UFC Sacramento Featured Fighter: Brianna Van Buren

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UFC Sacramento Brianna Van Buren
Brianna Van Buren Credit: Dave Mandel/Invicta FC

UFC newcomer Brianna Van Buren is our Featured Fighter this weekend when she faces Livia Renata Souza at UFC Sacramento.

The Octagon returns to California with UFC Sacramento this weekend with several California natives looking to steal the show. However, we think Brianna Van Buren is one to keep a close eye on this weekend – as she faces Livia Renata Souza in a battle of former Invicta FC champions.

Our last Featured Fighter was Ismail Naurdiev (read here). After looking promising on the feet, Naurdiev was controlled on the ground and lost a unanimous decision at UFC 239.

Who is Brianna Van Buren?

Brianna Van Buren (8-2) is a 25-year-old mixed martial artist who trains out of the American Kickboxing Academy and AntDawg’s MMA in California. Van Buren most recently won the Invicta FC: Phoenix Rising tournament where Van Buren won three bouts in one night to win the Invicta FC strawweight title. Van Buren is only 5’0”, which makes her the smallest fighter on the UFC roster.

Brianna Van Buren’s Style:

Brianna Van Buren is a very aggressive fighter who looks to constantly pressure her opponents. She is primarily a wrestler but has grown her game recently where she is constantly improving. “The Bull” is a perfect moniker for Van Buren, who looks to overwhelm her opponents. In eight professional wins, Van Buren has five finishes, three via submission and two via knockout.

Striking:

Even though Van Buren is a wrestler by trade, she does have some solid striking tools in her game. The 25-year-old is very aggressive and often dictates the pace of the fight. Van Buren is a southpaw striker, which can be difficult for some opponents. She has solid shot selection and mixes up her strikes well. Van Buren likes to counter with looping shots, which could be capitalized upon against a high-level striker, but Van Buren’s speed makes her counters more effective. She likes using the inside leg kick too. The California native has excellent cardio, and can afford to blitz opponents with flurries to get her opponents up against the cage. When up close, she does her best work with her grappling. However, she also has striking techniques to get it there.

Grappling:

This is where Van Buren really stands out. Alongside the pressure and pace she sets on the feet, Van Buren is really solid on the ground. She has an amazing double leg, which she explodes into which catches her foes off guard. Combine that with the fact that she is only 5’0” makes the double legs even harder to stop. She does have takedown variety too. When against the fence, Van Buren has trips she can use to get her opponents down, or she can get double underhooks to get a body lock.

When on top, she has nice ground-and-pound and is eager to pass guard. Van Buren does some of her best work in mount, where she either lands brutal strikes until the fight is over, or can set up a submission. In her Invicta tournament, she landed a slick armbar against Manjit Kolekar as Kolekar bucked Van Buren off during a scramble from mount. In the same tournament, the mount work from Van Buren forced Kailin Curran to move to her back, which set up a rear-naked choke victory for Van Buren. Van Buren is a well-rounded fighter, but she really shines with her top game.

Brianna Van Buren vs. Livia Renata Souza – Prediction:

In the matchup between former Invicta queens, I expect Van Buren to take home a decision victory in her UFC debut. I think the wrestling of Van Buren will be key, alongside her pressure. Van Buren has the cardio advantage and has good enough BJJ to avoid submission attempts. Souza has more power, but I expect Van Buren to close the distance and control the fight.

Official Prediction: Brianna Van Buren def. Livia Renata Souza via Unanimous Decision.

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