Here is how it all went down on the 12th edition of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series in Las Vegas.
On Tuesday night, July 10, 2018, Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series returned for another action-packed fight card.
As always, 10 fighters competed in front of UFC president Dana White, along with matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard for an opportunity at being signed by the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization.
The main event featured a lightweight matchup between LFA featherweight champion Kevin Aguilar taking on unbeaten Joey Gomez. Many believe Aguilar should already be in the UFC but to get there, he needed to shine brightly on this exciting stage. Gomez, who is one of the brightest prospects out of BJ Penn’s gym in Hilo, Hawaii, was looking to put a stop to Aguilar’s ascension.
Gomez landed a short left hook early as Aguilar looked for the big shot. Gomez, an incredible grappler, looked for the takedown but wasn’t able to land it. They trade shots and Gomez is split open. Gomez shoots for another takedown and is successful. Aguilar — who was a 3-1 favorite heading in — was on his back eating elbows from Gomez. Aguilar was able to get back to his feet and both men look to be busted open now. Aguilar lands a double jab and Gomez looked very comfortable on his feet, as well as the much taller fighter. Body kick lands by Aguilar with 30 seconds to go, answered by Gomez with a right hand. Good was just pouring down the chest of Gomez as Aguilar lands a pair of punches before the horn sounds.
Both men trade big punches to start the second round, and again! Aguilar lands a pair of heavy punches, dropping Gomez briefly. Both guys back to their feet and Aguilar just misses a grand slam right hand. Gomez shoots for a takedown, which is stuffed by the LFA champion. Both land big punches again, which echoed loud in the TUF Gym. Nasty straight right hand from Aguilar lands. Another right thrown by Aguilar but a picture-perfect timed takedown lands from Gomez. Aguilar throws his legs up to defend any damage from Gomez. The Hawaiian landed punches to the body and a right hand to the face as he went back into the guard of Aguilar. Gomez lands a short elbow and Aguilar is not able to get back to his feet with under a minute to go. With 40 seconds left, Aguilar is back up and lands a left jab. Gomez lands a counter left hand and they trade punches in the center as the round ends.
Pivotal final round sees Aguilar landing a body kick right off the bat. Aguilar lands a right hand, but Gomez has shown a strong chin throughout the fight. Both fighters come up short on punches as fatigue is getting in. Gomez seems to be looking for the right time to shoot in for another takedown but is eating punches while he awaits an opening. Aguilar looks like the looser fighter, but eat a left hook from Gomez with two minutes to go. Big right-hand lands from Aguilar and Gomez answers with a left hook. A very close fight came down to the final minute. Gomez lands a right hand, answered by Aguilar. Gomez whiffs on a left and eats a right hand as Gomez looked for a takedown. Aguilar stuff it. Final 30 seconds of the fight and Aguilar landed a short left hand. They stand in the middle and trade shots as the round ends, Aguilar stuck out with a big left in the closing seconds.
In the end, two of the judges scored it for Aguilar as he picked up the split-decision victory but was unable to secure a contract
Bevon Lewis earns second DWTNCS victory, UFC contract
In the co-main event, Bevon Lewis, who earned a developmental deal last summer on the Contender Series, took on fellow undefeated middleweight Alton Cunningham. Lewis came out strong with a big right hand and then it became a battle in the clinch through the first half of the first round. Lewis lands a knee and a nasty elbow to drop Cunningham. Lewis took his back looking for a finish as Cunningham is trying to stay alive. As he gets back to his feet, Lewis delivered a pair of absolutely ferocious knees and the referee had seen enough.
After the victory, Dana White awarded Lewis a UFC contract.
The third fight of the night saw featherweights Ricky Palacios and Toby Misech go to work. Palacios, a Combate Americas veteran, was able to do a bit more damage — especially in the third round to pick up the unanimous decision victory. With the win, “El Gallero” picked up his seventh consecutive victory.
Flyweights Jordan Espinosa and Riley Dutro had a back-and-forth battle in the second fight of the night. Both guys battled strong in the opening round and Dutro picked up the pace in the second, as it seemed like Espinosa was beginning to gas. It looked like the fight was even at a round apiece heading into the final round where Espinosa turned it on. He dropped Dutro twice, the second lead to the beginning of the end as Mark Smith waved the fight off with just two seconds left to go.
Despite Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard only wanting to sign Bevon Lewis, Dana White would award Espinosa a UFC contract after picking up his second DWTNCS victory.
In the night’s opening bout, Jalin Turner did everything but put Max Mustaki away in their lightweight contest. Mustaki did everything he could to survive — which he did to get out of the opening round. Unfortunately, Mustaki suffered a broken foot and the doctor called a stop to the contest before the second round could begin.
Here are the full DWTNCS 12 results:
- Kevin Aguilar def. Joey Gomez via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Bevon Lewis def. Alton Cunningham via TKO – 3:01, Round 1
- Ricky Palacios def. Toby Misech via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
- Jordan Espinosa def. Riley Dutro via TKO – 4:58, Round 3
- Jalin Turner def. Max Mustaki via TKO (doctor stoppage) – 5:00, Round 1