After suffering the first loss of her career, Ketlen Vieira bounced back with a strong showing against Sijara Eubanks at UFC 253.
Mixing together her ground game with a much improved striking arsenal, Vieira was able to get the better of Eubanks to earn a unanimous decision. The judges all gave Vieira the fight with 29-28 scores across the board.
“I feel very well. ‘Dede’ this is all for you, this is in your honor,” Vieira said while paying tribute to her head coach Andre Pederneiras, who was unable to corner her after contracting COVID-19. “In December, that was not me. I’m here to be the champion.”
Despite Vieira and Eubanks both coming from grappling backgrounds, they were more than willing to stand and trade on the feet. Vieira enjoyed the longer reach, which allowed her to tag Eubanks at a distance with several shots to the head and body.
Eubanks wasn’t backing down while showing a real willingness to exchange punches with the Brazilian but she wasn’t connecting with as much regularity.
While she seemed to be winning on the feet, Vieira went back to her roots by taking Eubanks to the ground where she looked to dominate from the top. The change in positions didn’t result in a lopsided result but it allowed Vieira to show off her wrestling and grappling credentials.
As the fight moved into the final round, Eubanks’ corner implored her to get aggressive because she might be down two rounds. The former Ultimate Fighter finalist definitely listened as she starting throwing with a lot more ferocity on the feet, coming after Vieira with every weapon at her disposal.
Some heavy leather was flying in both directions but Eubanks wasn’t able to shift the momentum in her favor before the final horn sounded.
The decision went Vieira’s way as she gets back in the win column after falling by knockout to Irene Aldana in her last outing. As the bantamweight division continues to search for new contenders to face champion Amanda Nunes, Vieira looks to put her name back amongst the top fighters at 135 pounds after taking out another top 15 opponent on Saturday night.