Action returns to the UFC’s APEX Facility in Las Vegas this weekend for UFC Vegas 22: Brunson vs Holland where Top 10 middleweights Derek Brunson and Kevin Holland meet in the main event.
In the prelims, TUF 28 winner Macy Chiasson headlines the curtain-raiser as she takes on veteran Marion Reneau. TUF Brazil 2 winner Leonardo Santos and WWFC grappling champion Roman Dolidze will also appear in the prelims.
Let’s take a look at the prelims undercard fights and make our predictions:
Macy Chiasson is the TUF 28 winner and the 10th ranked female bantamweight in the UFC. The 29-year old from Louisiana is 4-1 inside the UFC Octagon and is coming off a win over Shanna Young last February 2020. She is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-11 tall with a reach of 72 inches. Chiasson has a record of 6-1 with two knockouts and two wins via submission.
Marion Reneau is the 9th ranked bantamweight in the UFC. The 43-year old from Visalia, California is a veteran of TWC, Tachi Palace Fights, and RFA before joining the UFC. She started her Octagon career with a record of 5-2-1 but has lost her last three bouts. She stands 5-6 tall with a reach of 68 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance. Reneau has a record of 9-6 with five knockouts and three submission victories.
Chiasson has what it takes to dominate this fight. The TUF 28 winner has the size and aggressive fighting style to prevent Reneau from backing her up. Reneau has the better striking technique and possesses power. The Belizean Bruiser has caught opponents napping before but if Chiasson can keep her opponent away from her mauling attack, she is going to outwork and out-muscle Reneau en route to a clear decision win.
Prediction: Macy Chiasson
Leonardo Santos is the TUF: Brazil 2 welterweight tournament winner and a veteran of World Victory Road and BAMMA. A former World Cup BJJ champion, Santos is undefeated in 8 UFC bouts with one draw. The 41-year old from Rio de Janeiro has a record of 18-3 with three knockouts and nine wins via submission. He is six feet tall with a reach of 75 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.
Grant Dawson is a veteran of VFC, Kansas City Fighting Alliance, and Shamrock FC before joining the Contender Series. He is undefeated in four UFC bouts and has won his last seven bouts with five stoppage wins during that span. The 27-year old from Stromsburg, Nebraska has a record of 16-1 with three knockouts and 11 wins via submission. He stands 5-10 tall with a reach of 72 inches and is a switch hitter.
Santos is a world-class submission specialist who has knockout power. If he catches Dawson clean, he’s going to get a knockout here. Dawson meanwhile, has leaned on his physical tools and grappling to overwhelm his previous opponents. Santos has the striking and submission skills to pose some problems. However, he is already 41 and has gassed in his recent bouts. If Dawson is patient and survives the initial onslaught, he’s going to grind out a victory here.
Prediction: Grant Dawson
Trevin Giles fought under Legacy FC, Fury Fighting, RFA, and LFA before joining the UFC in 2017. He is 4-2 under the UFC banner and has a record of 13-2 with six knockouts and five wins via submission. He is an orthodox fighter who stands six feet tall with a reach of 74 inches. The 28-year old from San Antonio, Texas is coming off a TKO of Bevon Lewis last November 2020.
Roman Dolidze is a former WWFC grappling champion and Georgian grappling champion. The 32-year old from Batumi, Georgia is undefeated in eight MMA bouts with four knockouts and three wins via submission. Dolidze is coming off a split decision win over John Allan last December 2020. He is an orthodox fighter who stands 6-2 tall with a reach of 74 inches.
Giles has the physical tools and the technique to be successful but has yet to find consistent success. However, he has the wrestling chops and speed advantage to trouble Dolidze who hasn’t been bothered much by his poor striking. In order to beat Giles, Dolidze needs to grind his opponent out, which he may not be able to do. Giles controls the striking exchanges and holds his own in the clinch. Unless Giles self-destructs as we’ve seen him do in the past, this should be a comfortable win for him.
Prediction: Trevin Giles
Montel Jackson appeared for Pure FC, KOTC, and Driller Promotions before he beat Rico DiSciullo at the Contender Series 9 in 2018. He is 3-2 inside the UFC Octagon and is coming off a loss to Brett Johns last July 2020. The 28-year old from Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a southpaw who stands 5-10 tall with a reach of 75 inches. He has a record of 9-2 with five knockouts and one win via submission.
Jesse Strader last fought for Combate and will be making his UFC debut in this event. The 29-year old from Lancaster, California took this fight on short notice and has not fought since August 2019. He is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-8 tall with an undisclosed reach. Strader is 5-1 with four knockouts.
Strader is all-aggression inside the cage. He likes to charge at his opponents and mix it up until the fight gets bloody and violent. That style isn’t going to work against Jackson who is too big and hits much harder than Strader. The latter doesn’t have the takedown offense to shut down Jackson’s attack and in the absence of that, he’s going to get countered, and likely flattened. This should be a firefight and the bigger puncher wins it.
Prediction: Montel Jackson
J.P. Buys fought mostly for EFC and had appearances with Brave CF and LFA. The 24-year old from Johannesburg, South Africa submitted Jacob Silva in his second appearance at the Contender Series in 2020. He has a record of 9-2 with three knockouts and five wins via submission. He is 5-5 tall with a reach of 67 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.
Bruno Silva is a former World Fighting Federation flyweight champion who joined the UFC in 2019. He is winless in three UFC bouts with two losses. The 31-year old Brazilian has a record of 10-5 with three knockouts and three wins via submission. Silva is 5-4 tall with a reach of 65 inches and is an orthodox fighter.
Buys is the stronger wrestler here but he tends not to deal well with adversity. If Silva’s calf kicks can land early and he’s able to hold his own in the grappling, he might be able to tire Buys and have a chance at an upset. However, in all likelihood, Buys drags Silva to the ground as often as he wants. Buys wins this fight with significant top control.
Prediction: J.P. Buys
Julia Avila is the 15th ranked bantamweight in the UFC. The 32-year old from Los Angeles, California fought for Invicta FC, HD MMA, XKO MMA, and King of the Cage. The former HD MMA bantamweight champion is coming off a loss to Sijara Eubanks. She has a record of 8-2 with four knockouts and one win via submission. Avila is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-7 tall with a reach of 68 inches.
Julija Stoliarenko is a former Invicta FC bantamweight champion and International Lethwei Federation Japan featherweight world champion. The 27-year old from Kaunas, Lithuania lost to Yana Kunitskaya in her UFC debut last August 2020. Stoliarenko is 9-4 with eight submission victories. She is 5-7 tall and has a reach of 66 inches.
Avila is one of the most entertaining and destructive fighters in the women’s bantamweight division. Storliarenko is a good submission artist but she doesn’t have the wrestling to drag this fight to the mat. On her feet, the Lithuanian is also outgunned. I don’t think Avila has the power to finish Stoliarenko but she should outstrike her in a stand up war.
Prediction: Julia Avila
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