The UFC Vegas 22 prelims present six bouts, with two newcomers on the card. Bantamweight Jesse Strader makes his debut against Montel Jackson after he signed from Combate Americas. JP Buys fights on the UFC Vegas 22 prelims in his promotional debut, whilst his wife Cheyanne Buys is competing on the main card. The South African will compete in a flyweight bout against Bruno Silva. We could see surprises on Saturday night with the UFC Vegas 22 prelims showing some entertainers who have not been on the roster for long.
UFC Vegas 22 Prelims Preview
Marion Reneau (9-6-1) vs Macy Chiasson (6-1-0)
Marion “Belizean” Reneau has fought in the promotion since January 2015 at UFC 182, where she put on a dominant display in her debut against Alexis Dufresne, winning via a unanimous decision.
One month later, she stepped up to the plate and fought Jessica Andrade in their home country of Brazil. Andrade had already fought three bouts in the UFC, winning each one, beating the likes of Raquel Pennington. After just 1:54 into the first round, Reneau put her skills on display and submitted Andrade with a triangle choke to earn herself a victory and a Performance of the Night bonus.
Reneau’s unbeaten start in the UFC was ended by Holly Holm at UFC Fight Night 71. Holm won on a unanimous decision and become bantamweight champion in her next bout, knocking Ronda Rousey out with a stunning head-kick and punches to finish her off. This shows what could’ve been for Reneau after never having a shot at the title since.
Since her fight with Cat Zingano in July 2018, Reneau has been on a torrid run, losing her last three fights. She lost to Zingano, Yana Kunitskaya, and Pennington all via unanimous decision. It’s been nine months since she last stepped in the octagon against Pennington.
Chiasson will look to put on a show on Saturday night as the #11 ranked fighter in the division. She will be looking to make a name for herself on the UFC Vegas 22 prelims.
After winning her first two professional bouts, she appeared on The Ultimate Fighter in 2018. She knocked out both Larissa Pacheco and Leah Letson in her bouts leading up to the finale. Chiasson fought Pannie Kianzad in the finale, and in the second round, she found her way to win. The American performed a rear-naked choke on Kianzad and submitted her to secure the title.
From winning The Ultimate Fighter, Chiasson faced Gina Mazany at UFC 235. Not even two minutes into the first round, Chiasson knocked out Mazany to secure her first victory as a UFC fighter.
She fought two more times in 2019, finishing Sarah Moras with the ground and pound, but she lost for the first time in her professional career against Lina Länsberg on a unanimous decision. It’s been 13 months since her last bout, as she bounced back with a decision win over Shanna Young.
This fight was originally scheduled for February 6th, but with Reneau testing positive for COVID-19, the bout was moved to February 27th. Then, for a second time, it was moved again to the UFC Vegas 22 prelims, due to an injury with Chiasson. Let’s hope all goes well in the next few days leading up to this one!
Grant Dawson (16-1-0) vs Leonardo Santos (18-3-1)
The UFC 22 Vegas prelims present a middleweight bout between two elite finishers with Grant “KGD” Dawson and Leonardo Santos battling it out. Dawson will be moving up to lightweight after saying he couldn’t handle the cut to featherweight in an interview with MMA Junkie.
The American put on some glorious showings at 145 pounds, but at UFC on ESPN+ 27, the cut got too much for Dawson, with him weighing in at 149.5 pounds, 3.5 pounds overweight. Dawson still came away victorious, choking out Darrick Minner inside the second-round.
His previous fight was at catchweight (150lbs) against Nad Narimani. A dominant display earned Dawson his fourth win in the UFC, as he continues to be unbeaten in the promotion. Dawson’s only loss in his career came in 2016, being knocked out by Hugh Pulley inside the first round.
With Dawson’s impressive finishing record of 11 submissions, seven of those coming in his first seven fights, and three knockouts, it’s going to be interesting to see how he approaches this one, with his opponent not being finished in his whole professional career.
Leonardo Santos is on an eight-fight unbeaten streak in the UFC, with his first win coming at The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2. Santos was given the opportunity to fight in the finale after losing in the semi-final to Santiago Ponzinibbio. The Argentinian broke his hand in the fight and was unable to recover in time, which led to Santos taking his place and submitting William Macário to win the welterweight tournament.
The Brazilian returned to lightweight to fight on UFC Fight Night 38 against Norman Parke. The bout ended in a majority draw, the first and only time both fighters have drawn a fight.
Since then, Santos has been on a journey leading up to the UFC Vegas 22 prelims, but he hasn’t fought anywhere near the amount he should have. After two impressive wins over Efrain Escudero and Anthony Rocco Martin, Santos came up against Kevin Lee, who was a big prospect in the promotion at the time. The Brazilian stepped up and knocked out Lee in the first round with some fierce punches.
A win over Adriano Martins was his last fight for almost three years. Santos has had two cancelled bouts and injuries affecting his career. But he did return in 2019, knocking Stevie Ray out in the first round. His last bout was at UFC 251 against Roman Bogatov. A unanimous decision win put him on a six-fight win-streak in the past six years leading up to the UFC Vegas 22 prelims.
