Dana White’s Contender Series UFC Fight Picks

Last week was our first time predicting one of the fights from Dana White’s Contender Series.

The first couple of years of the Contender Series, I kinda wrote it off but some former training partners in Las Vegas told me that they attend a lot of the shows and you can get some really good betting value.

But are the fighters really any good? I asked myself this.

Once I looked at a list of current UFC fighters who got their start in the UFC from this show, I was shocked! Okay, not missing the Contender Series anymore.

We were fortunate that I knew one of the Week 1 fighters very well. I trained with Jordan Leavitt nearly every day for years and was well aware of his capabilities and skill set.

When I made the pick on here, he was still sitting up at (-185).

I thought he had solid value at that price but luckily for some of us, money kept coming in on his opponent and the betting odds were nearly even by fight time.

Jordan took him down right away and eventually sunk in a very very quick arm-triangle choke that he finished from almost half guard. He never had to turn his body like a clock to get that perfect angle.

Leavitt’s squeeze had Flores tapping just a couple of seconds after the choke was applied.

I didn’t pick any of the other fights that night because I just didn’t see the value and wanted to get a feel for how these guys perform.

We do have to remember one thing when it comes to betting on the Contender Series and that’s the fact that these guys more or less need a finish to even be considered for a UFC contract by Dana White.

So, they scrap.

If our potential betting pick is a lay and pray artist who doesn’t like to mix it up on the ground because his/her submission defense is suspect, we could run into a problem by backing them.

I say this because fighter A knows that 3 rounds of lay and pray might be enough for a win but as I said, no finish-no contract-in all likelihood.

Contrarily, if a fighter is accustomed to always looking for a finish, then they won’t have to change up their style on a Tuesday as much as the “round winner” type.

BetOnline.AG has the betting odds for this week’s Contender Series action. We probably aren’t going to have 5 separate straight picks, though. Let’s take a look at those odds and make a play or two from there.

Parlay

Adrian Yanez (-285) + TJ Laramie (-350)

We will start with TJ Laramie.

I am hearing great things about this guy not only from his new camp from some of my old friends who are now at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas but also from some of the Canadian media. They are really high on this kid!

He is a kid, though, and his opponent, Daniel Swain has 30 fights under his belt.

Primarily a regional veteran, Swain, has fought all over the world including a recent run with M-1 Global, the #1 mixed martial arts promotion in mother Russia.

I look at some of the fighters TJ Laramie has fought already at just 22-years-old and I am very impressed.

  • I have trained with Jimmy Spicuzza who is a very solid fighter with great athleticism and TJ put him away.
  • He knocked out James Dunn who I have trained with and I smashed him too. Dunn is primarily a Jiu-Jitsu guy with no wrestling so he falls victim quite often.
  • Charles Jourdain… Now, that’s a big win.

TJ handed “Air” Jourdain the first loss of his career about 2.5 years ago.

That is very impressive considering longtime UFC vet Andre “Touchy” Fili had to make it a boring fight and juuuust barely got the decision nod over Charles recently. I picked Andre and it was quite the sweat.

Laramie has been fighting good fighters for his entire career. None of his opponents had a losing record when he fought them.

I like that they let the prospect get beat on a little bit before he gets his shot in the big show.

Laramie doesn’t have that fancy undefeated record but trust that he could’ve if that’s how his handlers wanted to handle it.

I have even heard some people say he is the number one prospect coming out of Canada right now and that is saying a lot even if he’s just top 10.

I think TJ gets it done but his odds are long so let’s parlay him with…

Adrian Yanez is 10-3 and his opponent, Brady Hoang is 11-1.

Hoang likes to throw a lot of low kicks and Adrian is a pressure boxer.

Immediately, this is a red flag. Unless you are clearly the superior striker overall, pressure punching beats distance and kicking in MMA.

This is especially true inside of a small Octagon. I know I mention that freaking cage just about every article but it is a game changer, guys.

As far as previous competition fought, it’s not even close between these two guys. Yanez has fought much much better opponents.

Adrian was 7-2 heading into the biggest fight of his career in LFA against former Contender Series winner and current UFC fighter, Miles Johns.

Yanez lost by split decision but LFA didn’t pick him back up so he went to a smaller promotion and beat two veterans with a combined record of 20-34.

Hey, at least they had some experience. LFA brought him back for one fight against 10-4 Kyle Estrada. He got the W and here we are.

I mentioned that I liked how TJ Laramie’s coaches and manager brought him up fighting tough guys the whole way. Well, those in charge of Brady Hoang’s career took the complete opposite approach.

He fought an 0-8 fighter in his debut and won. Then he fights the same guy again and wins. That is a combined 0-17, right? Even though it’s the same fighter?

He just got a win in Japan over a fighter who was 15-7 at the time and that is his biggest win. Hey, this is how they brought up many of the world’s best boxers.

A fighter’s skills are being developed along with their confidence while they aren’t getting snakebit or knocked out and gun shy.

I like the in your face style of Yanez in the small cage and it appears he has better hands and that will probably be the difference in this one.

Pick: Laramie and Yanez

Live Dog

Joe Pyfer: +200

Not gonna go too deep here on Pyfer.

He is a very athletic guy who hits really hard and he is fighting the super duper technical Dustin Stoltzfus who is also a Pennsylvania guy but has computed mostly in Germany.

Dustin is the more experienced guy and he has fought better competition.

He has way more tools but sometimes, a fight comes down to just one tool and that could be the difference.

You can have 50 different elbow strikes in your back pocket but if someone has your back, what are you gonna do?

I’m a technical guy not a bully so I would normally pull for Dustin here but after watching tape, there is a chance that the bigger man, Pyfer, can bully Stoltzfus in a smaller cage.

Both guys are finishers, though, and neither should have to straw too far from their original gameplans.

Joe’s betting odds of (+200) denote an implied probability of 33%. I have him at about 40% so we have an edge there.

Remember, guys, this is the Contender Series and everyone is a debut fighter and some are forced to fight a different way than they’re used to.

Don’t go big on these bets but just reading this and watching the fights will make us that much better in the long run.

Every week, it gets more difficult to keep up with all of the new UFC fighters debuting each week but keeping a close eye on the Contender Series is a great way to stay abreast of fresh new mixed martial arts talent.

PLACE YOUR BETS NOW!

In Conclusion

There you have it, guys.

We went a little deeper this week than we did the last.

I was more than happy to snipe my buddy Jordan Leavitt. I hope some of you got him at nearly even odds. That was the steal of the century.

Unfortunately, though, I haven’t trained with any of Tuesday’s fighters so we will have to go off of fight tape.

I really like Laramie. I think because he has already fought some really good fighters at such a young age, his improvement curve looks something like NYC COVID cases in April. Too soon?

It feels like 50 freaking years but hey, that’s just me waiting to get back into Thailand.

Yanez is another good prospect. Brady Hoang could prove me wrong but he has fought one solid fighter in his career and he lost by stoppage.

Lastly, take a stab at Joe Pyfer.

Nobody I know is really giving the guy much of a chance. I like Dustin’s game a lot but sometimes, you can be outgunned early, caught cold, or simply bullied for 10-15 minutes.

Get your bets in now and enjoy the scraps!

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.