Medic, Leavitt, Jacoby win at Dana White’s Contender Series


UFC president Dana White speaks at a news conference in New York. (Julio Cortez/AP)

Dana White’s Contender Series returned for a fourth season Tuesday night and the UFC president awarded contracts to three fighters.

Lightweights Uros Medic and Jordan Leavitt picked up first-round stoppages while light-heavyweight Dustin Jacoby pulled out a gritty three-round decisoin to earn their contracts.

Leavitt submitted Jose Flores with an arm-triangle choke in the first bout on the four-fight card. Five of Flores’s nine career wins had come via submission and the fact Leavitt was able to get the better of the talented grappler impressed White. Leavitt, 25, has a 6-0 pro record.

Medic had the strongest performance of the night with his crisp striking getting the better of Mikey Gonzalez. White told Medic after his win that his performance “was bad ass.” The 27-year-old has amassed a 5-0 pro record with five finishes competing in the Alaska Fighting Championship organization the past several years.

The Contender Series is typically reserved for top MMA prospects looking to get a shot in the big show, however Jacoby is a 10-year MMA veteran who fought twice in the UFC more than eight years ago. The 32-year-old Fort Morgan, Colo., native went 0-2 in the Octagon, losing to Clifford Starks in 2011 and Chris Camozzi in 2012 before being released. He is 12-5 in MMA and also has 18 professional kickboxing bouts on his résumé.

Jacoby picked apart and battered the durable Ty Flores for two rounds before slowing down in the final stanza, but he held on to win a unanimous decision and get a second chance in the UFC’s 205-pound division.

A back-and-forth flyweight fight between Jerome Rivera and Luis Rodríguez ended with Rivera coming out ahead on the scorecards. White said he thinks both fighters will end up competing in the UFC in the future but neither fighter was awarded a contract on the spot.

Dana White’s Contender Series has been running since 2017 as a means to find new talent to join the UFC roster. The events take place at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, although it is licensed separately from the UFC meaning it is its own promotion.

Fighters such as Sean O’Malley, Geoff Neal, Dan Ige, Grant Dawson, Greg Hardy, Maycee Barber, Edmen Shahbazyan, Sodiq Yuseff and Ian Heinisch are among the fighters to earn UFC contracts following victories in the Contender Series.

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