Both of these fighters are submission artists and Santos edges Dawson on the height advantage. Dawson has two more submission victories than him in their careers. It’s interesting to see who comes out on top in the ground-game on the UFC Vegas 22 prelims.
Trevin Giles (13-2-0) vs Roman Dolidze (8-0-0)
He made his light heavyweight debut at UFC 213. Giles was victorious, as he smashed James Bochnovic with the ground & pound to earn himself a debut win in the promotion. He then returned to middleweight and knocked out his second opponent, Antônio Braga Neto, in the third round.
The American was looking like one to watch after finishing 10 of his 11 victories. In May 2019, Giles came up against Zak Cummings. This was a tough test for Giles and showed Cummings why he was dangerous, by cutting his right eye early on in the fight. However, in the third round, Cummings submitted Giles with a guillotine choke with just 59 seconds left in the fight.
After one loss, another came around, as it was like he fought the same fight on repeat, against another tough opponent in Gerald Meerschaert. Inside the third round, Giles was again submitted with a guillotine choke. Giles bounced back in 2020 with two impressive wins over James Krause and Bevon Lewis.
Roman Dolidze is looking to continue his unbeaten record on the UFC Vegas 22 prelims as he steps in on 10 days notice for Dricus Du Plessis, who had to pull out due to visa issues.
Dolidze has eight wins in his professional career leading up to the UFC Vegas 22 prelims. He’s finished all of his opponents up until his last fight against John Allan in an extremely close contest, with Dolidze winning on a split decision.
The Georgian looks to put on a show, with knocking out six of his opponents in his eight victories, one of them coming in his first promotional bout at UFC Fight Island 2, as he came at Khadis Ibragimov with a delightful knee to follow up with some ruthless punches to end the fight in the first round.
It’s safe to say this middleweight bout is going to be one to watch on the UFC Vegas 22 prelims. Expect fireworks as these two aren’t going to be looking to go the distance.
Montel Jackson (9-2-0) vs Jesse Strader (5-1-0)
Montel “Quick” Jackson is looking to bounce back on the UFC Vegas 22 prelims after his defeat at UFC Fight Island 2 against Brett Johns. The Welshman put in a superb performance and he was a deserving winner on the decision against Jackson.
The American has shown he has the talent, though, by knocking out five of his nine victories. He was awarded a UFC contract in 2018 after impressing on Dana White’s Contender Series against Rico DiSciullo.
An extremely tough opponent came for Jackson in his UFC debut as he faced Ricky Simon. It wasn’t his night and Simon came out the better fighter, winning by a unanimous decision.
Jesse Strader is making his UFC debut after 19 months since last competing. The American has joined the UFC from the promotion Combate Americas.
Strader is a ruthless striker, knocking out four of his five victories. His only loss has come to Marcelo Rojo. A win for Strader will cement his name in this bantamweight division, as we could have a potential new boy on the charge.
Julia Avila (8-2-0) vs Julija Stoliarenko (9-4-1)
Julia “Raging Panda” Avila lost her last bout at UFC Vegas 10 by a unanimous decision against Sijara Eubanks. Avila has eight victories in her ten fights, and she’ll be looking to get back on track on the UFC Vegas 22 prelims.
The American has five finishes to her name, as she knocked out Mazany in the first round of her UFC debut in June 2020. Her only other loss came to Marciea Allen in Invicta, after injuring her hand in the first round.
Julija Stoliarenko has a point to prove after she lost on a unanimous decision in her last bout against Kunitskaya at UFC Vegas 6.
The Lithuanian competed in The Ultimate Fighter Season 28, in which she lost in the semi-final to Kianzad on a unanimous decision. She still was given a chance in the UFC, fighting on the finale card. A split decision loss to Leah Letson saw her released from the UFC.
After an impressive five-fight win streak she was given another chance in the UFC, losing her only bout so far as stated against Kunitskaya. A must-win for both fighters in the bantamweight division.
JP Buys (9-2-0) vs Bruno Silva (10-5-2)
JP “Young Savage” Buys will be making his promotional debut on the UFC Vegas 22 prelims after impressing in Dana White’s Contender Series back in November with a first-round guillotine choke over Jacob Silva.
The South African will be fighting on the same card as his wife Cheyanne, as she faces Montserrat Ruiz. Buys has been an impressive finisher with three knockouts and five submissions on his record. He’s also unbeaten in his last five fights.
Bruno “Bulldog” Silva is looking to get his first win in the UFC after having a disaster start back in October 2019. The Brazilian was submitted by Khalid Taha in his first bout. But after Taha failed a drug test, the fight was overturned to a no contest.
Two fights came for Silva in 2020, both resulted in defeats. Both losses came via unanimous decision against David Dvořák and Tagir Ulanbekov.
A bantamweight bout between Anthony Birchak and Johnny Eduardo was meant to take place on the UFC Vegas 22 prelims, but Eduardo is said to have trouble with his visa, so the bout was ultimately cancelled.
With all of the UFC Vegas 22 Prelims previewed, which fight are you looking forward to the most?! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Featured image credit to Embed from Getty Images