MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC Vegas 55, a five-round women’s bantamweight bout between Holly Holm and Ketlen Vieira. The event takes place on Saturday, May 21 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Holly Holm (-240)
Holm (14-5) is the No. 2 women’s bantamweight in the UFC. The 40-year-old American is a former champion in the weight class, and she holds notable wins over Ronda Rousey, Raquel Pennington, and Irene Aldana during her UFC career. On the surface, her UFC record of 7-5 is not that impressive, but Holm has only lost to elite competition, and most of her losses were very competitive fighters. She has been one of the top fighters in the weight class for many years now, though at some point she will hit a decline spot in her career. Will that be on Saturday against Vieira? We will find out, but as far as the oddsmakers go, Holm is the favorite to get her hand raised in this fight.
Ketlen Vieira (+190)
Vieira (12-2) is the No. 5 women’s bantamweight in the UFC. The 30-year-old Brazilian has been in the UFC since 2016 and she has gone 6-2 since then. Some of her most notable UFC wins include Miesha Tate, Cat Zingano, and Sara McMann. A well-rounded fighter, Vieira is improving her striking game, but in general she is a grappler who likes to take her opponents down to the mat and stay in the top position. She is a dangerous fighter as far as her submissions go, but she doesn’t stay very active as far as strikes landed on the ground. Her striking is getting better, but she doesn’t possess much knockout power, which limits her potential on the feet. At age 30, she can still improve her game and get better, but at this point, it’s hard to say she is truly an elite fighter at women’s 135lbs.
Fight Breakdown: This should be an interesting fight between two of the top women’s bantamweights in the game. Holm is 40 years old, but she is still fighting at a high level. Vieira, meanwhile, is in the prime of her MMA career at age 30, but she hasn’t fought an opponent as high level of a striker as Holm during her UFC run. In fact, the one time that Vieira fight a high-level striker, Irene Aldana knocked her out cold. Yes, the same Aldana that lost a 50-45 decision to Holm. It just shows you that there are levels to the striking in this sport. Vieira is a good fighter, but she mainly relies on her grappling to win her fights. Unfortunately for her, Holm is actually a solid grappler in her own right, so this fight will likely come down to the striking, and Holm is just levels above on the feet. The two-year layoff and the age of Holm give some pause, but overall she is the better fighter, and she should be able to outpoint Vieira over the five rounds and win the decision.
Prediction: Holly Holm