Sport | Brad Riddell

Carlos Ulberg signs on the dotted line of UFC contract

With lightweight Brad Riddell and UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya in his corner, Carlos Ulberg (Tainui, Te Atiawa, Hāmoa) finally got his shot in the UFC as he fought in Dana White's Contender Series, held in the UFC Apex in Las Vegas today.

Dana White's Contender Series is an opportunity for up-and-coming fighters around the world to make an impact inside the octagon for a UFC contract. "Black Jag" delivered the impact and more against opponent Bruno Oliveira in the featured light heavyweight bout of the night. Not even past the second minute of the first round, a left hook landing right on Oliveira's face sealed the knockout win for Ulberg.

Ulberg has won multiple King in The Ring tournaments, the prestigious kickboxing eliminator series held in Aotearoa, in 2017 and 2019 in the heavyweight and super cruiserweight divisions respectively. He's been waiting patiently for the chance to show UFC President Dana White what he can do inside the cage. That chance was all he needed to wow Dana almost out of his seat.

However, in his post-match interview, the undefeated Ulberg, now 5-0, wasn't too happy with his performance, saying there was "a lot of time for improvements" but was still ecstatic in celebration, with "The Last Stylebender" Adesanya and "Quake" Riddell joining in too.

"It's definitely a confidence boost with the boys, both Israel and Brad in my corner, who were able to get through to my techniques and be able to help me out. You definitely need a voice out there for you," Ulberg says.

As the boss made fun of Carlos going back and forth from his interview to the set, Dana White made it quick and clear: "Get over here, you're in!"

With all the running around Carlos made it back to his interview to get his reaction on being officially made a UFC fighter.

"I'm privileged! It's an amazing feeling! I was just in Abu Dhabi [in Fight Island] and went back home and I got the call-up. So I'm just privileged and happy to be here."

As quickly as he knocked out Oliveira, Ulberg wants to get back into the octagon to fight more of the UFC's light heavyweight fighters, while also continuing to excel as a fighter.  

"What I need to do is go back home, improve myself, and focus more on my ground game and a lot more on MMA now. Now that I'm in the UFC, I can focus and start to improve a lot of my game."