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Marion Reneau vs Yana Kunitskaya

Marion Reneau VS Yana Kunitskaya

In the only WMMA fight of the card, The Belizean bruiser and the Russian fighter battle to climb up the bantamweight rankings.
Kunitskaya is in her prime at 29 years of age. The Russian is an agressive fighter wherever the fight goes. She is very strong and dominant on the clinch. On the feet, she likes to kick a lot and even though she appears to have some pop on her hands, she does not have fast hands and leaves a lot openings. She likes to grind opponents against the cage and in the clinch and is no stranger to working for takedowns. On top she is not anything special but she could definitely steal rounds here. She is agressive on the matt when the chances present themselves and she does not doubt to go for submissions, sometimes compromising her position.
Reneau is 41, but it is astonishing that she has been steadily improving over the past few years everywhere. She is a better striker than Kunitskaya, and more powerful. Her straight right hand will probably find a home here and look like a laser compared to Yana´s slow hands. Her Achilles heel has always been her takedown defense, which is quite awful even if improving. All her past 7 opponents took her down, and it cost her fights she should have easily won like against Bethe Correia when she put an aboslute mauling on her and had to settle for a draw. She is a Jiu Jitsu black belt and world champion purple belt. Her MMA grappling has also improved in her last fights. She is much more confident, even pulling guard at times, and actively searches for submissions from her back, no doubt she is the superior ground fighter here.
Kunitskaya has a clear path to victory here. Outpoint Reneau via takedowns and control to take a decision. However, I am picking Reneau to cause the upset. I see her getting the best of the striking exchanges and even hurting Kunitskaya on the feet. There is no doubt Yana will shoot for takedowns here even if she is not forced too, but I see Reneau winning there too by catching Yana with a submission from her back or outgrappling her and gaining dominant position for a finish. With all but one of Marion´s profesional wins coming inside the distance, Reneau ITD is the pick here. She probably catches Yana with a triangle or armbar after forcing her to shoot. Oddsmakers have Reneau the slight dog here at around (+150), with Reneau ITD around (+300).