UFC Fight Night Report: Ketlen Vieira defeats Miesha Tate by unanimous decision

Eric Marcotte reviews a long night of UFC fights including Ketlen Vieira earning a decision win against Miesha Tate in the main event.

Photo Courtesy: UFC

UFC Fight Night Report: Ketlen Vieira defeats Miesha Tate by unanimous decision

By: Eric Marcotte 

On Saturday evening, the UFC held a Fight Night event at the Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main event of the card featured a bantamweight bout between Ketlen Vieira and Miesha Tate, that was originally scheduled to take place just over a month ago. Tate was forced to withdraw from that bout after testing positive for COVID-19, however, they were able to reschedule the fight relatively quickly, and it ultimately became the headliner for this card. With both fighters just outside of contendership at 135lbs, this fight provided both with an opportunity to climb up into a top-five spot in the division. In the co-main event, Sean Brady faced Michael Chiesa, as the undefeated Brady looked to keep his professional record unblemished against the toughest test of his career thus far.

Brendan Fitzgerald provided commentary for this card alongside Daniel Cormier. The lone Performance of the Night bonus was awarded to Talia Santos. Fight of the Night bonuses went out to Davey Grant and Adrian Yanez.


*Luana Pinheiro def. Sam Hughes by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

*Shayilan Nuerdanbieke def. Sean Soriano by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

*Cody Durden def. Aoriqileng by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

*Loopy Godinez def. Loma Lookboonmee by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

*Rafa Garcia def. Natan Levy by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

*Pat Sabatini def. Tucker Lutz by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)

*Adrian Yanez def. Davey Grant by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 27-30)

*Rani Yahya def. Kyung Ho Kang by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

*Talia Santos def. Joanne Wood by rear-naked choke at 4:49 of Round 1

*Sean Brady def. Michael Chiesa by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

*Ketlen Vieira def. Miesha Tate by unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)


Both fighters were having some difficulties finding their range in the opening minutes. Pinheiro eventually flurried forward and took Hughes down, where she began to work from the guard of Hughes. Hughes kept Pinheiro from advancing position or doing any significant damage and was ultimately able to work her way back to the feet. 10-9 Pinheiro.

This was not the most action-packed round. They exchanged hard jabs about halfway through round two. Hughes avoided any attempt from Pinheiro to bring this fight back to the ground and nearly doubled Pinheiro up on strikes throughout the round. In the final seconds of the round, however, Pinheiro blitzed forward with a combination of punches and dropped Hughes against the cage. 20-18 Pinheiro.

Pinheiro landed a hard leg kick that knocked Hughes off balance, before doing some more damage with another flurry of punches. Hughes pressed forward throughout the round, but she did it without ever really turning on the aggression, which led to another slow-paced round. I gave Hughes the final five minutes based on activity, but I scored the fight 29-28 in favor of Pinheiro.

WINNER: Luana Pinheiro by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Pinheiro started the fight off strongly, but her lack of experience in fifteen-minute fights quickly began evident, as she slowed significantly by the second round. She still did enough to get the nod here, however, including a key knockdown at the end of round two that stole her that round back on the scorecards. She is now 2-0 in the UFC, and this marked the first time in her last eight bouts that the fight went beyond the first round.


Soriano caught Nuerdanbieke with a sharp jab as he looked to change levels, but was tagged by an unintentional low blow moments later, which brought a momentary pause to the fight. When the action resumed, Nuerdanbieke secured a takedown, however, the strategy backfired, as Soriano reversed the position, and began to work from the guard of Nuerdanbieke. The fight returned to the feet, where Soriano was able to stuff a takedown attempt, before ending the round with a successful takedown of his own. 10-9 Soriano.

Both fighters landed some heavy hooks early in round two. Soriano took Nuerdanbieke back down, but this time it was Nuerdanbieke who reversed positions, and he was quickly able to move into top mount. Soriano gave up his back, which almost allowed him to turn into top position, but Nuerdanbieke was wise to it and retained control of the action on the ground until time expired. 19-19 on my scorecard.

Nuerdanbieke quickly brought the fight back to the ground with a spectacular belly-to-back suplex. He took the back of Soriano, where Nuerdanbieke began to look for a rear-naked choke. Soriano defended the submission attempts well but was unable to escape the position, and Nuerdanbieke spent the entirety of the round on Soriano’s back. 29-28 Nuerdanbieke.

WINNER: Shayilan Nuerdanbieke by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

Soriano appeared to be the more comfortable striker, and he landed some solid shots on the feet throughout the fight, but he just didn’t have the takedown defense to keep the fight in his comfort zone. Nuerdanbieke was able to dominate the grappling exchanges throughout the final two rounds, which secured those rounds for him on the scorecards, in what was otherwise a competitive fight on the feet. Nuerdanbieke improved to 1-1 in the UFC with this win. For Soriano, this was another tough loss, and his promotional record now stands at 0-5.

CODY DURDEN (11-3-1, 126) VS AORIQILENG (18-8, 126) – FLYWEIGHT

Durden quickly brought Aoriqileng to the ground, where Durden began to work from his guard. Aoriqileng kept Durden from advancing or doing any significant damage, but even after Aoriqileng eventually returned to his feet, Durden was able to just smother him against the cage. Durden looked very tired by round’s conclusion but he definitely took the first five minutes on the scorecards. 10-9 Durden.

Aoriqileng looked to be the fresher fighter by round two, and Durden was not pursuing takedowns with the urgency he was in the opening round. Now largely a stand-up battle, both fighters were able to find a home for their offense. Aoriqileng was able to take top position on the ground momentarily after a slip from Durden but was unable to maintain that advantage for long. Durden connected with a hard uppercut in the final minute, as well as a series of jabs, before Aoriqileng responded with a pair of clean right hands. This was a close round. 19-19.

