Dana White’s Contender Series 2021 week 6 preview and prediction


Previews and predictions for week six of this year’s edition of Dana White’s Contender Series.

The sixth week of the 2021 Contender Series goes down Tuesday live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. This episode showcases several high-profile prospects and will be capped off with some international flavor when Israel’s Shimon Smotritsky takes on Canada’s Mike Malott.

Week six of Dana White’s Contender Series packs five bouts, each at a different weight class. The previous episode saw a few upsets occur, but will that become a trend?

Let’s take a look at the five fights and predict which fighters will leave with contracts.

Shimon Smotritsky vs Mike Malott preview and prediction

Welterweights take center stage this week as Shimon Smotritsky puts his unbeaten record on the line against American Top Team’s Mike Malott.

Smotritsky enters the contest having won all of his seven pro bouts, including a pair of victories under the Bellator banner. He’s one of the youngest DWCS competitors at just 21-years-old and he possesses a solid frame for the weight class at six-foot-two.

Malott is eight years the elder of his opponent while having just one more fight on his record. The Canadian fighting out of California has just one loss to his name, which came against current UFC featherweight Hakeem Dawodu. All six of his wins have come in the opening round.

The advantage on the feet favors Smotritsky, who is adept at effectively throwing various kinds of kicks from both stances. Meanwhile, if this fight hits the mat it favors the BJJ black belt Malott. We’ve seen several young prospects step up to the plate and succeed on the Contender Series, but Smotritsky hasn’t faced anyone on a comparable level as Malott.

Prediction: Mike Malott by stoppage. Contract awarded.

Daniel Barez vs Carlos Hernandez preview and prediction

Each flyweight bout this season has resulted in at least one of the two fighters leaving with UFC contracts. Daniel Barez and Carlos Hernandez will look to keep that streak going.

Spain’s Barez began his pro MMA career 5-3, but since 2016 he’s amassed a record of 7-1. The 32-year-old has a solid list of opponents on his resume and has shown the ability to win in a variety of ways.

A native of Illinois, Hernandez has rattled off six straight wins following his pro debut loss in 2017. The 27-year-old hasn’t faced top-notch competition, but he’s handled what’s been put in front of him. One thing that sticks out is the fact that he hasn’t finished anyone on the feet since early in his amateur days.

There’s a pretty vast disparity in the quality of competition faced between these two flyweights. Barez holds his hands low on the feet, which could cause problems for him, but he has a power advantage along with a very good double leg takedown. It’ll be interesting to see how Hernandez responds to adversity if faced with it.

Prediction: Daniel Barez by decision. No contracts awarded.

Joshua Weems vs Fernie Garcia preview and prediction

This is listed as a bantamweight bout, but it will take place at a catchweight of 139lbs due to Joshua Weems’s weight miss.

Weems is a fighter from Mississippi who has won his last nine MMA bouts, which actually includes two bare-knuckle fights. The 27-year-old has kept a good activity level, averaging three fights per year since 2018.

Garcia is a Fortis MMA product who has only been defeated once, and that came via split decision. He’s currently riding a four-fight winning streak, all under the LFA banner and all by decision. The 29-year-old owns wins by decision and submission as a pro, but never by knockout.

Weems presents a well-rounded game and almost always a high output. Seven of his eight MMA wins have come by way of submission. On paper, this appears to be a fight that will consist of a lot of grappling. Weems should have a slight advantage as he’s comfortable fighting on top as well as off of his back.

Prediction: Joshua Weems by stoppage. Contract awarded.

Shonte Barnes vs Joseph Holmes preview and prediction

A pair of one-loss light heavyweights are set to square off in Shonte Barnes vs. Joseph Holmes.

All six of Barnes’s victories have come inside the distance, but he’s never defeated someone with a winning record. Still, he clearly has a lot of power and he picked up right where he left off when he returned to the cage in January, scoring another first-round knockout.

Like his Dana White’s Contender Series opponent, Holmes has finished all of his victories since turning pro in 2019. He stands at a tall six-foot-four and he has experience fighting for both Bellator and LFA.

Holmes will have a four to five-inch height advantage over Barnes, who stands roughly five-foot-eleven. He’s taller, longer, and far more experienced when it comes to opponents faced. Holmes is a massive favorite for a reason.

Prediction: Joseph Holmes by stoppage. Contract awarded.

Patrik White vs Genaro Valdez preview and prediction

Alaska’s Patrik White will attempt to hand Mexico’s Genaro Valdez his first loss in a scheduled lightweight bout.

White will travel out of state to fight for the first time in his career. The 28-year-old has disposed of competition with ease through 10 fights, aside from a rough first-round loss to a fighter who was 0-3 before their match.

Valdez holds an unblemished record heading into Dana White’s Contender Series. He’s gone 8-0 through the Mexican regional circuit and his two wins in 2020 was enough to warrant him this opportunity.

Honestly, White might have the advantage on the feet, utilizing his long six-foot frame. However, it’s Valdez who will have a distinct edge on the ground and in the clinch. This one’s about who can execute their game plan better. It’s close, but leaning towards the undefeated fighter.

Prediction: Genaro Valdez by stoppage. Contract awarded 

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