Carlos Prates made a spectacular debut in the world of big-stage mixed martial arts, headlining Dana White’s Contender Series event at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. Prates said, “I told Dana after my fight, I’m here to be the new welterweight star,” and indeed, he underscored that statement with a thrilling second-round knockout over Mitch Ramirez. 

From the onset, Prates, now with a 17-6 record, was a clinical tactician. His striking acumen was on full display as he landed a series of meticulously executed straight lefts, head kicks, and knees, effectively wearing down Ramirez. At 74 seconds into the second round, Prates unleashed a devastating left hand that knocked out Ramirez, drawing immediate comparisons to UFC legend Anderson Silva. This performance has solidified Prates as a rising star in the welterweight division and someone who aims to leave a lasting impact. “I can talk, I can win, I can knock people out. And guess what? I’m going to do everything,” added Prates, marking his territory in the division.

In addition to Prates, the event showcased several other noteworthy performances. Former JUCO national champion wrestler Thomas Peterson emerged as a formidable contender in the UFC heavyweight division by securing a second-round submission victory over Chandler Cole, a TUF 30 heavyweight. Peterson dominated from the outset, executing a pair of takedowns followed by a steady stream of elbows and punches from the half guard. He then secured a kimura in the second round that forced Cole to tap at the 1:08 mark, thereby earning a UFC contract.

Opening the night’s fight card was Belgian lightweight Bolaji Oki, who confronted a seasoned striker in Dylan Salvador. Despite Salvador’s kickboxing and Muay Thai experience, Oki unleashed a flurry of devastating punches, concluding with a left hand to the body that resulted in a first-round knockout. The performance was a tactical masterclass and secured Oki a spot in the UFC.

However, not every outstanding performance led to a UFC contract. In a middleweight bout, Marco Tulio, despite possessing less striking experience compared to his opponent Yousri Belgaroui, showcased his prowess by executing powerful punches that dislodged Belgaroui’s mouthpiece repeatedly. Though Tulio emerged victorious via a unanimous decision, his performance wasn’t compelling enough for Dana White to extend a UFC contract.

Rounding off the evening was Timothy Cuamba, the youngest fighter on the card at 24, taking on Mateo Vogel in a competitive featherweight bout. Cuamba led the initial exchanges, landing a sequence of successful strikes. The tables turned in the third round when Vogel secured a takedown, resulting in nearly three minutes of control time on Cuamba’s back. Despite this, the judges awarded a unanimous decision victory to Cuamba. Dana White praised Cuamba’s potential but clarified that he wasn’t yet ready for the UFC spotlight.

Here’s a wrap-up of the DWCS Season 7, Week 4 results:

  • Carlos Prates def. Mitch Ramirez via KO (punch) at 1:14 of Round 2
  • Marco Tulio def. Yousri Belgaroui via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Timothy Cuamba def. Mateo Vogel via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Thomas Peterson def. Chandler Cole via submission (kimura) at 1:08 of Round 2
  • Bolaji Oki def. Dylan Salvador via TKO (strikes) at 2:46 of Round 1

Tuesday’s Contender Series showcased a smorgasbord of martial talent, each hungry to make their own mark on MMA history. For fighters like Carlos Prates, that mark has already been indelibly etched. As for the others, the UFC door might not have swung fully open yet, but it’s definitely ajar. One thing is for sure, the future of MMA looks luminous, and these fighters are the burgeoning stars set to light it up.