Raul Rosas Jr. made history.
The 17-year-old bantamweight became the youngest UFC fighter in history on Tuesday, inking a full-time deal with the promotion after a win in his co-headlining Contender Series bout against Mando Gutierrez, which took place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
The Mexico native out-grappled Gutierrez (7-2) in all three rounds and showcased a creative style, nearly pulling off a Suloev stretch attempt in Round 1 and taking his 25-year-old foe down in the second frame with a particularly gorgeous sequence off a faked flying knee. It was an impressive all-around performance – and one that showed Rosas Jr. (6-0) may actually be a force in the UFC before long.
In the end, all three judges scored the contest 30-27 in the youngster’s favor.
“There was nothing to even discuss. We didn’t even talk about it back there. … I’ve never seen anything like it, ”said UFC president Dana White.
“He’s absolutely positively talented, he’s special, he’s different. At 17 years old, you just don’t see kids that age handle themselves like that. “
“Since I was born, I knew this was going to happen, so everybody should not be surprised,” an elated Rosas Jr. said. “I’m the new king in here, so I’m coming for that belt now.”
Rosas Jr. finished his night by vowing to become a UFC champion by age 20.
Rosas Jr.’s history-making moment capped off an evening of five UFC contracts, as every winner at Tuesday’s event punched their ticket into MMA’s biggest promotion.
In the night’s main event, 29-year-old middleweight Brunno Ferreira (9-0) needed just 95 seconds to knock out Leon Aliu (10-2) with a hard-charging flurry of looping shots.
“I’m ‘Hulk,’ I can do this,” Ferreira said afterward.
“Remember the name. I will smash everybody in the division. “
The night also saw the reappearance of a familiar face, as heavyweight slugger Austen Lane (12-3) returned more than four years after his Contender Series loss to Greg Hardy.
A 34-year-old former NFL player, Lane made the best of his second effort, knocking out previously unbeaten Richard Jacobi (6-1-1) with a salvo of first-round punches. After getting taken down and mounted early, Lane reversed the position and smashed his grounded foe with repeated punches from a standing position, securing a finish at 4:34 of Round 1.
“I was happy with that. I had some adversity, that’s [the story] of my whole fight career, ”Lane said. “Overcame, got it done. And now we’re here. “
In other action, Nurullo Aliev (7-0) ran a metaphorical steamroller over Josh Wick (12-6), demolishing the veteran with a barrage of punches from top position at 4:36 of the first round.
A 22-year-old lightweight fighting out of Tajikistan, Aliev just needed a single takedown to signal the beginning of the end and outclass Wick under his stifling top control.
“My country is 93 percent mountains. I’m mountain eagle, real mountain eagle, ”Aliev said, referring to former UFC lightweight champion Khabib“ The Eagle ”Nurmagomedov. “I’m a problem in the lightweight division. I’m ready next week [for a] fight. “
The night’s final contract went to Jafel Filho (14-2), a 29-year-old flyweight who handed Roybert Echeverria (7-1) the first loss of his career with a devastating third-round knockout.
After a back-and-forth scrap that saw him suffer substantial damage from Echeverria’s leg kicks, Filho downed Echeverria out of nowhere with a massive counter left hand, then inked his UFC deal with follow-up punches at the 1:31 mark of Round 3.
“My leg was hurting, but my hand wasn’t,” Filho said afterward with a smile.
Full check out Contender Series results below.
- Brunno Ferreira def. Leon Aliu via TKO (punches) at 1:35 of Round 1
- Raul Rosas Jr. def. I send Gutierrez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Austen Lane def. Richard Jacobi via TKO (punches) at 4:34 of Round 1
- Nurullo Aliev def. Josh Wick via TKO (punches) at 4:36 of Round 1
- Jafel Filho def. Roybert Echeverria via TKO (punches) at 3:13 of Round 3