After 2nd DWCS win and (finally) a UFC contract, Charles Byrd eyes dream fight in Japan

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LAS VEGAS – It took two tries and two finishes, but Charles Byrd is now officially a UFC fighter.

Byrd (9-4) stamped his octagon ticket on Tuesday after submitting Randall Wallace (15-7) in the second round of a middleweight fight at Dana White’s Contender Series 6.

What made the situation unique was that Byrd was also the first fighter to win twice at the event series after previously (and brutally) choking out Jamie Pickett in its debut.

With two big, high-stakes fights in a five-week span, one would imagine Byrd is ready for a bit of a break, right?

“No, man,” Byrd told MMAjunkie after the fight, which streamed on UFC Fight Pass from The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas. “I want to fight in Japan. That’s been my dream, to fight in Japan.

“They can call me whenever; I’ll tell you that much. I’ll go home. I’ll heal up quick. I’m ready. I’m ready to fight.”

Whether Byrd will end up getting his spot at UFC Fight Night 117, which takes place at Saitama Super Arena on Sept. 22, remains to be seen. But, hey, his willingness – or better yet, eagerness – to make quick turnarounds has already paid off once.

“I love this kid, Byrd, for coming back twice and finishing both times,” UFC President Dana White told reporters after the event. “I respect it, so I’m going to give him a shot.

“He asked to (return to the show), I guess. I guess it was him. He wanted to come back and do it again, and he did it again, so you’ve got to respect that.”

Byrd was, indeed, the one who asked to come back, motivated by the “pit in his stomach” left from his first attempt. After an arm-triangle put a first-round end to his meeting with Pickett, Byrd admitted he – as well as the people around him – anticipated a contract coming.

The situation, Byrd said, hurt. But he wasn’t about to let it stop him.

“I told the matchmaker I was sick to my stomach; I told him I’d fight again next week,” Byrd said. “That’s kind of how it felt. You come out here, you put it all on the line, you get the finish, and you don’t get what you came here for. Of course I’m going to come back. What fighter wouldn’t?”

After reality failed to live up to his expectations the first time, Byrd said he went into his second try with a “we’ll-see-what-happens” mindset. The result, of course, was yet another finish – and one that took overcoming a little more adversity than the first one.

Now, with not only a contract but some personal praise by White, Byrd is not about to rest on his laurels. In fact, it’s quite the contrary: He’s all the more motivated to keep working.

“My goal is to have a strap around my waist,” Byrd said. “I’ve got one goal accomplished. I’m going to keep pushing to the next one.”

To hear from Byrd, check out the video above.

And for more on Dana White’s Contender Series 6, visit the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Dana White's Contender Series 6 results: Charles Byrd wins for 2nd time, lands UFC contract

Middleweight Charles Byrd became the first fighter to win twice on Dana White’s Contender Series after submitting short-notice replacement Randall Wallace.

Byrd toughed it out after Wallace set up a rear-naked choke in the first, returning the favor at the 2:03 mark of the second frame in the headliner of Dana White’s Contender Series 6 on Tuesday.

For his troubles, Wallace was one of two fighters to earn a UFC contract.

“I knew I had to get a finish first,” Byrd said afterward. “The pressure went away because of the first fight, but it’s the big leagues. You’ve got to perform. I’m thankful I got another victory and the finish.”

The event took place at The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas and streamed live on UFC Fight Pass.

Byrd came in hot with a flurry of punches but wound up catching a right hand that stunned him. Byrd tried to pull off the quick upset, taking the back after a takedown. With his hands not quite positioned, Byrd was forced to wait it out. When he got a bit of space, he reversed position and took mount. Wallace escaped but was muscled back to the canvas.

The momentum shift of the first round didn’t repeat in the second. Byrd (9-4) again charged in and reversed a takedown attempt to land big shots from top position. When Wallace (15-7) gave up his back, he sunk in the choke.

