Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series Week 7

Two more UFC contracts were awarded after the seventh episode of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, with one fighter making a second appearance this week while another put on an instant classic over three rounds.

Joby Sanchez picked up a win during the first week when the Contender Series launched, but he wasn’t offered a contract that night, so he came back for one more shot at the big show. This time around, Sanchez got the job done with an impressive second round finish to earn his way back to the UFC.

Meanwhile, Team Alpha Male prospect Benito Lopez engaged in an absolute battle with Steven Peterson over three rounds to notch a split decision win that also earned him a call to join the UFC roster.

Here’s the full breakdown of week 7 of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series:

ANTON BERZIN VS. KENNEDY NZECHUKWU

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 22:   (R-L) Kennedy Nzechukwu and Anton Berzin of Ukraine trade punches in their light heavyweight bout during Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series at the TUF Gym on August 22, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/DWTNCS)LAS VEGAS, NV – AUGUST 22: (R-L) Kennedy Nzechukwu and Anton Berzin of Ukraine trade punches in their light heavyweight bout during Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series at the TUF Gym on August 22, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/DWTNCS)

Nzechukwu established his jab early on while picking away at Berzin from the outside, using his reach advantage very effectively. Berzin fought through the early attacks before dragging the fight to the ground, where he looked for a D’arce choke, but Nzechukwu was able to slip free before scrambling back to his feet.

Nzechukwu survived a tough opening round before coming back with a stronger second stanza as he once again started to flick his jab out while landing it with very good accuracy. With each punch landed, Berzin’s head snapped back but he was still firing back with hard, heavy shots of his own.

The third round saw Nzechukwu really start to pour on the punishment, with his lead jab really finding a home with Berzin backing up and just going into survival mode. Nzechukwu never let up with his pressure while Berzin was struggling to counter with much of anything outside of playing defense against the cage wall. While it appeared that Nzechukwu had done enough to win, the judges still gave him a slight scare by returning a split decision. Still, he walked away victorious in his first appearance in the Contender Series.

Kennedy Nzechukwu def. Anton Berzin by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-29)

STEVEN PETERSON VS. BENITO LOPEZ

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 22:   (L-R) Benito Lopez lands a flying knee against Steven Peterson in their bantamweight bout during Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series at the TUF Gym on August 22, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/DWTNCS)LAS VEGAS, NV – AUGUST 22: (L-R) Benito Lopez lands a flying knee against Steven Peterson in their bantamweight bout during Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series at the TUF Gym on August 22, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/DWTNCS)

This bantamweight matchup produced a ton of fireworks and may have stolen the show as the best fight of the season thus far. Benito Lopez and Steven Peterson put on a show for three straight rounds as they went to war to earn that UFC contract.

Lopez came out guns blazing as the fight got underway while Peterson attempted to slow him down by looking for a takedown against the fence. Lopez did a tremendous job blocking his opponent’s wrestling before firing off a pair of knee strikes that blasted Peterson in the face, opening a cut that sent blood pouring down his face. Lopez stayed on the attack with a pair of head kicks, but miraculously Peterson ate it and just kept moving forward.

While Lopez was definitely getting the better of the exchanges on the feet, Peterson was undeterred as he came out looking for the takedown yet again in the second round. Eventually, Peterson found a way to drag Lopez to the mat, where he started to apply his ground attack. It was an impressive comeback as Peterson kept up the pressure while Lopez struggled to get up from the bottom.

It all came down to the third round, with Lopez looking to land his explosive strikes while Peterson kept grinding for the takedown. Lopez resisted once again as he tried to return fire with a few more punches before the final horn sounded. The back and forth battle resulted in a split decision from the judges, with Lopez eking out the victory after three hard fought rounds.

Benito Lopez def. Steven Peterson by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

About Debbie Wiseman

Editor in chief, Conor McGregor fangirl, animal lover. Follow me on twitter @MMAPARADISE and @nevernotdebbie