We had an incredibly fun event this past weekend at the Apex, all capped off by a Fight of the Year contender between Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez.
We will get back to the Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada for another Fight Night card, headlined by a Women’s Bantamweight clash. Ketlen Vieira will take on former champion Miesha Tate, who made her successful return after retirement in July. In the co-main event, rising prospect Sean Brady will test his mettle against top-ranked Michael Chiesa in a Welterweight bout.
Ketlen Vieira vs. Miesha Tate (BW)
Ketlen Vieira (11-2, 5-2 UFC) surged into the UFC with four straight victories, including a second-round submission over Octagon vet Sara McMann. After being on the wrong end of a highlight reel knockout against Irene Aldana, Vieira bounced back with a decision win over Sijara Eubanks. She could not get past Yana Kunitskaya, who emerged victorious in a narrow decision. Vieira comes in with a jiu-jitsu and judo background which serves as her primary method of attack inside the cage. “Fenomeno” holds six finishes on her pro resume, four by submission, as she seeks to secure top control and work into submissions from dominant positions. Her striking is composed with a high volume, but her accuracy and middling defense make the ground game her best avenue to victory.
Miesha Tate (19-7, 6-4 UFC) made her successful return to the Octagon back in July, being the first person to finish Marion Reneau. Prior to that, she had not been seen in five years time, retiring after a decision defeat to Raquel Pennington back in 2016. This loss came just one fight removed from losing her title to Amanda Nunes. She has competed against top names in the division like Ronda Rousey, and Nunes, also capturing the title with a last chance submission against Holly Holm. “Cupcake” is most comfortable on the mat, using her adept wrestling and quick submission attempts to constantly threaten the finish. She has ten across her career, with seven of those coming by submission.
This is an interesting clash, and the UFC is clearly trying to push Tate back to the top of the division. She looked impressive in her last showing against Reneau, but remember that despite coming off a lengthy retirement, Tate was seven years younger in that bout. She will not have that advantage here, coming up against a hungry rising contender. Tate is more technical on the feet, but really seeks to succeed with her wrestling. The judo pedigree of Vieira is sure to deny that, as the Brazilian boasts an impressive takedown defense. Vieira mixes up top control and combination striking for the decision nod or submission win.
My Pick: Ketlen Vieira via Decision
Michael Chiesa vs. Sean Brady (WW)
The move up to Welterweight looks amazing for Michael Chiesa (17-5, 10-5 UFC), who has rattled off four straight wins in the division. He looks stronger, faster, and not as deprived at the new weight class. He racked up four straight wins at Welterweight before running into Vicente Luque, who submitted him in the first round. His last win saw him dominate fellow ground expert Neil Magny for five rounds. “Maverick” is a jiu-jitsu master and has eleven wins by submission, over some elites such as Jim Miller, Al Iaquinta, and many others. He has numerous submissions from both top position and off his back, and is particularly adept at reversing position on the mat. Chiesa’s striking has never been elite, but he hasn’t needed it because of his high-level ground game.
Sean Brady (14-0, 4-0 UFC) made good on his UFC debut, outworking Court McGee in a decision. He has rattled off three more wins since, capped off by submission victories against Christian Aguilera and Jake Matthews. Six of Brady’s fights have gone the distance but he has real power, especially in the first round. Brady prefers to use his striking in boxing range, throwing hands quickly to best utilize the speed advantage that he will often have since the former LFA champion does not cut any weight to size in for 170 pounds. Sean does bring in some decent wrestling, but is less skilled in technique and more bullies with his size, often settling to score the takedown and control for a few seconds to get the edge in points. However, he has. high level jiu-jitsu game and is a serious problem from top position. The difference maker for Brady is his cardio, he can withstand barrages then pour it on as his opponent’s wither.
This is a real step up in competition for Sean Brady, but it is a nice stylistic matchup for him. Chiesa, while dangerous on the mat, is largely ineffective when unable to reliably get on top. Brady’s top control is monstrous and tailor made to keep Chiesa from mounting any offense. On the feet, Brady takes an even more clear edge, where his volume and power can pick apart the lanky grappler. I expect Brady to mix up his boxing and top control for a clear decision win, or late submission.
My Pick: Sean Brady via Decision
Rani Yahya vs. Kyung Ho Kang (BW)
Kyung Ho Kang (17-8, 6-2 UFC) is on a three fight win streak, coming off a split decision over Pingyuan Liu back in December of 2019. He has become a sort of litmus test for the Bantamweights as to whether you can truly compete with the big boys. “Mr. Perfect” is a dangerous wrestler, complete with the submissions to match. He is a hard fighter to take out striking, as he moves in and out well, along with picking the right shots to get in close. Once he has a hold of you, the fighter is pretty much over, as he can isolate the position then look for a finish from there. His striking is aggressive and Kang is always down for a brawl, but lacks in terms of his defense.
Despite nearing his thirty seventh birthday, Rani Yahya (27-10-1, 8-3-1 UFC) is just as dangerous as ever, with just one loss in his last six fights. He is coming off of a submission victory over Ray Rodriguez, where he closed the show with an arm triangle choke in the second round. Yahya is a longtime veteran, competing for years in the UFC and WEC. He has shown his high level jiu jitsu skills many times, with all twenty one finishes coming by submission. His standup is serviceable, but Yahya always seeks to get the fight to the mat.
This a fun clash of two grapplers, who will bring the excitement from bell to bell. Kang is on a nice win streak right now, and brings the more well-rounded style in. On the other hand, Yahya is an extremely high level grappler who can quickly end the fight with just a few seconds on the ground. However, I like the defensive wrestling and submission defense to keep him out of harm’s way there, as he can keep himself in top position with a higher takedown defense and accuracy. His superior volume will make the difference on the feet, winning him a close decision.
My Pick: Kyung Ho Kang via Decision
Joanne Wood vs. Taila Santos (FLW)
My Pick: Joanne Wood via Decision
Adrian Yanez vs. Davey Grant (BW)
My Pick: Adrian Yanez via Knockout
The main card kicks off at 3 PM EST, and the prelims going down at noon!
Categories: UFC Predictions
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