Dawson decimates Diaz, earns contract

Featherweight Grant Dawson ran roughshod over Adrian Diaz before a rear-naked choke at the 1:15 mark of the second round.

Diaz barely survived the first round as Dawson put him on the mat and pounded him. He squeezed a choke in the last seconds of the frame that might have ended the fight if not for the bell.

“I hope that was the performance Dana (White) was looking for,” Dawson said after the win. “I knew what I had to do, and I did it, and I hope I can get a contract.”

He did.

Dawson (12-1) now has won three straight. Diaz (11-5-1) sees a three-fight winning streak snapped.

Olson grinds out Reed for decision upset

Light heavyweight Cameron Olson knew how to take the spring out of Karl Reed’s step.

After taking enough potshots from the bouncy Reed to bloody his nose, Olson made it an ugly grind. He charged in and smothered his opponent against the fence and sapped Reed’s energy in the process.

Spurts of offense from Reed in the early portion of the fight gave way to Olson’s control. In the first round, Olson landed a series of knees to the head. In the second, he slammed Reed and almost got an arm-triangle.

By the third, Olson (7-3) was doing most of the initiation when it came to dictating the direction of the fight. The final scores were 29-28 across the board, bringing an upset as the +225 underdog against Reed (1-1).

“I didn’t get the finish like I wanted to, but I had the gas,” Olson said afterward. “I’m still upset I couldn’t quite get the finish. That’s what I really wanted to do.”

Alvarez survives disastrous third against Day

Flyweight Jamie Alvarez got beat from pillar to post in his final round against Martin Day. But he survived the onslaught, and his work in the first two rounds got him the decision win.

A clearly dissatisfied Alvarez earned scores of 28-27, 29-28 and 29-27 to take the fight. He said afterward that a tough weight-cut left him unable to fight back against Day, who battered his body and landed heavy punches and kicks.

“I know what I’m capable of, and that definitely wasn’t it,” said Alvarez, a veteran of “The Ultimate Fighter 24.”

Alvarez attacked Day’s legs early in an effort to take the sting from the Hawaiian’s big kicks. Toward the end of the opening frame, he traded takedowns with Day and did more damage during his stint in dominant position.

Doubling down on the strategy, Alvarez got an early takedown in the second and threatened chokes from back control, keeping top position despite a scramble effort from Day, who briefly managed to take the back near the end.

Going into the third, it was a close fight. Day (5-2) had put some good hands on Alvarez (7-1) as he shot in, and hadn’t expired when taking ground-and-pound. Alvarez, however, just didn’t have the energy to put up much of a fight and was badly outclassed in the final frame.

Thankfully for him, he’d already built up enough credit with judges.

Colleen snatches victory at last-minute with submission

Women’s strawweight [autotag]Jamie Colleen snatched victory from the jaws of certain defeat, getting a last-minute armbar on Tiffany Masters after getting dominated for much of the bout.

Masters appeared to be well on her way to a decision win when Colleen secured the submission, going belly down to get a verbal tap at the 4:43 mark of the third round.

“This fight means everything to me, and I preach to my daughters never to give up,” Colleen said after improving her professional record to 4-1.

The complete results for Dana White’s Contender Series 6 include:

  • Charles Byrd def. Randall Wallace via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:03
  • Grant Dawson def. Adrian Diaz via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 1:15
  • Cameron Olson def. Karl Reed via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Jamie Alvarez def. Martin Day via unanimous decision (28-27, 29-28, 29-27)
  • Jamie Colleen def. Tiffany Masters via submission (armbar) – Round 3, 4:43

For more on Dana White’s Contender Series 6, visit the UFC Events page of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Randall Wallace replaces Gabriel Checco in Dana White Contenders Series 6 headliner

Gabriel Checco’s loss is Randall Wallace’s gain.

Wallace on Tuesday will fight for a potential UFC contract in the Dana White’s Contender Series 6 headliner after Checco withdrew for the second time this season.

