Aug 18, 2020
Brett OkamotoESPN Staff Writer
- MMA columnist for ESPN.com
- Analyst for «MMA Live»
- Covered MMA for Las Vegas Sun
UFC president Dana White offered contracts to both brothers — Louis, 24, and Orion, 26 — following their respective wins at the UFC’s Apex facility in Las Vegas. The victories could not have looked any different. Louis (7-0) smoked Victor Reyna in a 72-second knockout, while Orion (7-0) battled back from a hole to upset a heavily favored Matt Dixon via TKO with just 18 seconds left in the fight.
Ironically, the two brothers might have actually been overshadowed by 25-year-old strawweight Cheyanne Buys (5-1), who dominated Hilarie Rose in a unanimous decision. Buys looked incredibly sharp on the feet and, although she didn’t secure a finish, showed a real mean streak in the 15-minute fight. She later admitted she doesn’t love to finish fights; she prefers to do «gangster» stuff.
Immediately after the bout, Buys approached White and said she’d been direct messaging him on social media for years, with no response. The UFC president handed her his phone, and Buys wrote herself a response from it so she’d finally have one.
«What do I say about Cheyanne? What don’t I say about her?» White said. «Her striking is unbelievable. Her ground is awesome. She’s mean, awesome, she’s cocky. She’s 5-1 now. She’s not even in her prime. She’s young, she’s a baby. I like her very, very much and I expect big things from Cheyanne.»
In all, the UFC awarded four of the five winning contestants on Tuesday a contract. Both Louis and Orion compete in the 170-pound division. In addition to them and Buys, White also awarded a contract to heavyweight Josh Parisian, who scored a first-round knockout over Chad Johnson. Parisian became the 10th fighter in Contender Series history to win on the show twice — once in 2019 and on Tuesday. All 10 of the two-time winners have ended up receiving a contract.
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Lightweight Kenny Cross was the only winner not to receive a contract. He defeated the previously unbeaten Kevin Syler (10-1) via unanimous decision. Cross looked sluggish from the second round on, which might have been caused by circumstances. He was supposed to fight Syler two weeks ago on Contender Series, but the fight was postponed after Syler tested positive for COVID-19. That meant Cross ended up cutting weight for the contest twice in a two-week span.
The UFC has now awarded 12 new contracts through the first three weeks of the 2020 Contender Series season.
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