Two of the UFC‘s top bantamweights will clash on Saturday night in what could very well be a title-eliminator bout at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Former UFC bantamweight champion Holly Holm (14-5 MMA, 7-5 UFC) returns to action against Ketlen Vieira (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC).
Holm, who didn’t fight in 2021 due to a knee injury, was 2-0 in 2020 with decision wins against Irene Aldana and Raquel Pennington. A former boxer with a record of 33-2-3, Holm is also set to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June.
Holm also has notable MMA wins over Ronda Rousey, Megan Anderson, Bethe Correia, and Marion Reneau.
Vieira is coming off a decision win last fall against another former champion in Miesha Tate. The recently-more-active Vieira went 1-1 in 2021 with a loss against Yana Kunitskaya.
She also has wins in the UFC over Cat Zingano, Sara McMann, Ashlee Evans-Smith, and Sijara Eubanks.
Each woman has gone to decision in most of their UFC career wins. Holm has two KO victories: two flawless head kicks against Rousey and Correia. Vieira has one submission over McMann. Neither fighter has had a finish since 2017.
Holm vs Vieira: How they stack up
This matchup is a classic matchup of fighting styles.
Holm is a decorated kickboxer with great striking and takedown defense.
Vieira is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert with a black belt. She also holds a black belt in Judo.
Expect the fight to stay standing through much of the first round as the two fighters feel each other out. Typically, both fighters pace themselves really well and have great cardio. But Vieira will most likely look for the takedown by the end of the first round or early in the second.
The winner of this matchup could be next in line to face the winner of the rematch between current bantamweight champion Julianna Pena and former bantamweight champ/current featherweight champ Amanda Nunes. The two will face off later this year after the current season of The Ultimate Fighter wraps up where they are the coaches.
For Holm, time is of the essence for the 40-year-old at the end of her career. Arguably, there’s only time for one more title run before hanging up the gloves for good. Another potential future fight for Holm could be against Tate, who took the title from her back in 2016.
For Vieira, a win over Holm after beating Tate would be a huge boost in her stock. She would solidify herself to be highly considered to face whoever the champion is later this year.
How to watch:
Where: ESPN Plus
When: 7 p.m. ET, prelims at 4 p.m. ET
Irene Aldana: W (Dec.)
|Last 5||Miesha Tate: W (Dec.)|
Raquel Pennington: W (Dec.)
|Yana Kunitskaya: L (Dec.)|
Amanda Nunes: L (TKO)
|Sijara Eubanks: W (Dec.)|
Megan Anderson: W (Dec.)
|Irene Aldana: L (KO)|
Cris Cyborg: L (Dec.)
|Cat Zingano: W (Dec.)|