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After 10 months away from the Octagon due to injury, Brazilian Ketlen Vieira will face an added challenge for her return against Sijara Eubanks on Saturday at UFC 253.
Vieira’s coach, Andre Pederneiras, tested positive for COVID-19 upon their arrival in Abu Dhabi this week. Because Pederneiras and Vieira traveled to the Yas Island on different flights (the coach traveled commercially while Vieira arrived on a flight chartered by the promotion), the UFC did not remove the bantamweight from the card.
Pederneiras, who will have to remain isolated in his Abu Dhabi hotel for 14 days, explained his strange case to Sherdog.com on Wednesday.
“Actually I had a positive serological test on May 21. One week latter I did another blood test and it came back negative. I kept in quarantine and 14 days later I repeated the test and it came negative again, so the doctors started to think it was a false positive case,” Pederneiras said. “Last Wednesday I did a test in Brazil and it came back negative so I traveled on Saturday normally. But on the flight to Abu Dhabi I started to feel the first symptoms (fever and headache). When I arrived here the first PCR test came back positive, which confirmed that the first test in May was a false positive.
“I´m feeling better now and I´m pretty confident that Ketlen will win that fight,” he continued. “Even changing opponents in short notice, but Sijara has a pretty similar style, so that will not affect our camp. Ketlen is coming in great shape.”
Vieira began her professional MMA career with 10 consecutive triumphs, including notable victories over Sara McMann and Cat Zingano in the UFC. She suffered her first defeat at UFC 245 this past December, when she was knocked out in the opening stanza by Irene Aldana. Eubanks, meanwhile, is coming off back-to-back decision triumphs over Sarah Moras and Julia Avila.
Rafael dos Anjos at Nova Uniao: The leader of Nova Uniao also briefly discussed the camp of the special guest Rafael dos Anjos, who will face Islam Makhachev at UFC 254 in October.
“Rafal is such a great athlete, very professional and our team is a great place for him,” Pederneiras said. “We have dozens of good lightweight sparring partners for him, including Jose Aldo, Leonardo Santos, Hacran Dias, Felipe Olivieiri, [Valmir Lazaro] and [others] from that division to help him. We also brought some reinforcements to help him play Makhachev´s game. But that's a secret, I can't tell you who they are.”