LAS VEGAS — Montreal welterweight Yohan (White Lion) Lainesse earned a UFC contact Tuesday after making short work of unbeaten English fighter Justin Burlinson on Dana White's Contenders Series
The Contender Series, held at the UFC Apex production facility, offers fighters a chance to impress the UFC president _ and possibly earn a UFC deal.
Lainesse (8-0-0) went for an early takedown with Burlinson (6-1-0) attempting unsuccessfully to answer with a guillotine choke. Burlinson got back to his feet but not for long as Lainesse, after missing with a wild right, connected with a wicked left hook to the chin to finish the fight.
Burlinson wobbled, then slowly toppled to the canvas. Referee Herb Dean stepped, at one minute 37 seconds, to prevent further damage.
"This kid (Burlinson) is a stud, he's a savage. You finished him," White told the 29-year-old Lainesse, a 5-1 underdog.
"Amazing. This is my life. That's all I've got. I work hard every day, every morning," Lainesse said after the fight. "I live for this sport. Remember the White Lion because this is just the beginning."
"I was ready to die here," he added.
Former UFC fighter Patrick (The Predator) Cote was in Lainesse's corner.
The night did not go as well for Vancouver lightweight Achilles Estremadura, who lost a decision to China's Maheshate in a hard-throwing main event.
All three judges scored it 29-28 for Maheshate, a 10-1 underdog who survived a tough first round to take control of the next two. White rewarded the 22-year-old Chinese fighter with a contract.
"We're definitely taking a shot on this kid," said White.
But three other winners — American flyweight Juan Puerta, Brazilian flyweight Erisson Ferreira da Silva and Brazilian featherweight Jonas Bilharinho — did not earn contracts.
At five foot 10, Estremadura was giving up two inches in height and 3.5 inches in reach and looked much smaller when the two got in the cage.
The 29-year-old Canadian came out swinging to open the fight, eating a big punch in the process. Estremadura (6-1-0) wobbled Maheshate at the fence but the Chinese fighter survived. Both connected in another wild exchange later in the round.
Maheshate (7-1-0) kept coming forward and was busier in the second round, hurt Estremadura with a huge flying knee to the face late in the round. The Canadian was leaking blood from his face when the round ended.
The damage took its toll. Maheshate landed pinches and kicks in the third.
The fights were on the Season 5 finale of the TV series
Alberta bantamweight Chad (The Monster) Anheliger earned a contract earlier this season after winning a split decision over Tajikistan's Muin Gafurov. The 34-year-old underdog trains in Calgary but calls nearby Airdrie home.
Featherweight T.J. (The Truth) Laramie earned his UFC contract on the show in August 2020 when injured opponent Daniel (Agent Orange) Swain was unable to come out for the second round. The 24-year-old from Windsor, Ont., subsequently lost his UFC debut, submitted by Darrick Miner in the first round last September.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 2, 2021
The Canadian Press