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Dana White's Contender Series

(Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Dana White’s Contender Series: Season Six, Week Seven Recap

Dana White's Contender Series
(Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Dana White’s Contender Series: Season Six, Week Seven Recap

Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) Season Six, Week Seven is in the books. Out of the 10 UFC hopefuls, we saw four leave with UFC contracts. The contract winners included brothers Gabriel and Ismael Bonfim, Vitor Petrino, and Karl Williams. White was more selective this week than he has been in the past. This is the first time we have seen White turn down a winner since week three. Let’s take a look at how each contract recipient looked in their fight. This post will be ordered with the most impressive fighters at the top of the post while the fighters I was less impressed with sit at the bottom.

Gabriel Bonfim — Welterweight

Gabriel Bonfim is the younger of the Bonfim brothers. In all honesty, Gabriel and Ismael could be interchangeable at one and two. I lean towards Gabriel as he showed a wider range of skills in his DWCS bout against Trey Waters. He got in deep on a takedown attempt, but Waters countered with a strong guillotine attempt. Bonfim was able to get into half guard to avoid the submission and landed a Von Flue choke that finished the fight. While the fight was standing, he displayed solid boxing. He has a basic but effective jab and followed it up with an accurate straight. He made a great strategic adjustment midway through the fight as began to finish combos with lead hooks. Those hooks did damage, and the fight began to trend in his favor.

Gabriel displayed traits that can translate to the UFC. Fighters with good boxing, solid takedowns, and slick submissions traditionally perform well in the UFC. At the age of 25, Gabriel seems to be in a great spot to grow into a long-term UFC fighter.

Ismael Bonfim — Lightweight

I already expressed that Israel Bonfim looked good in his fight and he easily could sit upon this list. His DWCS opponent, Nariman Abbasov, is a strong fighter. Ismael’s performance against Abbasov makes me confident that he can hold up against entry-level UFC competition. Despite being the elder Bonfim brother, he is only 26 years old so he will have plenty of time to work in the UFC.

As far as skills go, Ismael displayed great boxing. A lot of things I mentioned about Gabriel can be said about Ismael. You can tell they train together, and he too has a great jab. The straight is there too. His work to the body stood out as well. He hurt Abbasov with body shots on several occasions. Ismael was unable to land the finish in those situations, but Abbasov proved to be tough. A lot of fighters quit or get finished in that fight. When it was necessary, he showed solid takedown defense and quick get-ups. That is always a good sign.

Vitor Petrino- Light Heavyweight

This week’s DWCS contract winners are a deep group. Vitor Petrino looked great against Rodolfo Bellato. Bellato is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist so Petrino had to ensure that he would stay safe on the ground. He was able to manage that. Petrino defended against strong triangle choke and rear-naked choke attempts. On the feet, he was far better than Bellato. While watching, it felt like it was only a matter of time before he landed a knockout shot. Eventually, Bellato left an opening and Petrino took advantage, landing a massive left hook.

Petrino is also only 25 years old so he will be a youthful addition to the light heavyweight division. Petrino has the baseline skills needed for the division. However, I am not too bullish on Petrino yet because I would like to see him strike with a more skilled opponent. If he can pass that test, he may be on a fast track to the top 15.

Karl Williams — Heavyweight

Karl Williams is an interesting case to crack. Behind the scenes, there was a lot stacked against him heading into his fight with Jimmy Lawson. He took the fight on 10 days’ notice, and he moved up from light heavyweight to heavyweight. In his fight with Lawson, he managed to take Lawson down and control the fight from there. Here is the kicker, Lawson was an All-American wrestler at Penn State. In theory, Williams should not be able to take Lawson down. The first takedown he landed was well timed, credit to him there, but it was clear Lawson gassed quickly. Essentially, Williams just took advantage of a tired opponent for three rounds, but he was unable to find a finish.

Overall, I was not impressed by Williams. With that being said, he was the much smaller opponent. Despite that, I agree with White’s decision to give him a contract. With a full camp and fight at light heavyweight, he could look much better. I would not bet on it, but he deserves that opportunity.


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