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UFC Vegas 43 card: Miesha Tate vs. Ketlen Vieira full fight preview

UFC Fight Night: Reneau v Tate Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Bantamweight talents Miesha Tate and Ketlen Vieira will clash TONIGHT (Sat., Nov. 20, 2021) at UFC Vegas 43 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Having secured a cushy position at One Championship, Tate seemed like one of the few retired fighters who would actually remain on the sidelines. However, the former champion returned earlier this year after a nearly five-year layoff, living up to her promises of a new and improved “Cupcake.” She’s back on the hunt for the title, ready to take on a Top 10-ranked challenge in Vieira. The Brazilian has stumbled a bit in her recent appearances, but the decorated grappler remains one of the division’s better young fighters, and she has definite elite potential.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each woman:

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 43 On ESPN+

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., Nov. 20, 2021, with a showcase match up in the women’s Bantamweight division as No. 7-ranked contender, Ketlen Vieira, takes on No. 8-seeded Miesha Tate. In UFC Vegas 43’s co-main event, Welterweight grappling specialists lock horns as No. 6-ranked contender Michael Chiesa looks to derail the up-and-coming Sean Brady (No. 13).

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

Miesha Tate

Record: 19-7
Key Wins: Holly Holm (UFC 196), Marion Reneau (UFC Vegas 31), Jessica Eye (UFC on FOX 16), Sara McMann (UFC 183), Liz Carmouche (UFC on FOX 11)
Key Losses: Ronda Rousey (UFC 168, Strikeforce: “Tate vs. Rousey”), Amanda Nunes (UFC 200), Cat Zingano (The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale), Raquel Pennington (UFC 205)
Keys to Victory: Tate remains a wrestler first and foremost, possessing one of the stronger double-leg shots in her division. However, her last appearance showcased a newfound sense of distance and composure on the feet, which really improves the odds of that takedown landing.

In this bout, distance and feints are everything. Tate can crack with that right hand, but she doesn’t want long exchanges with Vieira, who is very comfortable slugging it out. Against a larger and younger opponent, brawling is rarely the best move.

Instead, Tate has to keep her feet moving. Vieira likes to plant and throw combinations pretty much anytime her opponent lands, and that habit can be used against her. If Tate sticks a jab or shows a feint forward, Vieira will almost certainly throw. Initially, Tate would be smart to simply back away from those shots, but as she gains a read on Vieira’s timing, ducking into a shot as Vieira tries to counter is her best bet.

If the takedown isn’t landing, jamming Vieira into the cage worked for Yana Kunitskaya. Given five rounds to work, continual wall-and-stall/dirty boxing could wear down her foe and eventually open up the shot.


Ketlen Vieira

Record: 11-2
Key Wins: Sara McMann (UFC 215), Cat Zingano (UFC 222), Sijara Eubanks (UFC 253), Ashlee Evans-Smith (UFC on FOX 24)
Key Losses: Irene Aldana (UFC 245), Yana Kunitskaya (UFC Vegas 19)
Keys to Victory: Vieira is one of the most physical fighters at 135 pounds. She pushes a solid pace and looks to grind past her opponents, either with pressure and volume on the feet or solid top control on the mat.

Vieira wants an ugly fight. Tate is tough, but her defense has never been the best, so things tend to start falling apart in prolonged exchanges. Vieira, on the other hand, is at her best when extending combinations, as getting smacked in the face mid-combo rarely deters her.

The Brazilian can afford to wrestle with Tate also, provided she doesn’t get caught overextended. In the clinch, Vieira’s strength will be important, and there’s a good shot she can do more damage in close distance exchanges.

The bottom line here is that Vieira cannot afford to be controlled. Whether on the fence or the mat, Vieira has to scramble back to positions where she can throw and do damage.


Bottom Line

One woman leaves the cage as a contender.

Tate returned to action with the title as her goal, and it’s going to take some convincing to set up a second showdown vs. “The Lioness.” Defeating Marion Reneau was proof that Tate isn’t washed after her time away from competition, but taking out a quality representative of the generation that came after “Cupcake” is evidence that Tate remains one of the world’s best.

On the flip side, a loss ends the “return to gold” dreams.

Similarly, Vieira really has to win this fight. Getting taken out by a recently retired fighter does not bode well for her title dreams, particularly since Vieira has already lost two of her last three. If she’s to remain a viable potential contender for Nunes, Vieira has to turn away Tate. Fortunately, a victory would also be the biggest of her career, so it would provide some momentum toward the top.

At UFC Vegas 43, Miesha Tate and Ketlen Vieira will go to war in the main event. Which woman has her hand raised?


Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 43 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ at 6 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 43: “Tate vs. Vieira” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.