Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns later tonight (Sat., May 21, 2022) to stage UFC Vegas 55 from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Headlining the event will be a women’s Bantamweight bout between former division champion, Holly Holm, and top contender, Ketlen Vieira. In the co-main event, Welterweight strikers Santiago Ponzinibbio and Michel Pereira collide in what is sure to be a stand up battle.
It’s been more than 1.5 years since we last saw Holly Holm compete inside the Octagon, tangling with Irene Aldana in Oct. 2020 in Abu Dhabi. “The Preacher’s Daughter” won a unanimous decision win over the Mexican-born striker, her second straight win (see it here). With a third victory potentially hours away, Holm is hoping to earn another shot at winning UFC gold. With a record of 7-5, Holm has been able to earn four title shots during her time. The first was a stunning knockout win over Ronda Rousey in 2015, but she lost the strap in her first defense against Miesha Tate ... and gold has eluded her ever since. And it’s not that she hasn’t had her chances. She came up short in her bid to win the inaugural Featherweight title against Germaine de Randamie, and failed in her second attempt to win that belt against Cris Cyborg. She tried to win the 135-pound belt again, but she lost to the former champion, Amanda Nunes. Ranked No. 2 at the moment, should Holm defeat Vieira, she could very well face the winner of the upcoming rematch between Nunes and Julianna Pena.
As for Vieira, after starting off her career with a scorching-hot record of 10-0 — which included winning her first four fights inside the Octagon — she has cooled off a bit by going just 2-2 in her last four outings. She is coming off a win over Tate — who holds a win over Holm — and now she is trying to build off that momentum to improve on her Top 5 ranking and inch closer to a shot at the title. Her best path to victory would be trying to grind out a unanimous decision or score a finish via a submission. That’s because standing with Holm — a former multi-time boxing champion — doesn’t bode well for too many people. Plus, Vieira has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu — as well as in Judo — so getting up close and personal with Holm is the plan of attack here.
It’s not the best card, but the last few have been pretty good so we can’t dwell on it too much. And had the fight between Alexander Gustafsson and Ben Rothwell hadn’t been axed, we’d be singing a different tune.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
As mentioned earlier, a Heavyweight fight between Alexander Gustafsson and Ben Rothwell was scheduled for this event before “Big Ben” was released and then ultimately signed with Bareknuckle Fighting Championship. As for “The Mauler,” he will now face Nikita Krylov on July 23. Also, Maxim Grishin bowed out of his fight against Jailton Almeida. As a result, Almeida will face Parker Porter in a Heavyweight bout on the undercard. Almeida is currently on a 10-fight win streak and is 1-0 inside the Octagon, scoring a first round stoppage win over Danilo Marques in his debut. As for Porter, he is on a three-fight win streak and is coming off a big win over Alan Baudot.
No injuries were reported for this event, which is always a plus!
No newcomers will be fighting at this event.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Uros Medic and Omar Morales will collide in a Lightweight scrap between two men in search of a win after coming up short in their previous bouts. Medic suffered the first loss of his career against Jalin Turner at UFC 266, snapping his seven-fight win streak. As for Morales, he also came up short at the same event, losing to Jonathan Pearce via rear-naked choke.
In the women’s Strawweight division, Elise Reed is on the hunt for her second straight win under the UFC banner when she battles Sam Hughes, who snapped her three-fight losing streak and prolonged her UFC career by defeating Istela Nunes via majority decision a few months ago.
Chase Hooper has had a rough go inside the Octagon over the last two years, racking up a 1-2 record, alternating wins and losses to go just 2-2 with the promotion. Coming off a loss to Steven Paterson, the pattern tells us “The Dream” is due for a win; however, Felipe Dias Colares is also due for a victory because he, too, has been alternating wins and losses since 2017, so something’s got to give.
In the Bantamweight division, Jonathan Martinez and Vince Morales will collide in a fight that has “Fight of the Night” written all over it. Both men are on two-fight win streaks and they come to bang! Morales was last seen knocking out Louis Smolka, while Martinez picked up a tough win over Alejandro Perez. The 135-pound division is a shark-filled weight class because even those sitting outside the Top 15 such as Morales and Martinez can hang with the best of them.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Two tries inside the Octagon have equated to two losses for Alen Amedovski, who was last seen getting knocked out in just 17 seconds by John Phillips almost three years ago. If he suffers his third straight defeat, the former Bellator MMA Middleweight could be looking for a new home in the coming weeks. His opponent, Joseph Holmes, could also use a win because he came up short in his UFC debut against Jamie Pickett earlier this year. Starting off with two straight defeats in a new promotion isn’t ideal, so both of these men will be fighting tooth and nail to pick up the victory.
Interest Level: 6.5/10
In the co-main event, Michel Pereira and Santiago Ponzinibbio will collide in a Welterweight affair that should produce nothing but fireworks. Pereira is known as the promotion’s wild man who loves to put on a show all the way from weigh-ins until fight night. He is currently on a four-fight win streak and is in search of a spot in the Top 15. A win over Pinzinibbio should do the trick.
Speaking of which, Ponzinibbio has dropped all the way down to No. 14 after going just 1-2 over his last three fights. He is coming off a split decision loss to Geoff Neal, so the Argentinean — who was once on a seven-fight win streak and inching close to a title shot — needs a win here to avoid falling out of the Top 15. This fight has the potential to be a barn-burner because they each prefer to do their damage on the feet.
And they do it well.
Dusko Tudovoric’s UFC campaign didn’t start off so hot, losing his first two fights inside the Octagon before finally breaking through and picking up a win over Maki Pitolo via first-round knockout. He will take on Chidi Njokuani, who is currently enjoying a three-fight win streak, which includes winning his UFC debut against Marc-Andre Barriault earlier this year.
Eryk Anders’ career inside the Octagon has been all over the place. He gets on a nice streak, then a losing streak, then alternates wins and losses. In short, he hasn’t gained enough momentum to crack the Top 15. At the moment, he is on the outside looking in and he has a lot of ground to cover. He is coming off a submission loss to Andre Muniz so getting back in the win column is priority one. He will be taking on Jun Yong Park, who is also coming off a loss, losing to Gregory Rodrigues via knockout, snapping his three-fight win streak.
In women’s Strawweight action, Polyana Viana will look to keep her hot streak going after winning two in a row via first-round submission. Her opponent, Tabatha Ricci, picked up her first UFC win by defeating Maria Oliveira in Oct. 2021. This is a great match up between talented 115-pounders who have the potential to make into the Top 15.
UFC Vegas 55 Main Event On ESPN+:
135 lbs.: Holly Holm vs. Ketlen Vieira
UFC Vegas 55 Main Card On ESPN+:
170 lbs.: Michel Pereira vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
185 lbs.: Chidi Njokuani vs. Dusko Todorovic
185 lbs.: Eryk Anders vs. Jun Yong Park
115 lbs.: Tabatha Ricci vs. Polyana Viana
UFC Vegas 55 ‘Prelims’ On ESPN+:
265 lbs.: Jailton Almeida vs. Parker Porter
185 lbs.: Alen Amedovski vs. Joseph Holmes
155 lbs.: Uros Medic vs. Omar Morales
135 lbs.: Jonathan Martinez vs. Vince Morales
145 lbs.: Chase Hooper vs. Felipe Colares
115 lbs.: Elise Reed vs. Sam Hughes
265 lbs.: Alexander Gustafsson vs. Ben Rothwell— CANCELED (Details here)
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change due to COVID-19.*
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 55 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” undercard bouts at 4 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 7 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 55 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive here. For the updated and finalized “Holm vs. Vieira” fight card and ESPN+ line up click here.