Brendson Ribeiro turned in a thunderous start to his UFC career.
The 26-year-old Brazilian light heavyweight was one of five contract winners at Tuesday’s Contender Series event, inking a UFC deal for his explosive first-round knockout of Bruno Lopes inside the UFC APEX.
Despite coming in as more than a 4-to-1 underdog, Ribeiro (15-5, 1 NC) preserved his 100-percent finishing rate with a highlight-reel sequence, flooring Lopes (11-1) with a beautiful one-two before turning his previously undefeated foe’s lights out with a monster flurry of follow-up punches. The official time of the stoppage came just 3:47 into the bout.
“Stay tuned, be alert, because ‘The Gorilla’ is here right now,” Ribeiro said. “I want a fight. Dana, put me to fight Brazil, November 4 [at UFC Sao Paulo]. Why not?”
Among the evening’s other standouts was Ukrainian bantamweight Serhiy Sidey (10-1), who scored a quick — if controversial — knockout of Ramon Tavares (8-1) at the 2:26 mark of Round 1. The 27-year-old prospect dropped Tavares with a lightning-quick counter one-two, then pounced with follow-up shots to prompt referee Kevin MacDonald to stop the contest.
Unfortunately, replay appeared to show that Tavares was still in the fight, however UFC executives still liked what they saw from Sidey and inked him to a deal.
Because of the controversial stoppage, White announced the UFC is bringing back Tavares for another opportunity on Week 10 of this season of the promotion’s Contender Series.
Elsewhere in the night, former collegiate wrestler Dylan Budka (7-2) out-wrestled and outpointed Chad Hanekom (9-3) to win an uneventful middleweight contest via unanimous 29-28 scores. The two prospects spent the majority of the bout battling for takedowns along the fence, with Budka ultimately emerging victorious in a bout that left Dana White proclaiming it as one of the worst he’d seen in Contender Series history.
Despite that, White offered Budka an opportunity to cut down to 170 pounds and compete in the UFC welterweight division with the help of the UFC Performance Institute.
A 26-year-old teammate of Contender Series alumni Carlos Prates and Caio Borralho, Silva narrowly fell a step behind in a technical first round, however he roared back to life and nearly knocked out Vallejos with a massive barrage of shots along the fence in the second, rocking his previously undefeated foe with a brutal knee to the head followed by a standing elbow. Improbably, Vallejos survived to the horn, but Silva continued pouring it on throughout the final frame to earn his contract and join his teammates on the UFC roster.
In night’s curtain jerker, Brazilian flyweight Dione Barbosa (6-2) made the most of her short-notice opportunity, securing a UFC contract with a first-round armbar of Rainn Guerrero (5-2) after accepting the bout as a late replacement on a week’s notice. The 31-year-old Kings MMA product snatched the slick submission from bottom position at 4:35 of the opening round, showcasing her grappling acumen following an early Guerrero takedown.
- Brendson Ribeiro def. Bruno Lopes via KO (punches) at 3:47 of Round 1
- Serhiy Sidey def. Ramon Tavares via TKO (strikes) at 2:26 of Round 1
- Dylan Budka def. Chad Hanekom via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Jean Silva def. Kevin Vallejos via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Dione Barbosa def. Rainn Guerrero via submission (armbar) at 4:35 of Round 1