UFC Chile takes place this Saturday at Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile. It’s the UFC’s first trip to Chile and while at first glance this looks like a card barren of high-powered name value, if you dig a little deeper there are a number of fighters to pay attention to on this card. Here are some of the prospects to keep your eye on at UFC Fight Night 129.
Suarez (5-0) won The Ultimate Fighter by defeating Amanda Cooper in the finale via submission and then defeated Viviane Pereira via decision in her next fight. She comes from a wrestling background and her takedown game is one of the best in the women’s strawweight division. She also has a tremendous story as a cancer survivor, and she’s a very marketable fighter for the UFC due to her combination of fighting skills and good looks. She is a talented prospect and at just 27 the American is now entering the prime of her career. If she can stay healthy, the sky is the limit for Suarez. Don’t be surprised to see her fight for the title at 115lbs in the next year or two. But first, she has to get by Alexa Grasso in Chile, in a fight that serves as the co-main event of the evening.
Reyes (8-0) is the future of the light heavyweight division. The 28-year-old American has been utterly dominant so far in his MMA career, finishing seven of eight opponents. So far in the UFC he’s ran through Joachim Christensen and Jeremy Kimball with ease and could easily jump into the top-15 if he gets by Jared Cannonier at UFC Fight Night 129. He is a devastating striker with a nasty ground game and has all the skills and athleticism necessary to make a serious run up the light heavyweight ladder.
Lee (8-2) has long been considered by scouts to be an impact fighter in the women’s flyweight division and now that she’s in the UFC she has the chance to make an impact early. The 29-year-old American was the LFA flyweight champion and could be fast-tracked up the UFC flyweight ladder with a win over Veronica Macedo in her UFC debut. Lee is a well-rounded fighter and is a great addition to the UFC flyweight roster.
Bandenay (14-4, 1 NC) won his UFC debut in vicious fashion by knocking out The Ultimate Fighter Latin America winner Martin Bravo. The 23-year-old native of Peru was a massive underdog in that fight but you shouldn’t sleep on him anymore. He’s won six-straight fights by stoppage and looks like a serious prospect at 145lbs. The UFC has done him no favors by pitting him against a solid veteran in the form of Gabriel Benitez, but if he can win this fight he could get a big push up the featherweight ladder.
Botelho (6-1) won her UFC debut with a decision victory over Pearl Gonzalez. The 29-year-old Brazilian has won five fights by knockout and although we didn’t see that part of her game in her UFC debut, we could definitely see that power in her fight at UFC Chile against Syuri Kondo, who is a kickboxer by trade and will likely stand and bang in this fight.
Who are you looking forward to seeing the most at UFC Chile?