On the flip side of the equation, Ketlen Vieira walked out of this event with the biggest win of her career and a second consecutive victory over one of the faces of women’s MMA since the UFC introduced females to its roster in 2013.
After picking up a unanimous decision win over Miesha Tate in November, Vieira was awarded a split decision over Holm in their fight. There’s certainly an argument the Brazilian did not deserve this win, but she got it, and she must be pretty proud of the names that are coming together on her resume.
The question, however, is how much do the rest of us care about it? Vieira (13-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) is obviously a skilled fighter who, at 30 years old, seems to be approaching or in the thick of her prime. However, she’s one of those fighters that people seem to be having a difficult time gravitating towards.
The fact she doesn’t speak any English is definitely a hurdle, and if we’re being honest, her approach to these fights doesn’t have anyone running for the turnstiles. There’s a missing link somewhere, and the traffic numbers we see for Vieira’s fight-related content prove that to be a fact.
Still, though, Vieira might be looking at a championship fight in her next outing. Would I advise Vieira to wait until late 2022 or maybe even 2023 to get a shot at the Pena vs. Nunes 2 winners? Probably not. If Nunes wins we’re almost certainly getting a trilogy, and who knows what Pena is going to want if she wins that fight again.
That said, there’s not much room for upward movement in the women’s bantamweight division after beating Holm, so it’s understandable why Vieira wouldn’t want to take a step back just to keep busy. Given the lack of demand to see her fight for UFC gold, though, she’s in a risky position.