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Dana White's Contender Series 36 results: Four fighters get UFC deals, one gets 'TUF' invite

LAS VEGAS – It certainly didn’t come without controversy, but JP Buys (9-2) picked up a first-round stoppage win over Jacob Silva (6-4).

The contest served as the featured bout of Dana White’s Contender Series 36, which streamed live on ESPN+ from UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Tuesday night.

Buys was able to take the fight to the floor in rapid fashion, showing great speed after being knocked off-balance with a low kick. The takedown was in the center of the cage, but Buys was able to secure top position and start seeking options. Buys briefly looked at taking mount but had to settle for side control. Then, when Silva bucked and seemed to have just about nailed a sweep, Buys was able to slip back and tease the back. Silva countered with a roll, but Buys locked in an arm-triangle choke that seemed destined to end the fight – were it not for an absolutely gutsy effort from Silva, who was able to turn and create space where it looks like it simply didn’t exist.

The trouble didn’t stop there, as Buys locked in a deep guillotine choke as time was winding down. With Buys wrenching on the neck, referee Marc Goddard stepped in to wave off the fight with six seconds left in the opening round. With Silva’s face blocked, Goddard’s decision was difficult, though he ultimately stood by it, even with Silva’s immediate protest.

Despite the odd ending, Buys was awarded a UFC deal.

In a heavyweight clash, Nick Maximov (6-0) kept his perfect record unblemished, though moving up a division and facing a 54-pound weight discrepancy made the going tough against Oscar Cota (11-3).

Maximov wasted little time taking the action to the floor, immediately shooting at the start of the contest and scoring the takedown. Cota eventually turned to his knees, where Maximov started unleashing punches that scored. Cota gutted through it and was able to get back to his feet, then sprawled well when Maximov immediately looked to shoot in again. Cota wasn’t able to do much with the control he secured, but he was able to maintain his weight on his foe until the bell.

After a pair of traded kicks to start the second, Maximov shot forward. Cota stuffed it, but then rather surprisingly decided to drop back for a guillotine. It failed, and Maximov happily set up in top position. Working from his opponent’s half-guard, Maximov stayed just busy enough to keep the position with short punches and brief teases at potential positional advances but always careful to maintain his dominant spot.

Maximov muscled his way into another takedown to start the final round, and Cota was once again flat on his back. Maximov did his best to try and set up an arm-triangle, but he had to focus on keeping his much-larger opponent trapped on the floor. It was effective, though not necessarily exciting, and Maximov was able to grind his way to a decision win, 30-26, 30-26 and 29-28.

UFC president Dana White declined to offer Maximov a UFC contract but did say he would extend an offer for him to join the upcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

In strawweight action, Brazilian Gloria de Paula (5-2) was able to outstrike judoka Pauline Macias (4-1) and keep herself out of any bad positions en route to a dominant decision win.

It was de Paula with slick striking to start, though Macias was able to slip under and grab a clinch early. As she looked for a takedown, de Paula teased a guillotine, forcing Macias to pause and adjust and land a slick little throw to the canvas. However, she wasn’t able to capitalize on the position, and the two reset on the feet. Once there, de Paula showed impressive takedown defense and was able to lock in a choke attempt from the front. Macias defended well and seemed almost bored as several minutes ticked off the clock, but de Paula refused to let go of the choke, holding it until the bell.

It was de Paula again with the fierce strikes to start the second and Macias looking to get inside. Straight punches and rapid kicks landed clean from range from de Paula, and she scored with elbows and knees in tight. Macias did get one takedown but couldn’t keep the fight on the floor, and a later guard pull backfired, with de Paula landing several big strikes from the dominant position.

Clearly down on the cards, Macias came out firing heavy strikes, but de Paula was able to clinch and drive the action to the fence, pressing tight with her head in the center. With the position a bit of a stalemate, de Paula backed away and landed a big elbow as she pulled free. Macias continued to look for takedowns that were brushed aside, and de Paula punished her with strikes to all levels while on the feet. Macias faded late, but she refused to quit, and de Paula had to settle for an impressive decision win, 30-26 on all three cards.

However, the victory was enough to get de Paula a UFC contract.

In a lightweight contest between fighters returning to Dana White’s Contender Series, Tucker Lutz (11-1) picked up his 11th consecutive win by scoring a dominant decision win over a previously unbeaten Sherrard Blackledge (5-1).

After a brief feeling-out process to start, the bout moved to the clinch, and it was Blackledge who ultimately scored a brief takedown after some grinding clinch work. Lutz popped back to his feet in quick fashion, but Blackledge also took advantage of every available opportunity to work in short punches and elbows, as well. As knees were traded inside, Blackledge landed to the groin, and Lutz took a brief break. On the restart, Blackledge landed a kick to the groin, as well, and another timeout followed.

Late in the frame, Lutz had some success with big kicks to the legs before shooting inside and landing the takedown he wanted. Blackledge briefly teased a guillotine, but he had to let it go and tried to get to his feet, allowing Lutz to take his back before the bell.

Both men exchanged sharp strikes to open the second, but after Blackledge moved forward and pressed for a takedown, it was Lutz who was able to take advantage of the clinch and slip to the back as the action his the canvas. Blackledge alertly spun inside and stood, but he wasn’t able to create space, and Lutz grabbed a guillotine and dropped to the floor. Despite the bad spot, Blackledge was able to roll through it and pull free to reset.

Late in the frame, Blackledge was able to drag the action to the canvas. However, Lutz didn’t stay there long, rising to the feet, where the grinding clinch battle continued until just before the bell, when the two flurried punches to close.

Blackledge had to walk through a stiff knee to clinch early in the third, but once the action moved to the canvas, it was Lutz who scored the dominant spot by landing in side control. Blackledge was able to get his feet on the cage and tried to buck free, but Lutz was very heavy on top and maintained firm control. It wasn’t the most action-packed sequence, but it was firm control, and Lutz used it to bank a decision win, 30-27 on all three cards, as well as a UFC contract.

In the night’s first fight, flyweight Victoria Leonardo (8-2) took some damage along the way but ultimately scored a second-round TKO over a previously unbeaten Chelsea Hackett (3-1-1).

Hackett opened the contest with several impressive front kicks up top and a few snapping blows to the leg, as well. Leonardo eventually was able to move past the stiff strikes to clinch and trip the action to the canvas, where she immediately started to strike from top position. Hackett crawled back to her feet late in the frame, where the two exchanged strikes until the end.

The power strikes flowed freely to open the second, as well, with Hackett favoring her slick kicking game and Leonardo showing strong punches in tight and at range. Hackett answered with punches of her own and landed clean, clearly wobbling her opponent. However, Leonardo wisely closed the distance to slow things down and eventually was able to take the action to the canvas, where she completely seized the momentum by moving to mount and striking away. Hackett did her best to buck and roll but eventually succumbed to the non-stop barrage of punches. Referee Marc Goddard called it off at the 4:41 mark of the second frame.

The performance was enough to earn Leonardo a UFC deal.

Dana White’s Contender Series 36 results:

MAIN CARD

JP Buys def. Jacob Silva via technical submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 4:54 Nick Maximov def. Oscar Cota via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-28) Gloria de Paula def. Pauline Macias via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27) Tucker Lutz def. Sherrard Blackledge via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) Victoria Leonardo def. Chelsea Hackett via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 4:41




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