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Perhaps someday this will be viewed as the moment Ketlen Vieira turned a corner.
The Nova Uniao rep moved ever closer to contention in the Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight division, as she took a unanimous decision over Miesha Tate in the UFC Fight Night 198 headliner on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Scores were 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46—all for Vieira (12-2, 6-2 UFC), who bounced back from a disappointing decision defeat to Yana Kunitskaya in February.
Tate (19-8, 6-5 UFC) was the aggressor from the outset, pressing forward with punches and no doubt hunting for takedown opportunities. Vieira was tentative at times, sensational at others. Ultimately, the power in her hands made the difference. She lashed out Tate with two-and three-punch combinations, and even though she absorbed her share of shots in return, the weaponry the Brazilian brought to bear proved to be far more damaging. By the time the fifth round was in play, Tate was bleeding heavily from the nose and struggling to see out of her left eye, the Vieira right hand having exacted its intended toll.
Undefeated Brady Tops Chiesa
Former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder Sean Brady put his most significant victory to date in the books with a unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 15 winner Michael Chiesa in the three-round welterweight co-main event. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28 for the unbeaten Brady (15-0, 5-0 UFC).
Chiesa (18-6, 11-6 UFC) was a step behind for a majority of the first two rounds. Brady executed multiple takedowns, methodically moved to advantageous positions and slowly tightened his grip on the match. Chiesa answered with a strong Round 3, where he unloaded with flying knees, right uppercuts and left crosses in a clear bid to change his fate. Brady withstood his push, battled through visible fatigue and took care of business.
The 33-year-old Chiesa has lost back-to-back bouts for just the second time in his career.
Santos Choke Submits Wood
Astra Fight Team export Taila Santos submitted Joanne Wood with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their women’s flyweight feature. Wood (15-7, 7-7 UFC) raised the white flag of surrender 4:49 into Round 1, as she suffered her second defeat in as many appearances.
A short-notice replacement for Alex Grasso, Santos (19-1, 4-1 UFC) successfully navigated the Scotswoman’s labyrinth of jabs and front kicks, closed the distance and let her fast, powerful hands do the rest. She decked Wood with a thudding overhand right, climbed to a seated mount and hunted avenues for the finish. After returning to her feet, Santos floored the Syndicate MMA rep a second time with hooks from both hands, moved to the back, cut loose with hammerfists and ultimately forced her fading adversary to go belly down. From there, the Brazilian continued to apply her ground-and-pound, slid her arms into place for the choke and prompted the tapout from Wood.
The 28-year-old Santos has won four fights in a row.
Focused Yahya Outmaneuvers Kang
Rani Yahya once again called upon his world-class grappling skills, as he laid claim to a unanimous decision over former Road Fighting Championship titleholder Kyung Ho Kang in a three-round bantamweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28 for Yahya (28-10-1, 13-4-1 UFC).
Kang (17-9, 6-3 UFC) had the 2007 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist reeling with power punches in the first round and utilized an effective sprawl to keep himself out of harm’s way. He was not as successful across the final 10 minutes. Yahya waded through considerable difficulty and danger, lured the South Korean striker into prolong ground exchanges and flexed his superiority on the floor through deft positional advances, ground-and-pound, unwavering control and the constant threat of the submission.
The setback was Kang’s first since Aug. 4, 2018.
Streaking Yanez Denies Grant
Metro Fight Club star Adrian Yanez maintained his upward trajectory at 135 pounds, as he eked out a split decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 18 finalist Davey Grant in a three-round bantamweight attraction. Judges Junichiro Kamijo and Eric Colon scored it 29-28 for Yanez, while judge Tony Weeks raised eyebrows with a 30-27 nod to Grant.
Yanez (15-3, 4-0 UFC) took some time to get going. Grant (13-6, 4-5 UFC) zeroed in on him with an active kicking game and did everything he could to lure him into an ugly firefight. Yanez refused to bite and instead leaned on clean jab-cross combinations and occasional kicks of his own. The evidence of his work was painted on Grant’s face, blood streaming from a cut on the bridge of his nose.
The 27-year-old Yanez will ride an eight-fight winning streak into his next assignment.
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