Marion Reneau wants title-eliminator with Ketlen Vieira at UFC 224 in Brazil

Marion Reneau believes she’s within striking distance of a UFC bantamweight title shot and wants to solidify a No. 1 contender position with a title eliminator against Ketlen Vieira at UFC 224.

Reneau (9-3-1 MMA, 5-2-1 UFC) and Vieira (10-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) are two of the top-ranked fighters in the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Both are unbeaten over their past four fights and talking about fighting for the belt, but could use one more strong performance to get over the hump.

With 135-pound titleholder Amanda Nunes (15-4 MMA, 8-1 UFC) set to put her belt on the line against Raquel Pennington (9-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC) at UFC 224 in May, matching Reneau up with Vieira on that same card – and assuring a potential backup in the event of injury – seems like a logical move, Reneau said.

“I think that would be the smartest thing,” Reneau told MMAjunkie. “I have to do what I have to do, and if I have to go Brazil, great. The people are amazing. I know they cheer for the Brazilian fighters but I have some fans, as well.”

UFC 224 takes place May 12 at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Reneau submitted Sara McMann at UFC on FOX 28 in February for the most meaningful win of her career thus far. She hasn’t lost in more than two years, and Reneau, No. 11 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA women’s bantamweight rankings, said she wants to keep the ball rolling.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to fight for UFC gold. She thinks the stars are aligning for that opportunity, and though she noted people have received title shots for less, she wants to leave no doubt with a win over unbeaten Vieira, who is coming off a split decision over Cat Zingano at UFC 222 this month.

“I think girls who have had less victories than myself have got title shots,” Reneau said. “Best-case scenario would be that Ketlen and I fight and then the winner of Amanda and Raquel, we fight that person. I think that would be the best-case scenario. I wouldn’t mind fighting her to set up a chance at the title.”

No. 5-ranked Vieira has had some close and competitive fights in her career, but she’s come out on the winning end every time. No one has been able to figure out the Brazilian, but Reneau said she has the solution.

Reneau said she has more confidence in her approach to fights than ever before, and if given the opportunity to share the octagon with Vieira – at UFC 224 or otherwise – “The Belizean Bruiser” likes her chances of adding a fifth consecutive fight to her unbeaten streak.

“I’m a different person and I’m at a different point in my career,” Reneau said. “I feel like this has been a good run. I’m still trying to make that run and I won’t stop until I do it. We found some holes in her game from this fight and the last fights. I’m glad she went all three rounds, so we got a better look at her. She’s improving on it.”

For more on UFC 224, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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