Wallace will face Charles Byrd at The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas of the sixth installment of the series, which will stream live on UFC Fight Pass.

Wallace (15-6) takes the fight on just days’ notice and enters on a three-fight winning streak, with all three victories coming by way of stoppage.

Byrd (8-4) gets his second chance at DWCS. At Dana White’s Contender Series 1 in July, he choked out Jamie Pickett with an arm-triangle – and a violent result. Despite the finish, he didn’t get a contract, so has another shot at it next week. The Legacy FC veteran from Texas has six of his eight career wins by stoppage.

With the change, the DWCS 6 lineup now includes:

  • Charles Byrd vs. Randall Wallace
  • Grant Dawson vs. Adrian Diaz
  • Cameron Olson vs. Karl Reed
  • Jamie Alvarez vs. Martin Day
  • Jamie Colleen vs. Tiffany Masters

For more on Dana White’s Contender Series 6, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Dana White's Contender Series 6 lineup set with Charles Byrd-Gabriel Checco, first women's bout

The lineup for the sixth edition of Dana White’s Contender Series is set.

UFC officials have revealed the five fights that will be featured at Dana White’s Contender Series 6, which takes place Aug. 15 at The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas and streams live on UFC Fight Pass.

For the first time in the series, a women’s fight will take place when Jamie Colleen (3-1) takes on Tiffany Masters (2-0) in a strawweight bout.

In the main event, Charles Byrd (8-4) meets Gabriel Checco (10-2) in a middleweight bout. Additional fights include Grant Dawson (11-1) vs. Adrian Diaz (11-4-1) at middleweight, Cameron Olson (6-3) vs. Karl Reed (2-0) at light heavyweight, and Jamie Alvarez (6-1) vs. Martin Day (5-1) at flyweight.

Byrd gets his second chance at DWCS when he meets Checco. At Dana White’s Contender Series 1 in July, he choked out Jamie Pickett with an arm-triangle – and a violent result. Despite the finish, he didn’t get a contract, so has another shot at it next week. The Legacy FC veteran from Texas has six of his eight career wins by stoppage.

Gabriel Checco

Brazil’s Checco is a five-fight RFA veteran who went 3-2 for that promotion with three stoppages. But he hasn’t fought since a kneebar submission of Adam Stroup at RFA 43 in September 2016, which gave him back-to-back wins.

Masters, from Wisconsin, turned pro in late 2016 after an amateur career of nearly two years. She has stoppages in both her pro fights so far, both under the King of the Cage banner. In March, she submitted Miki Rogers with an anaconda choke in 57 seconds.

Colleen trains with Renzo Gracie on the East Coast. She started her career 3-0 with three knockouts, but in March 2016 dropped a fifth-round TKO to Danielle Taylor in a King of the Cage title fight. Taylor went on to sign with the UFC, where she now is 2-1.

The Dana White’s Contender Series 6 lineup includes:

  • Charles Byrd vs. Gabriel Checco
  • Grant Dawson vs. Adrian Diaz
  • Cameron Olson vs. Karl Reed
  • Jamie Alvarez vs. Martin Day
  • Jamie Colleen vs. Tiffany Masters

For more on Dana White’s Contender Series 6, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

'Dana White's Contender Series' Week 1 results: Kurt Holobaugh KOs Matt Bessette in headliner

LAS VEGAS – Kurt Holobaugh was triumphant in the Week 1 main event of “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series” when he starched Matt Bessette for a first-round knockout.

The event, which streamed on UFC Fight Pass at The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas, saw Holobraugh (18-4) come out on fire, putting on good striking work to Bessette’s (22-8) head and body. The assault continued as time wore on, and after a few minutes the result was imminent.

Holobraugh caught Bessette with a perfect counter right hand, which immediately sent his opponent crashing face-first to the canvas, causing referee John McCarthy to step in halt the action at the 2:59 mark of Round 1.

