Dana White’s Contender Series is back for the ninth Tuesday and penultimate episode of the 2023 season, which is set to end next week.
However, fight fans will be treated to four more fights tonight, with this week’s card set to be headlined by a light heavyweight bout between impressive LFA light heavyweight champion Rodolfo Bellato and unbeaten Bahranian Murtaza Talha. A fifth fight between Lucas Rocha and Davi Bittencourt at 125 pounds was also scheduled for this week’s show, but a massive weight miss on the part of Rocha forced this bout’s last-minute cancellation.
Rocha weighed in at 131 pounds.
Main Event — Bellato vs. Talha
Rodolfo Bellato out of Brazil is a legitimate light heavyweight prospect in the world of mixed martial arts. He made his way over to LFA in 2021 and acclimated well to the tougher level of competition. He is a big, strong 205’er, who knows how to use his size in the cage, though he is much more than just athleticism. While he’s adept on the feet, Bellato’s world is on the ground, where he has finished seven of his last eight wins. This will also not be his first appearance on DWCS. While he is unbeaten in LFA, Bellato did fall to Vitor Petrino on DWCS back in 2022, but he has since won two fights to rebound nicely from the defeat.
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Murtaza Talha may not be quite as proven as his Brazilian opponent, but he should represent one of the toughest challenges of Bellato’s career. However, the same can be said of Bellato for him. Talha has faced very little opposition over his 6-0 career, where he has three knockouts and three submissions. In this way, he reminds of Khamzat Chimaev, but those would be tremendous shoes to fill, and Bellato’s talent on the ground could make for an interesting matchup in the main event. It is worth noting, however, that Talha is training out of KHK Fight Team in Bahrain under Head Coach Eldar Eldarov. KHK is one of the most underrated gyms in MMA at the moment, and have already sent Shamil Gaziev to UFC by way of DWCS earlier this season.
Talha is also not the only KHK fighter on this week’s card, so the camp will attempt to make it a perfect 3-for-3 this season.
Rest of the Card
The remaining three fights will see talented Chilean Eduardo Torres Caut take on Victor Hugo, not to be confused with the man who created Les Miserables. Torres is an impressive 16-1, but while most Chilean fighters come through Combate, Torres left Combate in 2021 to return to the Chilean regional scene. Hugo, meanwhile, is more proven based on his excellent 23-4 record, but it remains to be seen which fighter has been more molded by their experiences.
Magommed Gadzhiyasulov will look to join Gaziev, and perhaps his other teammate, Talha, in the UFC when he takes on Bolivia’s Jose Daniel Medina at 205 pounds. Gadzhiyasulov fits the mold of other fighters from his camp in that he’s great everywhere, and he will look to contain an action fighter in Medina as he looks to punch his ticket to the UFC. Opening the show will be a welterweight bout between Raimond Magomedaliev and Mauricio Ruffy. Both fighters are products of their respective regional scenes, though Magomedaliev is notable for having beaten Impa Kasanganay, a 2023 PFL light heavyweight finalist (and DWCS veteran in his own right) in Eagle FC.
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Dana White’s Contender Series 65 Results
Rodolfo Bellato def. Murtaza Talha via TKO (punches) at 4:46 of Round 2
Victor Hugo def. Eduardo Torres Caut via Submission (Kneebar) at 2:16 of Round 2
Magomed Gadzhiyasulov def. Jose Medina via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Mauricio Ruffy def. Raimond Magomedaliev via TKO (strikes) at 4:45 of Round 3