Former UFC fighter and Titan FC champion Kurt Holobaugh will reportedly face Matt Bessette on the inaugural edition of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.
While not officially announced, it looks as if we have our first main event for UFC president Dana White’s brand new Tuesday night promotion. FanSided reported earlier in the week that Titan FC interim lightweight champion Kurt Holobaugh will take on CES featherweight champion Matt Bessette on July 11th. Titan FC CEO Jeff Aronson later posted a congratulations to Holobaugh on his Instagram page.
Holobaugh (17-4) fought once in Strikeforce and once in the UFC, losing both times by decision to Pat Healy and Steven Siler, respectively. He has since won eight of his last ten bouts, including a very successful run in Titan FC. Holobaugh won the featherweight title (before losing his belt to Andre Harrison in 2015), and most recently stopped Gesias Cavalcante to win the interim lightweight belt.
Bessette (22-7) fought several times under the Bellator MMA banner, compiling a record of 7-2. Nearly all of the Connecticut native’s Bellator fights were in his home state. The 32-year-old is currently on a seven-fight winning streak, with a 100% finishing record during that span. He won the CES MMA featherweight title in August 2016 and has made two defenses of his belt, most recently getting a doctor’s stoppage TKO over Rey Trujillo in May.
It should be clarified that Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series is separate from the UFC. In fact, the Nevada Athletic Commission granted White his promoter’s license during Wednesday’s meeting. As was written in the original press release, the fights will be “The Contender Series, which will be shot in front of a closed-studio audience, will serve as the ultimate vehicle to identify top prospects, and the next generation of UFC stars.”
All fights will be sanctioned by the NAC, but unlike UFC shows, the main events will be three rounds as opposed to five. Cards will be just five fights long and stream exclusively on Fight Pass. Fox Sports also noted that winning on The Contender Series does not guarantee fighters will be in the UFC.