Robbie Ring celebrates his Aries victory

We’re already on the third week of the seventh season of Dana White’s Contender Series with another set of ten prospects looking to put on a show to earn a contract with the top MMA promotion in the world.

There will be one featherweight bout this week between ‘Razor’ Robbie Ring and ‘Corazon de Leon’ Luis Pajuelo. These guys have very different styles but are the perfect test for each others’ weak points.

Betting Odds

The line started close to even but moved as high as -180 towards the side of Robbie Ring. Currently, it’s settled closer to even but with Ring as the slight favorite:

  • Robbie Ring: -160 (BetUS)
  • Luis Pajuelo: +130 (BetUS)

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Fight Breakdown

Robbie Ring, 23, is a young, undefeated fighter with only 6 pro fights under his belt but he’s an experienced grappler with quick, nasty submissions. Ring is a BJJ black belt and it shows when he’s grappling and able to lock in his submission attempts. His D’Arce is effective and he sinks it in so quickly, it’s hard for inexperienced fighters to react.

Ring hasn’t shown much in the way of striking; most of the standing exchanges he’s been in have ended in either him catching a kick to get the takedown, or his opponent catches his kick to initiate the grappling. He’s been clipped on the feet with some big shots as he looks to enter into the clinch to get his takedowns so this will be an area that he’ll undoubtedly need to be tested in before I’m comfortable calling him a UFC-level talent.

Though Robbie has slick submissions, his wrestling looks to be lacking a bit. His most recent bout was against Joshua Delgadillo who was making his pro MMA debut and he was taken down twice in the opening minutes. He was able to reverse position quickly the first time and the second takedown led to the triangle choke finish, but a higher-level wrestler won’t be so easy to counter.

His opponent is the 28-year-old, always exciting Luis Pajuelo. Pajuelo is 7-1 as a pro and is a striker with tons of aggression. He’s an offensively-oriented fighter who is more than willing to eat shots to land his own. If his opponent isn’t trying to take him down, he’s constantly throwing punches and coming forward to force his opponent to the cage where he can unload. He’s confident that his power and pressure is enough to get his opponents out of there and will fight like he’s looking for a finish at all times.

This reckless style leads to a lot of strikes hitting the mark against him and he’s been rocked with some heavy shots. His reaction time to these strikes feels slow but it could be more that he’s just unwilling to back up and his hands hang too low to be effective as his only form of defense in striking ranges.

Though improving, his grappling game is an area that his opponents have tested thoroughly and it will likely be tested again this Tuesday. In space, he defends takedown attempts with a sprawl when he sees them. Most often though, his opponents get to his hips without issue but are unable to finish. When he’s on the ground, it’s obvious he’s far from a grappling ace; when he was taken down in space, his immediate reaction was to give up his back and crawl to the cage to try and get up. That’s an easy way to get choked out at the UFC level.


Though both of these guys have areas to like, neither feels like they’re UFC-ready right now. Robbie Ring, 23, is the younger of the two and definitely has the most room for growth in his game but the style and pressure of Pajuelo could very easily prove to be too much for the young grappler. That said, the game of Pajuelo is very one-dimensional and if Ring is able to withstand the offensive flurries of his opponent and get it to the ground, he should be able to notch another submission win given Luis’s lack of grappling defense.

I like this matchup for both guys as they’re talented in the areas where the other struggles; Ring will have to show some form of striking to set up the takedowns which has yet to be seen as a part of his game and Pajuelo will need to show some patience and improved grappling to prevent Ring from snatching one of many submissions he’s capable of capitalizing on. If Ring can avoid a majority of Pajuelo’s offense, the opportunities for takedowns should eventually present themselves. However, Pajuelo’s style conforms well to the Contender Series and with the tendency of DWCS fights to be on the wilder side, he could easily pull off the upset here. Therefore, though I believe Ring wins this one six/seven times out of ten, the best bet is for this one (like most other DWCS fights) to not go the distance.

Prediction: Robbie Ring by submission
Best Bet: Fight ends inside the distance

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