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UFC Fight Night: Vieira v Tate Predictions

Top-10 bantamweights have top billing as former champion Miesha Tate takes on Ketlen Vieira in a crunch clash at UFC Vegas 43 on Saturday night, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld. 

UFC Betting

Top-10 bantamweights have top billing as former champion Miesha Tate takes on Ketlen Vieira in a crunch clash at UFC Vegas 43 on Saturday night (Sunday morning SA time), writes Quintin van Jaarsveld. 

The co-main event at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas is a high-profile meeting between a mainstay in the welterweight elite and a rising star as Michael Chiesa battles Sean Brady.

Also on deck is a double dose of bantamweight action as Rani Yahya collides with Kyung Ho Kang and Davey Grant goes toe-to-toe with Adrian Yanez, while top-10 flyweights Joanne Wood and Taila Santos face off.

MAIN CARD (from 1 AM Sunday SA time):

Ketlen Vieira (1.83) v Miesha Tate (2.00) (Bantamweight)

Tate (19-7) made a triumphant return after a five-year absence with a TKO win over Marion Reneau in July. The former champion looked like she hadn’t skipped a beat as she controlled things from the onset and the third-round stoppage was a clear message that “Cupcake” is coming for the crown. 

Instantly elevated to eighth in the rankings, Tate was keen to continue her comeback tour but hit a speed bump in the form of a positive Covid test, which ruled her out of her originally slated date with Vieira (11-2) in October. Having had an extra month to prepare, both women will be on point for this pivotal main event.

It’s a golden opportunity for Vieira to bounce back from just her second career loss, a shock defeat to Yana Kunitskaya by decision in February, with a massive win over a pioneer of women’s mixed martial arts. Striking-wise, seventh-ranked “Fenomeno” is good at range and she’ll have a three-inch reach advantage. She doesn’t have a lot of pop (just two knockouts) but she’s technical. 

The big, imposing Brazilian’s jiu-jitsu is the strongest facet of her game and it’s set to be an offensive and defensive weapon against a strong wrestler like Tate. It’s earned her four submission wins, the last coming over Sara McMann in 2017, while she holds a win over another former title challenger in Cat Zingano.

Tate, though, is the toughest opponent she’s ever come across and this marks her maiden main event. Tate, on the other hand, has seen and done it all, including headlining major pay-per-views against arch-rival Ronda Rousey and the woman who dethroned her, Amanda Nunes. 

Vieira has never entered the main event/championship rounds, where Tate produced the crowning moments of her legendary career, first when she submitted Marloes Coenen in the fourth to secure the Strikeforce title a decade ago and then when she put Holly Holm to sleep with a rear-naked choke in the fifth to capture the UFC championship in 2016.

Those are among seven submission wins, while she also has four knockouts to her name. She’s super durable and not afraid to eat a punch to give a punch or get to where she wants to be, which is initiating the clinch/a grappling exchange. 

She’ll look to make it a dog fight against the rangier Vieira. The latter has excellent takedown defence (92%) but Tate’s a master of relentlessly wearing on an opponent. She has a slew of crafty takedown techniques and trips and even if she doesn’t complete many, the lifelong wrestler will back herself to tire and outwork Vieira.

Prediction: With a world of experience, elite fight IQ and a legendary gas tank, Tate should grind out a decision. 

Best Bet: Tate at 2.00

Alternative Bet: Tate by decision at 3.00.

Michael Chiesa (2.40) v Sean Brady (1.62) (Welterweight)

The co-headliner will see hot prospect Brady put his unbeaten record on the line in the hopes of establishing himself as a legitimate title contender. Flawless in his 14-fight career, Brady is ranked 14th and has an opportunity to break into the top 10.

To do so, he has to defeat sixth-ranked Chiesa (18-5), The Ultimate Fighter Season 15 winner and a long-time member of the 185-pound (84kg) elite. “Maverick” is coming off a loss to Vicente Luque in August, which snapped a four-fight win streak. 

Big and powerful, he wrestles opponents to the ground and taps them out. Eleven of his wins are by submission and that he doesn’t have any knockouts tells you the limited striking skills the southpaw possesses.

Still, what he represents for the impressive Brady is a leap in competition. Four of Brady’s wins came in the UFC, the last over Jake Matthews in March, but he’s never faced anyone like Chiesa. He’s well-rounded, his last win being his fourth by submission, while he also has three knockouts to his name.

Most importantly when it comes to this match-up, the 28-year-old’s an excellent wrestler. He’s never been taken down inside the Octagon, and if Chiesa can’t take the fight to the floor, he’s a sitting duck. Keeping it standing, where Brady has better technique and footwork plus more power, he should get it done by decision. 

Prediction: Brady via decision. 

Best Bet: Brady at 1.62.

Alternative Bets: Brady by KO/TKO/DQ/decision at 1.95 or decision at 4.00.

Rani Yahya (1.95) v Kyung Ho Kang (1.86) (Bantamweight)

This should be a compelling chess match of submission magicians. Yahya (27-10-1-1NC), a second-degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, has won 21 of his fights by submission, while Kang (17-8-1NC) has tapped out 11 of his victims. 

What’s often the case when grappling specialists face-off is that they cancel out one another’s strengths and that’s what’s most likely to happen here. As a result, it should be a striking battle where the more dynamic and dangerous Kang has a distinct advantage.   

Not that he needs it against his 37-year-old opponent, “Mr Perfect” has a six-inch reach advantage as well, which further points to a knockout win.   

Prediction: Kang via knockout.

Best Bet: Kang at 1.86

Alternative Bet: Kang by knockout at 7.00.

Joanne Wood (3.90) v Taila Santos (1.26) (Flyweight)

That Wood (15-6), a veteran who’s been in touching distance of a title shot and who’s currently ranked fifth, is the biggest underdog on the main card speaks to the tremendous talent and potential of 10th-ranked Santos. The latter has a stellar record of 18 wins and just one defeat, by split decision, with 10 knockouts and two submission wins.

The odds and that punishing track record strongly suggests another KO win for the Brazilian, who’ll benefit from a two-and-a-half-inch reach advantage, but all three of her wins in the UFC were by decision. Add the fact that Wood is a high-level striker in her own right (five KOs) and has never been stopped by strikes and the picture that emerges is a decision win for Santos.

Prediction: Santos via decision 

Best Bet: Santos via decision at 1.74.

Alternative Bet: Santos by KO/TKO/DQ/submission at 3.75.

Davey Grant (3.50) v Adrian Yanez (1.31) (Bantamweight)

Fearless finishers promise to put on a bantamweight banger to start the main card. Both men boast 11 stoppages, Grant (13-5) getting eight of his on the ground and Yanez (14-3) nine of his thanks to his striking prowess. 

Like co-headliner Brady, Yanez has 100% takedown defence, which spells trouble for his opponent out of the UK, who lost last time out against Marlon Vera. Yanez, on the other hand, is on a serious hot streak. Not only has he won five in a row, but he’s also won his last four by knockout and his superiority on the feet should see him continue that trend.  

Prediction: Yanez via knockout.

Best Bet: Yanez by knockout at 2.00.

Alternative Bet: Yanez by KO/TKO/DQ/submission at 1.86.

Quintin Van Jaarsveld is a former MDDA-Sanlam SA Local Sports Journalist of the Year and a former three-time Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Sports Journalist of the Year. Formerly the sports editor and Outstanding Journalist of the Year award winner at The Fever Media Group, deputy editor at eHowzit, editor at and senior staff writer at, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

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