Dana White’s Contender Series 56 results: Five winners UFC bound

LAS VEGAS – MMA Junkie was on scene reporting live from Tuesday’s Dana White’s Contender Series 56 event.

Dana White’s Contender Series cards see prospects fighting for the opportunity to sign a UFC deal, with UFC president Dana White on hand to make the decisions.

The tenth and final week of the sixth season saw 10 fighters compete for their shot at a UFC contract.

In the feature bout, highly-touted middleweight prospect Bo Nickal returned for his second appearance this season to take on Donovan Beard. Just like his first performance this season, Nickal (3-0) once again looked a level above the competition, tapping Beard (7-2) in less than a minute.

All five fights resulted in finishes, capping off an exciting season of DWCS.

When it was all said and done, White extended contracts to each winner. Mateus Mendonca, Rafael Ramos Estevam, Jack Jenkins, Sam Patterson, and Nickal walk away with UFC contracts.

The UFC Apex hosted Tuesday’s card, which streamed live on ESPN+ beginning at 8 pm ET. The full results of DWCS 56 include:

MAIN CARD (ESPN+, 8 p.m. ET)

  • Bo Nickal def. Donovan Beard via submission (triangle choke) – Round 1, 0:52
  • Sam Patterson def. Vinicius Cenci via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:18
  • Jack Jenkins def. Freddy Emiliano Linares via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 4:30
  • Rafael Ramos Estevam def. Joao Elias via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:25
  • Mateus Mendonca def. Ashiek Ajim via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 0:48

Continue reading below for more details about each fight.

Ashiek Ajim vs. Mateus Mendonca

After an awkward glove touch, the fighters sized each other up and started letting the strikes fly. After trading kicks, Mendonca unloaded a lightning-quick two-punch combination that folded Ajim. Mendonca rushed in to follow up and landed a crushing left hand that put Ajim out cold. What a performance.

Result: Mateus Mendonca def. Ashiek Ajim via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 0:48
Photos: Dana White’s Contender Series 56: Best photos
Records: Ashiek Ajim (6-2), Mateus Mendonca (10-0)
Division: Bantamweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee: Mark Smith

Joao Elias vs. Rafael Ramos Estevam

The action immediately began without a glove touch and hyper aggression from Elias. The fight went to the ground and Elias began throwing up wild submission attempts as Estevam remained calm and worked his way to an advantageous position. The wild scrambles on the mat continued, with Elias looking for kneebars and ankle locks. Estevam found himself on top and started raining down hard ground and pound strikes until the end of the round, nearly getting the stoppage.

The action was paused after an accidental clash of heads in the early seconds during a takedown sequence. The fight resumed and Estevam once again took top position on the ground. Hard punches from the top position continued until the referee saw enough for the TKO stoppage.

Result: Rafael Ramos Estevam def. Joao Elias via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:25
Photos: Dana White’s Contender Series 56: Best photos
Records: Joao Elias (17-4-1), Rafael Ramos Estevam (11-0)
Division: Flyweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee: Jason Herzog

Jack Jenkins vs. Freddy Emiliano Linares

The two featherweights met in the middle of the cage and began trading punches and kicks. Jenkins secured a takedown a moment later and began working from half guard. After a couple of minutes, Jenkins found the opening to take full mount, but Linares was able to reverse and get the fight back to the feet. A few punches were traded in the closing seconds.

Hard exchanges of punches and knees started the second round. Linares’ takedown attempt was stuffed, but Jenkins shot one of his own a few seconds later and once again began working from the top. A slicing elbow opened a nasty cut on the forehead of Linares. Hard strikes from Jenkins from the top continued throughout the round.

Linares felt he needed to change the course of the fight and came out aggressive, but Jenkins was ready and took the fight back to the mat. Jenkins continued his ground and pound attack while preventing Linares from escaping. Referee Mark Smith warned a stoppage was near, and after more punches from Jenkins, he called a stop to this bloody fight.

Result: Jack Jenkins def. Freddy Emiliano Linares via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 4:30
Photos: Dana White’s Contender Series 56: Best photos
Records: Jack Jenkins (10-2), Freddy Emiliano Linares (10-1)
Division: Featherweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee: Mark Smith

Vinicius Cenci vs. Sam Patterson

Another high-action start as both fighters get to trading strikes immediately. Cenci pressured Patterson as he circled on the outside before clinching against the cage momentarily. Back in space, Cenci continued with his forward pressure and landed big punches to hurt Patterson. A clinch followed though, which gave Patterson time to recover. They separated and continued trading strikes with Cenci leading the way. Patterson began to take control of the center of the cage, sticking and moving from Cenci, but a takedown stopped his momentum. The round ended with a triangle attempt from Cenci.

Patterson came out with a good rhythm in the second, landing nice punches as Cenci got a little wild with his attacks. A low kick from Patterson paused the action briefly. When the fight resumed, Patterson continued to land sharp punches and jumped on a D’Arce choke when Cenci shot in. Cenci escaped, but found himself underneath Patterson in half guard. A deep guillotine was locked in momentarily, but Cenci escaped that attempt too. However, Patterson took his back and locked up a rear-naked choke. This time there would be no escape and Cenci was forced to tap as he almost went out.

Result: Sam Patterson def. Vinicius Cenci via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:18
Photos: Dana White’s Contender Series 56: Best photos
Records: Vinicius Cenci (7-2), Sam Patterson (10-1-1)
Division: Lightweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee: Jason Herzog

Bo Nickal vs. Donovan Beard

The final fight of the season began with no glove touch. Beard offered a couple of early-range finding strikes but didn’t land anything. A moment later, Nickal darted forward with a hard left hand into a knee tap takedown. Nickal jumped on a guollitine but transitioned to a triangle to get a sub-minute finish. Wow.

Result: Bo Nickal def. Donovan Beard via submission (triangle choke) – Round 1, 0:52
Photos: Dana White’s Contender Series 56: Best photos
Records: Bo Nickal (3-0), Donovan Beard (7-2)
Division: Middleweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee: Mark Smith

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