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From Dana White's Contender Series to UFC debut: 4 to watch at UFC on ESPN 34

Four top talents from Season 5 of Dana White's Contender Series make their promotional debut this Saturday, April 16, at UFC on ESPN 34.

It's long been common knowledge that the summer tradition called Dana White's Contender Series is an absolute hotbed of top-tier talent and tomorrow's stars. Names like Marina Rodriguez, Sean O’Malley, and Kevin Holland – to name just a very few – had their careers launched on the Tuesday night institution.

Saturday's "UFC on ESPN 34: Luque vs Muhammad 2" in Las Vegas will serve as a showcase for some of last season's most exciting athletes, as four alumni from the show will make their UFC debuts. In fact, two of them have such a buzz around them that they'll make their promotional bow in the bright lights of the co-main event.

Here’s your hit list for the new faces – and potential future stars – you’ll see this Saturday.

Gadzhi Omargadzhiev

Division: Middleweight
Fighting out of: Paris, France by way of Makhachkala, Russia
Professional Record: 13-0

The Scoop, from Laura Sanko:

"Week 9, Season 5 of Dana White's Contender Series saw yet another undefeated Dagestani prospect in Gadzhi Omargadzhiev make a quick and lasting impression," DWCS commentator Laura Sanko said. "Taking on a muay Thai striker, he immediately got the fight right where he wanted it: on the ground, dominated in top position. With just a minute left, Omargadzhiev snatched up the very first kneebar finish in the history of Dana White's Contender Series.

"He'll be making his UFC debut against another standout from Season 5 in Caio Borralho. Borralho is a tall, rangy, southpaw striker, but does have a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt to back it up. So if Omargadzhiev decides to take it to the canvas, he might have some interesting trouble down there. We’ll see how these two middleweights match up. It's 13-0 vs a 10-fight unbeaten streak."

Caio Borralho

Division: Middleweight
Fighting out of: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Professional Record: 10-1

The Scoop, from Laura Sanko:

"Season 5 of Dana White's Contender Series saw Caio Borralho emerge as one of the brightest prospects of the entire season," Sanko said. "On week five, Caio Borralho turned in a great performance, he got the win, but to many people's surprise, Dana did not award him a contract. Caio stayed in Vegas, he stayed ready, and just three weeks later found himself fighting up a weight class at 205, and turned in an excellent performance this time. In fact, it took less than two minutes this time out to change Dana White’s mind.

"Now he will be making his UFC debut against another fighter making his UFC debut, another standout from Season 5 in Gadzhi Omargadzhiev, an excellent, undefeated Dagestani wrestler who murked his opponent on week 9."

Martin Buday

Division: Heavyweight
Fighting out of: Trnava, Slovakia
Professional Record: 9-1

The Scoop, from Laura Sanko:

"Week 5, Season 5 of Dana White's Contender Series saw Slovakian heavyweight Martin Buday turn in an absolutely dominant performance," recalls Sanko. "At 6-foot-4, Buday has to cut weight to make the heavyweight limit, and he made all the use of that frame in that fight against Lorenzo Hood. He put him up against the fence, made him wear his weight. But it wasn’t just control time he was doing there; he was doing a ton of damage, landing elbows, knees, working the body. And with just six seconds left, he landed a flush knee to the head of Lorenzo Hood that put a stamp on that fight.

"There are no easy fights in the UFC, however, and he’s going to be taking on a fan favorite in heavyweight Chris Barnett. He is hot on the heels of a performance that earned him a lot of fans when he turned in one of the craziest wheel kick knockouts we have ever seen in the heavyweight division. Buday is going to have his hands full if he wants to keep that 100 percent finish rate intact."

Ange Loosa

Division: Welterweight
Fighting out of: La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland by way of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo 
Professional Record: 8-2

The Scoop:

You don't necessarily need to win a contract on Dana Whites Contender Series to get the call to the big show, and in the case of fighters like Ange Loosa, you don't even need to win your DWCS fight. Although he came out on the wrong side of the scorecards to Jack Della Maddalena on Week 3 of Season Five, his toughness was on full display as he became the only fighter that the Australian couldn't finish on his current 11-fight win streak. As such, it wasn't a total shock when his phone finally rang.

"I wasn't surprised," he said. "When I got the call and saw it was my manager calling, I answered and said, 'Is it UFC?' and he said 'Yes, can you make weight in two weeks?' No problem. I train at Sanford MMA, but I was in LA at the time and before I left, I packed my bag and grabbed my mouthpiece and my cup just in case. So I wasn't surprised, because I'm ready."

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