Dana White’s Contender Series: Week 8 Betting Guide

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LAS VEGAS, NV – AUGUST 9: The chairs where Week 3 winners of the Dana White Contender Series will sit awaiting news of a UFC contract on August 9, 2022, at UFC APEX in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Amy Kaplan/Icon Sportswire)

Week 8 of Dana White’s Contender series is fast approaching. This edition includes some familiar faces. Two fighters will return to the series in hopes of finally securing that contract. Another weighed in for a fight earlier in the season, but the fight was scrapped due to an opponent missing weight. Which of these fighters will earn their ticket to the biggest promotion in the world?

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Dana White’s Contender Series: Week 8 – Picks and Games

Bantamweight: Farid Basharat (-335) against Allan Begosso

As I mentioned when I interrupted his fight earlier in the season, Farid Basharat isn’t quite what his brother is. It has a lot of the same style though. He has good footwork and a patient shot. His grappling is the real bread and butter, with both strong control and submission skills. The difference is that he can sometimes be a little too easy to hit, which is certainly not what his brother can be blamed for.

Despite that fact, I’m not particularly worried about him in a fight with Allan Begosso. Begosso fights with his hands quite high and is easily supported by feints. Both of those things don’t bode well against a guy with three rear chokes in his last three fights. It’s also not great that Begosso struggles to get out of the cage. As a result, this should be a showcase fight for Basharat and Dana White should like what he sees on the mat.

Middleweight: Ikram Aliskerov (-425) vs. Mario Souza

Mario Souza is the first fighter to return, but this isn’t his second time on the show. Souza has actually had the opportunity to impress Dana in each of the past two years. In 2020, he beat Mariusz Ksiazkiewicz, earning him a shot in 2021 against Chidi Njokuani, which went less well. In those two fights, he showed he had very clean strikes. However, in all of them he showed a suspicious defense against the takedown. Ksiazkiewicz knocked him down four times and, despite being a striker, Njokuani even did it on the mat.

There’s no worse matchup for a guy who’s had trouble getting downed. Ikram Aliskerov is a sambo beast. His only defeat came in 2019 against Khamzat Chimaev. In this fight, Khamzat worked hard for a takedown for the first few minutes but ultimately had nothing to knock Aliskerov down. It’s not just about battling Aliskerov’s defense either. He showed against UFC veterans Nah-shon Burrell and Denis Tiuliulin that he has what we expect of fighters from this part of the world. He strings together takedowns so well and it’s almost impossible to fight him. I expect it to be on the mat quickly and soon after.

Lightweight: Trevor Peek (+170) vs. Malik Lewis

There’s never been a fighter more clear about what he wants to do than Trevor Peek. Any attempt to get him into the clinch and he panics and frantically pushes his opponent away. It’s because all this guy wants to do is bang. He throws hands and legs with 100% power every time. Is it the most technical game or the most nuanced? Definitely not. But is it something that probably makes Dana White salivate? Absolutely.

There is something to worry about with Malik Lewis against this kind of game plan. The first is that Lewis has pretty solid grips. He has a nice double leg and uses good head pressure to set things up against the cage. All of these things are things Peek has had trouble with in the past. Still, with such a clear path to victory, I still take Peek here. The reason for this is that Lewis has a bit of a gap in his game as well. His shot seems a bit jerky at times. Ultimately, I think it’s mostly a means to an end (his struggle) at this point. When you fight a guy with abnormally good power, I think the most well-rounded fighter is always going to end up on the wrong end of a big power hit.

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Flyweight: Bruna Brasil (-205) vs. Marnic Mann

The size discrepancy is going to be hard to ignore in this fight. Marnic Mann will give up six inches in height. Even though we don’t have reach numbers yet, I imagine the number there will be almost as bad as well. This kind of size difference obviously isn’t an automatic fade, but it’s not a good sign considering how these two look stylistically.

Bruna Brasil has a karate-style standing game – low hands, light on the feet and sharp with the kicks. She keeps her distance very well and never gets too committed. Mann is all about takedowns. She uses super wide shots to wade in range and get head and arm kills against the cage. She’s pretty solid once on the mat, but I’m really afraid she’ll never get there. Brazil will just be too hard for her to catch and on top of that Brazil have also shown some decent kills in their past. She has a nice inner journey that she uses. If it happens on the feet, Mann will likely post a worse hitting accuracy number than any before on Dana White’s Contender series.

Bantamweight: Daniel Marcos (+130) vs. Brandon Lewis

Brandon Lewis is the second fighter to get his second chance to impress Dana. In his first round, he suffered a loss to Mo Miller, largely due to a really suspicious takedown defense. Granted, Mo Miller is a solid wrestler, but the part that bothered me the most about Lewis was his inability to find the range. He’s a pretty stocky bantamweight and loves leg kicks. While these things can co-exist, they didn’t go particularly well with Lewis. When he finds distance, those leg kicks do damage and he has decent hands – especially his body work.

I take Daniel Marcos here, but not with much confidence. It has real glitches that concern me. The first is the fact that, when under pressure, he tilts his head forward. The second concern is that he hasn’t fought in almost three years. Still, I’m leaning towards Marcos here thanks to some of the things he does well. He cuts the cage with solid footwork. He has nice spinning attacks – mostly with his legs. When he lets go of his hands it can get a bit wild, but he has good power. So even though he has a lot of question marks around him, I think he should be able to frustrate Lewis with range management and volume.

If you want even more information on these fights from Dana White’s Contender Series, be sure to check out the MMA Gambling Podcast. Gumby and Jeff come to your ears four times a week to give you all the knowledge you need to be the smartest guy in the bar.

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