The floodgates closed just a little after two weeks of UFC contracts aplenty being handed out on Dana White's Contender Series, but the promotion president still found room to add three more fighters to his roster on Tuesday night.
Two weeks ago, all five winners at UFC Apex earned contracts, and last week four more gained admission. This week, a pair of featherweights -- Billy Quarantillo and Sean Woodson -- and light heavyweight Jamahal Hill used strong finishes to punch their tickets to the UFC.
Quarantillo (12-2), a 30-year-old out of Florida who appeared on Season 22 of "The Ultimate Fighter," overcame early adversity after his aggression got him taken down by Kamuela Kirk, who was in dominant position for much of Round 1, going for submissions and landing ground-and-pound. But Quarantillo survived, and with the fight on the feet, he walked down his opponent, landed practically everything he threw -- 99 significant strikes in the second round -- and wore him out before getting the TKO at 22 seconds of Round 3.
"What I was really impressed with was the killer instinct," White said. "Kept the pressure on, kept moving forward, wanted to win the fight and willed it -- willed it -- to happen."
Woodson (6-0) took his fight on short notice and appeared to be on the verge of having his unbeaten run end, as Terrance McKinney controlled him on the canvas and had back control for much of the first round and early in the second. Woodson, 27, fended off submission attempts to stay in the fight, and after the Missouri-based fighter got it back to standing in Round 2, he met a telegraphed McKinney takedown attempt with a flying knee for a walk-off knockout at 1:49.
"Sean, he took this thing on five days' notice," White said. "Overcame adversity today, did what he needed to do to win, finished the fight."
Hill rocks Poppeck with combination in Round 2
Jamahal Hill lands a series of punches on Alexander Poppeck in the second round. For more UFC, sign up here for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
Hill (6-0) had a fairly even striking session with Alexander Poppeck in their first round, and White said afterward that he was sitting cageside thinking he was watching two good fighters who still needed more work to reach UFC level. Then came the second round. Hill, a 28-year-old out of Michigan, started leading the dance by pursuing Poppeck relentlessly, throwing everything he had at him and wearing him down on his way to a ground-and-pound TKO at 4:29.
"Body work, the striking, the pressure, the composure," White said. "He put it all together in that second round and completely changed my mind."
The evening's other fights went to decision. JJ Okanovich won his lightweight bout with Christian Lohsen by weathering a first round in which he had to fend off a D'Arce choke, a triangle choke and an armbar, but he seized control in Round 2 and earned 30-27 scorecards from all three judges. And Ramazan Kuramagomedov eked out a win over Jordan Williams in a middleweight bout. It was one of those bizarre split decisions in which two judges saw the fight 29-28 in favor of one fighter and the dissenting vote was 30-27 the other way.