Six fighters earn contracts in Week 8

“Dana White’s Contender Series” returns this week for Season 7. The show has been the path for many of the talented fighters on the UFC’s roster today, including former UFC light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill, “Suga” Sean O’Malley, who will challenge Aljamain Sterling for the men’s bantamweight belt at UFC 292, and Alex Perez and Taila Santos who fought for titles in their respective divisions in 2020 and 2022, respectively.

Some of the top signees from Season 6 have already had success inside the Octagon. Joe Pyfer, who famously was the only fighter to get signed during Week 1 last year, has scored first-round knockouts against each of his two opponents in the UFC. Cameron Saaiman, who is undefeated, is 3-0 inside the Octagon. Gabriel Bonfim has notched back-to-back first-round submission wins. And the biggest star of the season, Bo Nickal, who is widely recognized as the top prospect in the sport, has finished his two UFC opponents in the first round. One of those wins came via submission and the other came via knockout.

Beyond last season and title fights, marquee names like Jailton Almeida, Jack Della Maddalena, Kevin Holland, Ryan Spann, Marina Rodriguez and Jalin Turner are also ranked and primed for bigger and better going forward. With the show’s history of finding the next generation of the UFC’s top talent, why would anyone think Season 7 would be any different?

Similar to previous seasons, there will be 10 weekly fight cards at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, with the first episode launching Tuesday (ESPN+, 8 p.m. ET) and the final one taking place Oct. 10. Here’s a look at the upcoming fights for this season of DWCS.

O’Malley? Nickal? Almeida? Which DWCS alum has the brightest future?

‘Dana White’s Contender Series’ Season 7 Matchups:

Week 1 Matchups, Tuesday:

Middleweight: Cesar Almeida vs. Lucas Fernando
Lightweight: Tom Nolan vs. Bogdan Grad
Heavyweight: Kevin Szaflarski vs. Caio Machado
Bantamweight: Payton Talbott vs. Reyes Cortez Jr.
Flyweight: Victor Dias vs. Kevin Borjas

Week 2 Matchups, Aug. 15:

Lightweight: George Hardwick vs. Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady
Light heavyweight: Ibo Aslan vs. Paulo Renato Junior
Featherweight: Hyder Amil vs. Emrah Sonmez
Women’s strawweight: Eduarda Moura vs. Janaina Silva
Men’s bantamweight: Cameron Smotherman vs. Charalampos Grigoriou

Week 3 Matchups, Aug. 22:

Middleweight: Eli Aronov vs. Zach Reese
Welterweight: Kaik Brito vs. Oban Elliot
Women’s strawweight: Isis Verbeek vs. Josefine Knutsson
Featherweight: Robbie Ring vs. Luis Pajuelo
Men’s flyweight: Luciano Pereira vs. Felipe dos Santos

Week 4 Matchups, Aug. 29:

Lightweight: Bolaji Oki vs. Dylan Salvador
Heavyweight: Thomas Petersen vs. Chandler Cole
Featherweight: Timothy Cuamba vs. Mateo Vogel
Welterweight: Carlos Prates vs. Mitch Ramirez

Week 5 Matchups, Sep. 5:


Week 6 Matchups, Sep. 12:


Week 7 Matchups, Sep. 19:


Week 8 Matchups, Sep. 26:


Week 9 Matchups, Oct. 3:


Week 10 Matchups, Oct. 10:


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