CHEYANNE BUYS VS. MONTSERRAT CONEJO
Trust me when I tell you that you’re going to want to pay close attention to this fight, as Cheyanne Buys and Montserrat Ruiz are not only two of the top prospects in the strawweight division, but also two wildly entertaining talents that love to throw down.
Buys earned her place on the UFC roster with a three-round mauling of Hilarie Rose last summer on the Contender Series, where she happily spent 15 minutes showcasing the nasty edge she carries with her into the Octagon. Now on a four-fight winning streak, the Fortis MMA representative, who competes alongside her husband, JP Buys, this weekend, has been viewed as a quality prospect since her amateur days and finally gets to show why to a larger audience as she makes the walk in the UFC for the first time.
Conejo steps in for Kay Hansen on short notice, but shouldn’t be overlooked. The 28-year-old owns a 9-1 record and rebounded from her first professional loss by submitting perennial contender Janaisa Morandin in the first round of their clash at Invicta FC 41 last summer. The tattooed talent, who was on hand in Abu Dhabi earlier this year for teammate Joselyne Edwards’ debut victory, trains with an excellent crew and should be up to the task of filling in for Hansen and bringing the heat this weekend.
As intriguing as the initial pairing was, this one remains a must-see attraction on Saturday night. The strawweight division is flush with talent and a host of promising newcomers looking to work their way up the ranks, including these two women, and that should result in an entertaining, competitive scrap once the Octagon door closes.
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MARION RENEAU VS. MACY CHIASSON
Bantamweights aiming to make headway in the 135-pound rankings hope the third attempt to make this one happen pays off, as veteran Marion Reneau and recent Ultimate Fighter winner Macy Chiasson once again look to share the Octagon together after a pair of late-stage postponements earlier this year.
It’s been a frustrating couple of years for the 43-year-old Reneau, who touches down in Las Vegas on a three-fight skid, searching for her first victory since February 2018. That being said, the tough-as-nails teacher has never been finished and has the veteran savvy and all-around grit needed to make Saturday’s pairing a long night for Chiasson.
After claiming victory in the featherweight competition on Season 28 of the long-running reality TV competition, the 29-year-old Chiasson kicked off her rookie campaign in the Octagon with consecutive wins over Gina Mazany and Sarah Moras before dropping a decision to Lina Lansberg. She rebounded with a good win over late replacement Shanna Young last February, and now the Fortis MMA product looks to build a winning streak at Reneau’s expense.
Each woman remains entrenched in the Top 15 and would likely land opposite someone higher up in the rankings next time out with an impressive outing this weekend, so you should expect to see both Reneau and Chiasson come out guns blazing, looking to start their respective 2021 campaigns off with a win.
LEONARDO SANTOS VS. GRANT DAWSON
The first of two intriguing lightweight scraps slated to hit the Octagon on Saturday night features streaking veteran Leonardo Santos making a quicker than normal turnaround for him while welcoming Grant Dawson to the division for the first time.
Santos’ UFC run has been both impressive and odd, as the 41-year-old Brazilian won the welterweight competition on Season 2 of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, battled TUF Smashes winner Norman Parke to a draw, and has since rattled off six straight victories to push his overall unbeaten streak to 13 fights. What makes his UFC tenure odd is that Santos didn’t compete for nearly three years following his UFC 204 win over Adriano Martins and his first-round knockout of Stevie Ray, and then spent another 13 months on the sidelines before returning to outlast Roman Bogatov last summer on UFC Fight Island.
Now, he is fighting for the second time in eight months as he looks to continue his incredible run and spoil Dawson’s first UFC appearance in the 155-pound weight class.
A member of the Glory MMA & Fitness crew, Dawson earned his place on the UFC roster with an impressive stoppage win over Adrian Diaz on Season 1 of the Contender Series and proved he was someone to watch by earning four victories in as many starts since. An excellent grappler long ticketed to be a contender at the highest level, it will be interesting to see if the 27-year-old can maintain his success now that he makes the shift up to the treacherous waters of the UFC lightweight division.