Holly Holm and Kelten Vieira could put themselves on the shortlist for a UFC women’s bantamweight title fight with a win at UFC Fight Night. Holm vs. Vieira headlines the latest event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday, May 21. UFC Fight Night predictions — Holly Holm vs. Ketlen Vieira: Fight card, odds, start time, live stream

Holm and Vera could position themselves for the winner of the expected rematch of Julianna Pena vs. Amanda Nunes 2

Holm (14-5) is always on the cusp of another UFC title shot. The former bantamweight champion and perennial contender is still driven by the allure of gold around her waist. One of the most accomplished women’s boxers in history, capturing titles in three divisions and accumulating 16 title defenses, championships are a way of life for Holm. A win over Vieira puts Holm on the first winning streak of her UFC career since her debut stretch culminated in an all-time memorable knockout of Ronda Rousey.

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“I have to win, regardless,” Holm said at Wednesday’s media day. “I hate to lose, anyway. I just hate to lose no matter what is on the line. That’s No. 1. I want to get in there and I want to win on Saturday. But, also, as far as a career, if you don’t win, the next steps and options are never as many as you want. They are limited. In the long run, I need this win if I want to keep progressing to getting the belt.”

Vieira (12-2) could inject some fresh blood into the women’s bantamweight title picture. A six-year UFC veteran, Vieira has experienced a slow, incremental assent up the company ladder. Losses to Irene Aldana and Yana Kunitskaya halted her momentum but a win over Miesha Tate, arguably the most high-profile of her career, sets her up for a big follow-up fight. Vieira is a fan of Holm and is prepared to put her best foot forward against another female combat sports legend.

“I admire her a lot,” Vieira said on Wednesday. “I used to watch her fights before I knew I wanted to fight in UFC. I watched her fight against Ronda when she shocked the world and, for me, it’s a dream come true to fight another former champ that I admire so much. I have a lot of faith in myself.

“I always dreamed about being a main event in the UFC, and now I have the opportunity to do it again with another elite athlete… It’s a dream come true for me.”

Saturday’s co-main event promises explosions as exciting strikers Santiago Ponzinibbio and Michel Pereira trade leather. Ponzinibibo, once considered among the most promising prospects at 170 pounds, has struggled with consistency since returning from a 26-month layoff following career-threatening infections. On the flip side, Pereira bounced back from a rough UFC start and has strung together four consecutive wins.

The rest of the main card fills out with three more bouts. Chidi Njokuani takes on Dusko Todorovic in a middleweight contest. Veteran Eryk Anders is back in another middleweight bout when he battles with Jun Yong Park. And the action begins with a women’s strawweight contest between Tabatha Ricci and Polyana Viana.

UFC Fight Night viewing information

Date: May 21 | Start time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: UFC Apex — Las Vegas, Nevada
Stream: ESPN+
Prediction

Holly Holm vs. Ketlen Vieira: Holm is in a tricky place. The former boxing and UFC champion is always a viable title contender. Unfortunately, age and failed opportunities are beginning to catch up to her. Holm has lost five times in her pro MMA career: four in title fights and one to eventual flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. The days of Holm as a surefire world champion are probably behind her. If Holm is content with that, she can churn out wins until she calls it a career. Holm’s health has benefited from a late start in MMA and little sustained damage. She has only been knocked out three times in 57 combined pro boxing and MMA bouts. Her striking remains one of the best in a rather shallow division and she has rounded out her MMA game enough to repel wrestling heavy offense. Vieira is a solid if unspectacular fighter. A fight-ending threat on the regional scenes, Vieira has only mustered one finish — a 2017 submission of Sara McMann — across eight UFC fights over six years. A loss to Yana Kunitskaya last year says more about her ceiling than a win over Miesha Tate, the latter of whom has fought only twice since 2016. Expect Holm to pick apart Vieira at range, stave off takedown attempts and take her victory lap. Holm via UD

When Holly Holm made her debut in the Octagon at age 34 in 2015, just two years after the UFC promoted its first women’s fight, the decorated former women’s boxing champion was considered an outsider. Seven years later, it’s hard to imagine the UFC’s bantamweight division without Holm at the top of the rankings.

Holm (14-5), whose head-kick knockout of Ronda Rousey is still prominently featured on the promotion’s highlight reels of best moments in company history, never actually defended the 135-pound title she held for less than five months following her monster upset of Rousey, but she has remained a fixture in the title picture across two divisions.

