Contender Series has a few pleasant surprises this week, but viewers would be forgiven for not knowing too many of the competitors on the card. This week’s fighters have mostly been under the radar, however many have made major progress on the regional scene in hopes of making the big show.
As usual, nothing is guaranteed. Some records may be impressive on paper, but require a closer look. That’s not indicative of overall fighter development, just worth keeping in mind when a lot of fanfare is made about a prospect’s impressive win/loss numbers.
Garrett Gross vs Roosevelt Roberts – Lightweight
The main event for Week 7 is a fight between Garrett Gross (11-7) and Roosevelt Roberts (5-0 pro, 6-1 amateur), for a spot in an already crowded lightweight division. Gross has had a turbulent career, but managed to put things together under the Shamrock FC umbrella. He’s currently riding a four-fight win streak, and all but two of his wins were finishes. His opponent, Roberts, has all of his professional wins coming by finish, and is cagey and scrambly on the ground to make up for holes in his takedown defense.
Dontale Mayes vs Mitchell Sipe – Heavyweight
Big boy season is upon us again, with Dontale Mayes (4-2 pro, 6-1 amateur) making his second appearance on Contender Series, where he’ll take on Mitchell Sipe (4-0pro, 2-1 amateur). Sipe is the Tachi Palace champion, and his last two fights have been back to back wins over Chris Lewis. Sipe swings wildly on the ground, and relies on strength and athleticism most of the time. He’s content to stay in an opponent’s guard and work consistently from there. Mayes has great finishing instincts, and has shown a measured approach in not overexerting himself. He’s also got good timing, and is still improving with his takedown and ground defense.
Ian Heinisch vs Justin Sumpter – Middleweight
Justin Sumter (6-1) will have his hands full when he takes on LFA interim middleweight champion Ian Heinisch (10-1). Fans who haven’t seen Heinisch fight will be pleasantly surprised. He’s a refined talent with a lot of promise, working a good striking game while pushing a consistent pace on his opponents and being comfortable everywhere in a fight. He’s also got back to back wins, including a very impressive TKO in his last bout. And he’s got a truly amazing story that deserves amplifying. Sumter lost his pro debut to former DWTNCS contestant Tim Caron in Bellator, but hasn’t lost since. Sumter’s also a vicious striker, but his ground game is always active and aggressive on defense. It could be rough day at the office for Heinisch if his defense isn’t up to snuff.
Jordan Griffin vs Maurice Mitchell – Featherweight
Featherweight gets a showdown between Team Alpha Male product Maurice “The AK Kid“ Mitchell (11-1) and Roufusport’s Jordan Griffin (16-5). Mitchell’s riding high, with six consecutive wins in Alaska Fighting Championship, and all of those six wins were finishes. He exhibits good top control, brutal ground strikes, great athleticism and a good submission game. Griffin’s got good boxing and wrestling, but is also capable of impressive violence aside from his volume striking.
Juan Adams vs Shawn Teed – Heavyweight
Finally, we have another heavyweight fight to open the festivities, as Juan Adams (3-0 pro, 4-0 amateur) will have to get past Shawn Teed (5-1 pro, 3-0 amateur). A training partner of veteran Mike Bronzoulis, Houston’s Adams has finished his opponents in every single amateur and professional fight thus far. He’s not only strong, but he’s brutal. You don’t want this guy on top of you, ever. Teed is a heavyweight with a good submission game, and that’s from everywhere. His savvy should serve him well against other heavyweights at this level, since most of the division prefers to strike at all costs.
As usual, the card streams live exclusively via UFC Fight Pass starting at 8:00pm EST.