UFC Vegas 43: Vieira braces for 'biggest challenge' in Tate showdown

Vieira, who has appeared in just three bouts since March 2018 after being hit by a knee injury, is now set to take on former UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate who marked a sensational return from retirement in July.

Vieira (right) is ranked seventh in the bantamweight rankings, a rung above the veteran American, Meisha Tate.   -  GETTY IMAGES

After a frustrating wait of nine months in a stop-start career, bantamweight star Ketlen Vieira is gearing up for her biggest adversary yet in Saturday’s main event at UFC Vegas 43.

Vieira, who has appeared in just three bouts since March 2018 after being hit by a knee injury, is now set to take on former UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate who marked a sensational return from retirement in July.

The 35-year-old Tate (19-7 MMA, 6-4 UFC), who bid farewell to the Octagon in November 2016 - a month after Vieira's UFC debut - recorded her comeback with a crushing win over Marion Reneau at UFC Vegas 31. “Tate is the biggest challenge for me (so far). I know that she's very prepared now, even better than what she was before her retirement. I'm very excited to fight her,” remarked Vieira.

Meanwhile, Vieira (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) has endured a rough patch on her return from injury, suffering her first pair of UFC losses in her last three bouts. The 30-year-old also missed the weight limit in a February clash against Russia’s Yana Kunitskaya, ending in defeat at a catchweight proceeding. Frustrations lingered on for “Fenomeno” when her August meeting with Sara McMann at Vegas 35, was cancelled. A return in October was then pushed back after Tate tested positive for COVID-19.

 

The Brazilian has, however, shrugged off concerns with concerted training during the long layoff. “I have stayed training with a great team under Andre Pederneiras. It was always a dream...all the fighters in Amazonia want to (train with him) because of the amazing work he did with Jose Aldo (former champion and currently fifth in men's bantamweight rankings). It's a big honour to have Pederneiras with me in my corner on Saturday,” quipped Vieira.

She is aware of the challenge that Tate the “Cupcake” brings to the table with her flawless ground-based game. Vieira is ranked seventh in the bantamweight rankings, a rung above the veteran American. A win could see either fighter closing in on a title shot, but she remains focused on the imminent challenge. “My focus now is all on Miesha Tate. With a victory, I'll put my place in the rankings in God's hands. I'm sure that God will decide what is best for me.”

I think we do have a similar fight style because we are both grapplers. During training, my coaches always put me in bad situations. I'm 100 per cent prepared for this fight,” added Vieira ahead of her maiden UFC main event bout.

Watch UFC Fight Night - Vieira vs Tate LIVE on SONY TEN 2 (English) & SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) channels on 21st November 2021 from 4:30 AM IST.

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