Dana White's Contender Series

Dana White’s Contender Series: Season 7, Week 1 Staff Picks

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Opportunities for a shot in the Ultimate Fighting Championship begin tonight as MMASucka staff picks return for the popular promotion.

Dana White’s Contender Series will make its 2023 calendar year debut with Season 7’s kickoff later tonight, August 8th, from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. During the next ten consecutive Tuesday nights, fighters from around the world will battle for their shot at impressing UFC President Dana White, and company, in hopes of securing a contract to compete under the promotional banner. Week 1 is available to watch on ESPN+ beginning this evening at 7:00pm ET (4:00pm PT).

Results from Dana White’s Contender Series: Season 7, Week 1, also titled as Dana White’s Contender Series 57, will be available here at MMASucka.

Be sure to recap our staff picks from three cards over last weekend: ONE Fight Night 13 from Bangkok, PFL 7 2023 Playoffs from San Antonio, and UFC on ESPN 50: Sandhagen vs. Font from Nashville.

The Fights

Five fights featuring ten fighters targeting a UFC contract will be scheduled over the next ten Tuesdays in hopes of capturing the potential coveted golden ticket.

Week 1 of Dana White’s Contender Series: Season 7 sees a featured middleweight matchup between Cesar Almeida and Lucas Fernando. Former multi-promotional Kickboxing World Champion, Almeida, makes his mixed martial arts return for the first since December of 2021 where he secured his third professional and consecutive win by knockout in the first round; a short stretch that has kept the 35-year-old undefeated. His opponent, Fernando, brings in more MMA experience with only one defeat in ten fights and having been the most recent victor of LFA’s Middleweight Championship with a fourth round stoppage over Jansey Silva.

In the co-main event, Tom Nolan of Australia and Bogdan Grad of Austria will meet at 155 pounds. Undefeated prospect Nolan hopes to remain undefeated in hopes of win number six dating back to his first pro fight in December of 2020. Grad looks for his sixth straight victory as he makes his second appearance of the calendar year after a successful decision over Renzo Mendez in Cage Fight Series.

The heaviest battle of the night comes in the middle of the card as three-time defending Battlefield Fight League Heavyweight Champion Caio Machado gets his opportunity against the eleven-fight win streak of Poland’s Kevin Szaflarski.

Two additional fights make up the night ahead. Urijah Faber’s A1 Combat Bantamweight Champion Payton Talbot meets 2021 Contender Series competitor Reyes Cortez at 135 pounds, and Inka FC Flyweight Champion Kevin Borjas squares off with Titan FC Flyweight Champion Victor Dias in the ESPN+ card opener. Find our staff picks for these Dana White’s Contender Series 57 pairings further below.

2023 Staff Picks

MMASucka staff picks are composed of five promotions: the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Bellator MMA, ONE Championship, the Professional Fighters League (PFL), and Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS). UFC and Bellator events feature picks from only main cards. PFL will feature select fights from the main and preliminary card while DWCS sees all fights counted from the event. ONE Championship returns to picks for the first time since 2020 and will feature only mixed martial arts (MMA) fights selected from cards with a minimum three matchups.

The WINNER of staff picks at the end of 2023, who picked the most victorious fighters, will have a choice between receiving a custom-made championship belt from ProAmBelts or a chain from Championship Chains. Staff picks in 2022 was won by Wesley Riddle with a record of 264-135.

Who wins and who is picked to win at Dana White’s Contender Series: Season 7, Week 1?

Staff Records after Bellator MMA x Rizin 2:

1. Ben Jamieson: 171-87
2. Michael DeSantis: 169-89
3. Jeremy Brand: 164-94
4. Nate Freeman: 163-95
5T. Frazer Krohn: 161-97
5T. Wesley Riddle: 161-97
7. Julio Monteros Jr.: 148-88
8. Jack Goodwillie: 131-75
9. Andrew Benjamin: 129-104
10. Brian Knight: 119-73
11. Tim Wheaton: 105-60
12. Roemello Reyes: 62-34
13. Jonathan Andrade: 31-24
14. Brandon Joint: 12-9
15. Andrew Benjamin: 10-7
16. Joshua Yule: 7-6
17. Antwyn Jackson: 5-6
18. Chris De Santiago: 3-3

*Note – not all staff pick for every event*
*Note – ONE Fight Night 13, PFL 7 2023, & UFC on ESPN 50 picks will be added to the above records NEXT weekend*

Kevin Borjas (8-1), +290
Victor Dias (11-2), -410

Flyweight Division
– 125 LBS. ~ 56.7 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Dias via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Dias via Round 1 SUB
Michael DeSantis: Dias via Round 2 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Borjas via Unanimous Decision
Jack Goodwillie: Dias via Unanimous Decision
Ben Jamieson: Dias via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Borjas: 1
Staff picking Dias: 5

Payton Talbott (5-0), -155
Reyes Cortez (7-2), +130

Bantamweight Division
– 135 LBS. ~ 61.2 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Cortez via Round 2 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Talbott via Round 2 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Talbott via Round 2 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Cortez via Round 1 TKO
Jack Goodwillie: Cortez via Round 3 TKO
Ben Jamieson: Talbott via Round 1 TKO

Staff picking Talbott: 3
Staff picking Cortez: 3

Caio Machado (7-1-1), +136
Kevin Szaflarski (11-1), -162

Heavyweight Division
– 265 LBS. ~ 120.2 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Machado via Round 2 SUB
Wesley Riddle: Machado via Round 1 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Szaflarski via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Szaflarski via Round 2 TKO
Jack Goodwillie: Szaflarski via Unanimous Decision
Ben Jamieson: Szaflarski via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Machado: 2
Staff picking Szaflarski: 4

Tom Nolan (5-0), -162
Bogdan Grad (11-1), +136

Lightweight Division
– Co-Main Event –

– 155 LBS. ~ 70.3 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Nolan via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Grad via Split Decision
Michael DeSantis: Grad via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Grad via Unanimous Decision
Jack Goodwillie: Nolan via Round 2 TKO
Ben Jamieson: Nolan via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Nolan: 3
Staff picking Grad: 3

Cesar Almeida (3-0), +220
Lucas Fernando (9-1), -298

Middleweight Division
– Main Event –

– 185 LBS. ~ 83.9 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Fernando via Round 1 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Fernando via Unanimous Decision
Michael DeSantis: Fernando via Round 1 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Fernando via Round 3 SUB
Jack Goodwillie: Fernando via Round 1 TKO
Ben Jamieson: Fernando via Round 2 TKO

Staff picking Almeida: 0
Staff picking Fernando: 6


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Wesley Riddle is a 28-year-old writer out of Harrisonburg, Virginia and a 2018 graduate from Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, having obtained a B.S. in Health & Physical Education. Watching the draw between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard from 2011 sparked his interest in the sport of mixed martial arts. He created "All That MMA" on Twitter, which came to birth in December of 2013. He would join with MMASucka in the later quarter of 2016. Some of Riddle's hobbies include music, playing golf, watching horror movies, and working with non-profit organizations throughout his community. You can follow him on Twitter at @AllThatMMA or @WesleyRiddleMMA, and on Instagram @WesleyRiddle.

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