Dana White’s Contender Series UFC Betting Picks – September 8

Last week on Dana White’s Contender Series, we lost our parlay bet.

One leg of the parlay hit without any issue but long lanky striker Jose Johnson was completely out-wrestled by Nashville’s Ronnie Lawrence.

I was very impressed by this kid Ronnnie and Dana was too.

I ended up taking Cody Brundage to get the win with a last-minute bet. He was still plus money and I knew he was the far superior wrestler from the better fight camp.

Cody shot a strong double out of the gate and secured mount and quickly back mount with his opponent, William Knight, flattened out.

The fight was seemingly over as Brundage rained down punches. Herb Dean wanted to see more punishment and Cody got lazy and left his hand down where Knight could grab it. That guy didn’t let go either!

He pretty much forced a standup by holding his opponent’s wrist as he was face down on the mat. As Brundage was trying to free his hand, a scramble ensued and the two found themselves back on their feet but not for long.

Cody shot in again. This time, William defended with 12-6 elbows to the back of the head.

They definitely weren’t legal but it all happened so quickly. I was sour but I also knew that 9 times out of 10, Brundage doesn’t let anyone out of that position and gets the win.

One lesson we learned from this loss is to trust the process. I had already taped this fight days prior and I thought it could go either way.

It went both either ways, if you will, and we came out on the losing end. I’m just glad I didn’t tip that one to you guys.

This week, one of my longtime training partners is fighting for the first time on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Sherrard Blackledge is 4-0 and so is his opponent, Lake Tahoe’s Cameron Church. Blackledge is the underdog according to the sportsbooks, particularly BetOnline.AG.

Syndicate MMA’s Jordan Leavitt got his Contender Series win and contract several weeks ago and now it’s time for his teammate to get his.

Church is a tough cookie, though, who constantly moves forward and throws heavy leather.

A couple of the other fights on the show are (-500) and (-600). Are they locks and worth a parlay? Right now, I think we would need to add a third to get a decent payout with those odds.

Let’s make our selections for this week’s winners for Dana White’s Contender Series.

Cameron Church (-130) vs Sherrard Blackledge (+110)

Disclaimer:
Sherrard is not a great friend of mine so I am not at all picking with my heart in this situation. I just know what the guy brings to the table. We have sparred for hours and hours and he is one of the most talented strikers I’ve ever gone with.

Sherrard was still a little green when I was training with him in Las Vegas at Syndicate back in 2015-2016. That didn’t stop him from kicking me in the face, though.

It was one of those “You’re getting old” moments when I was sparring with Sherrard and we are both long and like to kick so similar styles.

Our coach said: Mike! Stop trying to be faster than him! YOU’LL NEVER BE FASTER THAN HIM.

Two seconds later as I was pondering my age and CRACK, he kicks me in the chin with a lead leg Karate style head kick. No wind up, no load, no step… I felt like Chris Tucker in Rush Hour.

I looked at coach John Heath afterward to ask him who or what hit me and he quickly reverted my attention back to the task at hand.

Sherrard isn’t just fast or long. He is a very smart guy who is technical with his strikes and sets them up very well with feints and fakes.

I don’t think he can freeze Church, though.

Cameron is going to come forward regardless of what’s being thrown at him or at least it seems that way from watching fight tape.

I think Blackledge will run into trouble if he tries too hard with that strategy.

Church is coming forward regardless it appears so I don’t think he will be frozen by the feints and fakes of Blackledge.

Cameron loves to bob and weave and that could spell big trouble against a kicker who wants nothing more than your head to move sharply from the left to right and back. Oh, you slipped my punch?

Cool story, bro.

Next time, I will just follow my punch with a shin bone and thwaaacckkk!

Cowboy Cerrone is an expert at that and guess who has been getting rounds in with Sherrard while he’s in town?

That’s another big thing here.

Blackledge may not have fought a lot of fighters with a ton of experience but he has grown up training alongside and with UFC level talent.

He comes from a very professional gym with give or take 50 pros walking around in there at any given time.

Cameron Church does have good hands and good leg kicks. He’s also very aggressive with his forward footwork. Sherrard has the ability to nullify that with his superior striking and range.

Will he do it? I don’t know but with his odds at just above even money right now, he is definitely getting some of my cash.

If Church had shown himself to be a decorated wrestler who loves to take his opponents down at will, I may have stayed away from this one but he likes to strike as well and I think he will be out-gunned.

My Pick
Sherrard Blackledge

In Conclusion

I feel pretty solid about this matchup on Dana White’s Contender Series this week.

Blackledge is an Israel Adesanya type of striker. I’m not saying this just because he lit me up and made me feel very old and slow.

He’s a sniper and as long as he doesn’t wait too long for his opportunities, Blackledge should be able to control this fight on the feet and possibly finish his opponent.

It is a winnable fight, though, for Church who is going to come forward and throw down no matter what.

I would cap this fight with Sherrard being the (-200) favorite and while that may seem like an exaggeration, it’s not. He is the much better athlete in there and will surely be faster.

Church is going to do his best to make this fight as ugly as possible but I think Blackledge catches him with some clean hands and if he gets the knees and kicks into the fun, this one could end inside the distance.

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.