Now, at 40, Holm enters the main event of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card in Las Vegas as the No. 2 ranked bantamweight in the world and possibly on the verge of securing a fifth shot at UFC gold when she challenges No. 5 Ketlen Viera (12-2) inside the UFC Apex facility.

Holm, who will be inducted into the first female class in June at the International Boxing Hall of Fame after making a combined 18 title defenses across three divisions, has previously been known as one of the most versatile and accomplished female combat sports athletes in history. But the legacy of “The Preacher’s Daughter” may have taken on a new wrinkle in recent years due to how incredible her longevity has been.

Although Holm has been idle from the Octagon for 19 months following due to separate battles with hydronephrosis and a knee injury that forced her out of originally scheduled bouts against Julianna Pena and Norma Dumont, it marked the first time in a while Holm has had to deal with the setbacks of sustained injuries.

The crazy part is that Holm is just 4-5 since her 2015 win over Rousey yet has routinely fought the best of the best that the world had to offer, with losses to current or former UFC champions Miesha Tate, Valentina Shevchenko, Germain de Randamie, Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes. But Holm has never stopped evolving her game in the process and, because of that, never left the top of the rankings across both the bantamweight and featherweight divisions.

With Pena, who upset Nunes for the 135-pound title in 2021, set to rematch the female G.O.A.T. later this year following their stint as coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter,” there’s a strong chance Holm could find herself next in line should she get past Viera. And for Holm, even with age and injury having made the past two years more challenging than ever, one has to like her chances of potentially competing on even terms with either of them.

“I have to win, regardless,” Holm said, regarding the stakes of the Viera fight, during Wednesday’s media day. “I hate to lose, anyway. I just hate to lose no matter what is on the line. That’s No. 1. I want to get in there and I want to win on Saturday. But, also, as far as a career, if you don’t win, the next steps and options are never as many as you want. They are limited. In the long run, I need this win if I want to keep progressing to getting the belt.”

Asked about what keeps motivating her to continue adding to her game while climbing the ladder of contention at her age, Holm said the answer is very simple.

“It’s in me. I think, it’s just that I’m passionate about the sport,” Holm said. “I think you are either born with that or you are not.”

Holm has certainly come close to being a UFC champion once more after losing her title via fifth-round submission to Tate — in one of the most dramatic finishes in the sport’s history — but has been unable to get over the hump. She dropped a frustrating decision to de Randamire in their 2017 bout for the inaugural featherweight title before losing a competitive decision to Cyborg for the same title two fights later.

A key women’s bantamweight clash headlines the latest UFC Fight Night.

Holly Holm looks to continue her path to getting a shot at becoming a two-time women’s bantamweight champion on Saturday as she takes on Ketlen Vieira from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

After stunning the sports world with her second-round knockout of Ronda Rousey to win the 135-pound title at UFC 193, Holm’s struggled to get back to that historic point in time, going 4-5. But she’s gotten herself back on track and won back-to-fights over Raquel Pennington and Irene Aldana, respectively.

Standing in Holm’s way is Vieira. The Brazilian began her career 10-0, but has been on uneven footing as of late, going 2-2 in her last four. But her most recent outing was her biggest win to date, beating former bantamweight titlist and one of Women’s MMA biggest names, Miesha Tate.

The main event for this final event of May is a women’s bantamweight bout between former champion Holly Holm and Brazilian contender Ketlen Vieira. In the co-main event, it’s an Argentina vs. Brazil matchup at welterweight between strikers Santiago Ponzinibbio and Michel Pereira.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to its APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the UFC Vegas 55 mixed martial arts (MMA) event TONIGHT (Sat., May 21, 2022) streaming LIVE on ESPN+. The promotion’s latest “Fight Night” card is topped by a 135-pound showdown featuring former champion and No. 2-ranked contender Holly Holm making her Octagon return opposite No. 5-ranked division up-and-comer Ketlen Vieira. Before that five-round bantamweight battle gets underway, veteran “Demolidor” Michel Pereira and “Argentine Dagger” Santiago Ponzinibbio collide in the UFC Vegas 55 co-main event. Chidi Njokuani, Eryk Anders, and Polyana Viana will also see ESPN+ main card action in “Sin City.”

Keep in mind that we will also be the spot for the latest news, recaps, and post-fight analysis following “Holm vs. Vieira.” Without further delay, see below for the updated UFC Vegas 55 real-time results. (Note: This will go from the bottom up; therefore, scroll toward the bottom for the latest detailed round-by-round action.

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