UFC Vegas 43: UFC Apex: Las Vegas:
The UFC’s women’s bantamweight division has another hard charging fighter with dynamite in both her hands. Ketlen Vieira went toe-to-toe with former champion Miesha Tate to grab a unanimous decision win 48-47 2x, 49-46. However, in a battle of Brazilians; could Ketlen corral Nunes.
The 30-year old Black belt in judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu got pushed in her first UFC main event slot. Despite those belts, the game plan was to do everything to avoid the ground against Tate and her wrestling. She came into the fight ranked seventh, and a lock to slide up; possibly into the Top-5.
Could Ketlen Corral Nunes
Although there were plenty of times against Tate she chose to counter, her hand speed alone puts her in the conversation for a title shot. However, “The Lioness”, Amanda Nunes still firmly has her hands locked on the title. If Vieira fights any other opponents like she did Tate, she might see herself on the short end of the stick though.
While she is 2-1 in her last three-fights, she’s gaining valuable cage time; as all come via decision. Vieira admitted through her interpreter post fight she was hesitant early on. That hesitancy, that “respect” against the champion, would cost her. She had success when she let her hands fly, especially a right hand that was like a laser. It opened Tate’s nose, and swelled her left eye shut. Vieira also said post fight, she’d love the opportunity to train with Tate while she remains in Vegas for ten-days. Vieira showed even more respect by saying to Tate she was sorry, and then embracing with “Cupcake’s” mother outside the cage.
What Is Most Likely Next
Does Vieira get the winner of Nunes and Julianna Pena next? No, but she’s close. One more win, especially a decisive finish, she can lay claim to the fight. She didn’t want to call anyone out; but it should be a rematch with Irene Aldana. Both have fire in their hands, and Vieira probably would like to get the “L” back. Or possibly another former champion in Holly Holm. Although even though Tate is now coming off of a loss and Holm has won her last two, that’s a rematch that can be made.
Vieira would have a hand speed advantage over Nunes. But every other advantage would be in the champions favor. Outside of one, and an important one at that. Nunes is three-years older. While that might not be a big number, it’s a lot of mileage in those years. And “Fenomeno” might just be catching Nunes at the right time.