There were comebacks. There were underdog victories. There was even entertaining fighter talk in the middle of a bout. And at the end of the night at Dana White’s Contender Series, there were four additions to the UFC roster.
Four of five winners on Tuesday were offered UFC deals, one of them a developmental contract.
William Knight, a 31-year-old light heavyweight who ended the night explosively, earned the development contract. He overcame a difficult start by taking over late and finishing Herdem Alacabek via ground-and-pound TKO with just 26 seconds left in the fight. He remained undefeated at 5-0, with five finishes.
But White wanted to proceed slowly with the 205-pounder from Connecticut. “Coming in at that weight in the UFC would be tough for him,” he said. “So we’ll move him. We’ve done this with other people, including Greg Hardy.”
Brok Weaver gets Devin Smyth pushed up against the cage and lands a nice combination of punches all over Smyth’s upper body. For more UFC, sign up here for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
Weaver was the entertainer of the night, putting a smile on White’s face with his postfight plea for a contract. But he didn’t just talk a good game. The 31-year-old out of Alabama, a member of the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians, overcame the aggressive wrestling of Devin Smyth, the godson of UFC Hall of Famer Rashad Evans.
It was Smyth who had the hype behind him going into the fight, but afterward the spotlight was on Weaver (14-4), who won by unanimous decision.
“I would be an idiot not to sign Brok Weaver,” said White. Weaver responded with, “Yeah, man, he would be stupid.”
Gravely (15-6), 27, from Virginia, was a step ahead of Ray Rodriguez for the entirety of their bantamweight bout, repeatedly taking him to the canvas before finally flattening him out on the canvas in the third round and raining down punches until the official stepped in, declaring him the winner by TKO at 2:16.
“Tony has great wrestling, great hands, unstoppable cardio,” said White. “He goes for the finish, and he finished a guy tonight who hasn’t been finished in 20 fights. There’s no way I could say no to that.”
Alpar, a 28-year-old Texan, came out aggressively against Shanna Young, flinging wild punches and landing a few solid ones before being taken to the canvas and nearly being finished by the end of the first round. Alpar (9-4) survived, and in Round 2 she took a more measured approach, patiently securing dominant position before sinking in a rear-naked choke at 2:55.
“I like her style,” said White. “I like everything about her.”
Except one thing: her weight class. The UFC contract comes with a request that she drop to flyweight. “At 130 pounds in the UFC — the girls at 130 pounds are massive,” said the company president.
The only winner not to be offered a contract was light heavyweight Julius Anglickas (7-1), who opened the night with a third-round rear-naked choke finish of Karl Reed, who gassed before the first round was over.
“Julius didn’t go after him like he should have,” said White.