Anyanwu scores big KO, confronts Dana White

The heavyweights delivered a violent finish when Azunna Anyanwu ended Greg Rebello’s night with a nasty series of punches for the second-round knockout.

After touching each other up on the feet with hard shots over the opening round, the action spilled over into the second but started to sway in Anyanwu’s favor. Finally a left hand connected flush on Rebello’s chin, and Anyanwu swarmed with follow-up shots for the stoppage at 3:04 of Round 2.

Immediately after the fight, Anyanwu went to the side of the octagon where UFC President Dana White was seated and pleaded for him to offer an official UFC contract.

Salmon’s superior striking gets it done

Boston Salmon (5-1) didn’t get the finish, but he put in a largely dominant performance against Ricky Turcios (8-1) to earn a unanimous decision by scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.

Salmon’s striking was the key to victory in the lightweight bout. He kept his opponent at his desired range and picked his shots in a convincing manner over the course of 15 minutes to hand Turcios his first career loss.

Byrd earns scary submission of Pickett

Charles Byrd (8-4) choked out Jamie Pickett (6-3) in frightening fashion in the opening round of their middleweight bout to earn his fourth victory in his past five fights.

Byrd found his way into top position late in the first round and locked in an arm-triangle choke, which put Pickett unconscious and caused him to convulse on the canvas for several seconds after the referee halted the action at the 4:55 mark.

Fortunately, Byrd returned to his feet and left the octagon under his own power.

Sanchez rallies for decision nod

Joby Sanchez (10-2) earned the first victory in the history of “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series” when he rallied to defeat Manny Vazquez (9-3) in their flyweight bout.

After getting dropped and nearly submitted in the first round, Sanchez turned up the heat with his grappling in the second frame. He carried that momentum into the third to get the nod on all the judges’ scorecards.

Complete Dana White’s Contender Series: Week 1 results included:

  • Kurt Holobraugh def. Matt Bessette via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 2:59
  • Azunna Anyanwu def. Greg Rebello via knockout (puches) – Round 2, 3:04
  • Boston Salmon def. Ricky Turcios via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Charles Byrd def. Jamie Pickett via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 1, 4:55
  • Joby Sanchez def. Manny Vazquez via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)

For more on “Dana White’s Contender Series: Week 1,” check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

5-fight lineup revealed for 'Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series' premiere

The fight card is set for the premiere of “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series,” and it features a mix of former UFC fighters, journeyman and hot prospects.

In the first episode, which airs July 11 on UFC Fight Pass, three UFC veterans – Joby Sanchez, Justin Jones and Kurt Holobaugh – are among those vying for a chance to get back with the industry leader.

Holobaugh (17-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC), whose lone appearance with the promotion came in a 2013 loss at UFC 159, will face CES MMA champion Matt Bessette (22-7 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in a featherweight bout. Bessette enters on a seven-fight winning streak, with five in CES and two in Bellator. Holobaugh comes in on a three-fight winning streak, all with Titan FC. Both men scored TKO wins in their most recent fights in May.

Sanchez (9-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) faces 23-year-old Manny Vasquez (11-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in a flyweight bout between prospects. Sanchez, 25, has back-to-back wins since parting from the UFC following a 2015 loss to Geanne Herrera. Vasquez is hoping to make a strong impression after a successful Bellator debut in March at Bellator 175, where he beat Nate Williams via unanimous decision.

A heavyweight bout between a pair of 35-year-olds is also on the card, with Greg Rebello vs. Azunna Anyanwu. Rebello (22-7 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has won six of last seven, including two straight this year by submission and TKO. Anyanwu (13-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is riding the wave of a four-fight winning streak, with his most recent victory coming by way of TKO in February.

The fights on the show will take place at The Ultimate Fighter gym in Las Vegas. But unlike the fights on the “TUF” reality series that take place in the gym, these fights will be fully regulated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission – meaning all the fights count toward the fighters’ records.

The full card includes:

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie