Ketlen Vieira became one of the bantamweight elite by taking out former title contender Sara McMann on Saturday at UFC 215 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Vieira came into the fight with an unblemished 8-0 record. She left it with an unblemished 9-0 record and another notch in her belt, though it didn’t come without a few bumps and bruises along the way.
McMann, a onetime former UFC bantamweight title challenger, started the fight with a blistering first round. She took Vieira to the canvas early in the opening frame and proceeded to ground and pound her for the majority of the first five minutes.
McMann dropped some heavy elbows from inside Vieira’s full guard before eventually moving to full mount. Though she rained down punches from mount, Vieira was quick to use her legs to hook McMann’s arms and remove her from mount. She then attacked McMann’s left leg. Though Vieira was close to locking on a kneebar, she didn’t quite have the right position to make it work and time ran out on the round.
McMann went back to her bread and butter in the second round, looking to take Vieira to the canvas gain. This time, however, Vieira was able to block McMann’s attempts. Unable to get the takedown, McMann landed a couple hard knees and elbows along the fence, but then Vieira flipped the script and tossed McMann to the floor.
Going to work from half guard, Vieira pulled another play out of McMann’s book and moved in for a head-and-arm choke. Though it didn’t appear that she had the proper position, Vieira adjusted and forced McMann to tap late in the second frame.
It was amazing comeback for Vieira after she took a lot of punishment in the first round and a few more heavy shots in round two.
“I took a lot of hard shots,” Vieira later admitted. “It was a very tough fight, but I never give up.”
Her persistence paid off with the biggest victory of her career. Having been ranked at No. 13 in the bantamweight division coming into the fight and upsetting the No. 6 ranked McMann, Vieira is bound to rocket up the ranks and join the elite of the women’s 135-pound division.
There is a new contender at 135 pounds, and her name is Ketlen Vieira! That makes her pro record now 9-0! https://t.co/VKIhbOOBau
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) September 10, 2017
(Photo courtesy of UFC)