currently riding a three-fight winning streak, most recently scoring an opening-round TKO via knee last March. He possesses a good frame for the division, standing six-foot-two with a 79″ reach.
Omargadzhiev hails from Russia and is thought of as one of the brightest prospects currently coming from the region. The 28-year-old has scorched his way through the regional scene, winning all but two of his fights by finish. Omargadzhiev travelled to Paris, France prior to this upcoming in order to train at a few of their top gyms.
Right off the bat, Silva should have a slight edge on the ground while Omargadzhiev should have a distinct advantage in the stand-up. Another thing that’s notable is the fact Silva has never beaten someone who didn’t either have a losing record or was making their pro debut. Meanwhile, Omargadzhiev’s last win came against fellow unbeaten top-prospect Vladimir Vasilyev. The Russian-born fighter should be able to pose adequate grappling defense to keep this fight where he wants it.
Prediction: Gadzhi Omargadzhiev by stoppage
Christian Quinonez (15-3) vs Long Xiao (16-6)
The co-main event sees a pair of bantamweights who both turned pro upon turning 18-years-old, creating an experienced tandem despite their ages.
Mexico’s Quinonez trains at Entram Jiu-Jitsu MMA in Tijuana. The 25-year-old has some quality wins under his belt, including 11 finishes, but he fell victim to finishes in each of his three defeats. Quinonez is known for being a very well-rounded mixed martial artist.
China’s Xiao is only 23-years-old, despite already having 22 pro bouts to his name. After beginning his career just 4-6, Xiao has reeled off 12 consecutive wins, all under the Wu LinFeng banner. He received this opportunity after tallying back-to-back finishes earlier this year.
Quinonez enters as the second biggest betting favorite on the card, but that’s mostly got to do with the lack of footage for his opponent. Quinonez tends to get hit fairly easily, but he has a good chin and is willing to eat shots so he can execute his game plan. He is more than happy to make it a grimy fight, and it remains to be seen how Xiao responds to that.
Prediction: Christian Quinonez by decision
Javid Basharat (10-0) vs Oron Kahlon (16-0)
This season’s fifth pairing of unbeaten fighters comes at a catchweight (Kahlon missed weight) in the form of Javid Basharat versus Oron Kahlon.
Born in Afghanistan, Basharat fights out of the Legacy Fit gym in the United Kingdom. All 10 of his victories have come by way of finish, with seven occurring in the very first round. The 26-year-old is a very diverse striker and he tends to attack D’Arce chokes once the fight hits the mat.
Israel’s Kahlon also enters this bout with a 100 percent finish rate, with a solid mix of knockouts and submissions to his name. The 36-year-old has finished all but two of his fights in under five minutes. Notably, he’s only averaged one fight per year since turning pro in 2005, but he’s fought 12 times since 2016.
One thing you’ll notice immediately from Basharat is that he holds his hands low, but he owns crisp footwork and head movement to aid him in evading clean shots. Whereas, Kahlon keeps a high guard to suppress damage while he looks to grab ahold of his opponents. Things got very heated at the weigh-ins so these boys might get after it right away.
Prediction: Javid Basharat by stoppage
Qihui Yan (11-3) vs Karine Silva (13-4)
Women’s flyweights square off as China’s Yan faces Brazil’s Silva in what should be a back-and-forth grappling contest for as long as it lasts.
Yan has finished nine of her 11 pro bouts and she’s currently riding a three-fight winning streak. The 25-year-old possesses solid kicks but isn’t a huge threat with her hands. Most of her success comes with her wrestling, especially when she’s able to gain top position.
Silva is an affiliate of Gile Ribeiro Team in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil. The 27-year-old is on a four-fight first-round finish streak after dropping back-to-back bouts prior. Like Yan, Silva isn’t a major threat with her stand-up. It’s her offensive submission game that instills fear in her opponents.
Silva is a bantamweight who’s dropping down a weight class for this fight, making her the bigger athlete. As most expect this to be a grappling-heavy affair, Silva’s size advantage should give her a big edge in that facet. Yan has never been submitted, but she has been susceptible in the past of some ground-and-pound.
Prediction: Karine Silva by decision
Manuel Torres (11-2) vs Kolton Englund (9-3)
Mexico’s Manuel Torres takes on Texas’s Kolton Englund in a lightweight bout.
Torres has gotten work at Entram Jiu-Jitsu MMA alongside the aforementioned Quinonez. Of his 11 victories, Torres has finished six by submission and four by knockout. The 26-year-old will be fighting stateside for the first time in his career when he steps into the octagon Tuesday.
Englund trains at Metro Fight Club in Houston, Texas and he’s already picked up three wins this year. The 28-year-old has fought several times for LFA as well as Fury FC where he became champion in 2017. Englund owns a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
With the tape that’s out there, it’s hard to pinpoint where Torres will look to take this fight. It seems as though Englund will have the edge on the feet and he’s shown the ability to keep a good gas tank, but Torres is a wild card. Additionally, I peg him as the fighter with the higher ceiling, but it remains to be seen.
Prediction: Kolton Englund by decision
Olivier Murad (5-0) vs Bin Xie (8-2)
Haitian-American Olivier Murad takes on ONE Championship veteran Bin Xie in a featherweight scrap.
Murad has only been pro since 2018, but he’s been pretty impressive. He won his first four fights via finish before going the distance with his toughest opponent to date in his previous outing. The 27-year-old trains at a gym called Freedom Fighters located in Miami, Florida. Murad has shown in the past to be a very fast starter so watch out for that.
Xie has fought all 10 of his pro fights under the banner of ONE Championship. After beginning his career just 1-2, Xie has won eight in a row, which includes three D’Arce choke submissions. The 23-year-old trains at K1-Club MMA and Tianjin Top Team in his native country.
Xie is one of the best prospects out of China to appear on the Contender Series. He has very good grappling and solid wrestling, coinciding with a pretty effective right hand. Meanwhile, Murad is still growing as a fighter, he’s solid everywhere, but not great anywhere. He can be hit on the feet and he can be controlled on the ground by a grappler like Xie.
Prediction: Bin Xie by stoppage