Durden got the fight back to the ground in round three, which was a huge moment for him at this point in the bout. Aoriqileng attempted a few cage grabs to keep himself on the feet, but they didn’t help him out much, and Durden racked up a solid amount of control time here. With just over a minute remaining in the round, Aoriqileng was able to return to his feet and breakaway, and he went on the attack in the final minute, looking for the finish. Durden had no interest in brawling with Aoriqileng by this point and wrapped him up against the cage to end the fight. 29-28 Durden.

WINNER: Cody Durden by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

Despite looking exhausted by the end of round one, Durden was able to stay in this fight by utilizing his grappling advantage, which Aoriqileng did not have a great answer for. Aoriqileng successfully limited Durden’s activity offensively from the ground, but he just couldn’t create the separation that he needed to if he was going to come back to win those rounds. In his post-fight interview, Durden said something along the lines of “I wanted to send Aoriqileng back to China, where he comes from”, which drew audible groans from the limited Apex crowd and created an awkward moment for Fitzgerald and Cormier on commentary. Honestly, I would be pretty surprised if the UFC actually addresses this comment in any significant fashion, but I thought this comment came off very poorly, and it took away from what was otherwise an impressive win.  


Lookboonmee tripped Godinez to the ground in the opening minute, but Godinez popped right back up, and proceeded to look for a takedown of her own. Lookboonmee defended the attempt before they exchanged some creative combinations of strikes on the feet. Godinez was repeatedly getting tagged by these right crosses from Godinez, and eventually, she followed one of those right hands up with a takedown to end what was a close round. 10-9 Godinez.

Godinez brought the fight back to the ground early in round two, where she began to work from side control. Lookboonmee exploded back to her feet but ultimately found herself dragged back down after throwing an ill-advised knee. Godinez took the back of Lookboonmee in the final minute, and while she didn’t find the finish, I thought this was a clearer round in her favor. 20-18 Godinez.

Godinez was joking with her corner about fighting again in two weeks’ time between rounds. She immediately secured another takedown to begin round three, where she began to hunt for a heel hook. Lookboonmee escaped and scrambled into the guard of Godinez. The fight returned to the feet with two minutes remaining, but Godinez had no interest in keeping in there, bringing Lookboonmee right back down with a double leg. 30-27 Godinez.

WINNER: Loopy Godinez by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

Remarkably, this marked Godinez’s third UFC bout in a 43-day span. Her activity has been insane, and she made it clear that she would like to return to the octagon as soon as possible. Godinez’s grappling looked fantastic throughout this fight, and her cardio held up very well considering the wild schedule that she has been on for the last month and a half. Lookboonmee did some interesting things throughout the bout, but her inability to keep the fight on the feet ultimately cost her on the scorecards. Godinez improved to 2-2 in the UFC with this win.


Both fighters were throwing with some serious power in the opening minute of this fight. Garcia brought the fight to the ground after a big swing from Levy, but Levy was able to pop right back to his feet, where he landed a brutal kick to the body. Garcia caught Levy with a short-left hand, which he followed up with a heavy right cross. Garcia ended the round in top position, but there was not enough control time to consider it a moment of significance. 10-9 Levy.

Garcia caught a leg and took Levy to the ground, and while he didn’t keep him down for long, he connected with a hard right hand as the fighters broke apart. Levy evened the score with a takedown of his own, as he clung to the back of Garcia, repeatedly dragging him down. Garcia broke away before taking Levy down once more, ending the round on top. 19-19.

Levy was able to defend Garcia’s early takedown attempts in the final round, which resulted in the first half of the round taking place on the feet. Both fighters were connecting with strong shots, but I thought it was Levy who was packing a bit more behind his punches by this point in the fight. He landed some very strong body kicks as well, which were arguably his best shots of the round. Garcia was eventually able to find those takedowns that he was looking for, and he kept Levy from getting much off in the final minutes of the bout. Time expired with Garcia on top, and I scored the fight 29-28 in his favor.

WINNER: Rafa Garcia by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

This was a close fight, but I thought Garcia was able to do just enough to edge the last two rounds on the scorecards. His takedowns were the difference-maker, in what was otherwise a very close bout. This marked Levy’s first professional loss, but I think this was very much the type of loss in which the fighter will gain plenty from it, and I thought this was ultimately a solid debut for Levy. This was a much-needed win for Garcia, who picked up his first UFC win here after dropping his first two fights in the promotion.


Sabatini was clearly looking to wrestle with Lutz, and he quickly pressured Lutz into the cage, where Sabatini proceeded to hunt for the takedown until he was eventually able to sit Lutz down with about three minutes to work. Sabatini took the back of Lutz, where he began to look for the rear-naked choke. He didn’t find the submission, but he maintained the position until time expired in the round. 10-9 Sabatini.

It took about fifteen seconds for Sabatini to bring this fight back to the ground. Once again, Sabatini was eventually able to work his way to the back of Lutz, where he went right back to hunting for the submission. Once again, Lutz was able to defend the rear-naked choke attempts but was unable to escape, and Sabatini took this round as well. 20-18 Sabatini.

Lutz did his best to defend Sabatini’s takedown attempts in round three, and while he was largely successful, he was unable to create any separation, and Sabatini pressed him against the cage for the near entirety of the round. 30-27 Sabatini.

WINNER: Pat Sabatini by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)

Not a fun fight to watch in the slightest, but a dominant, impressive performance from Sabatini here regardless. He controlled almost every second of this fight and took very little damage in the process. Sabatini will make for a very challenging opponent for a number of high-level featherweights if he continues fighting at the level he has been. He is now 3-0 in the UFC.


Both fighters found early success on the feet. Yanez in particular was doing a great job of backing Grant up while finding a home for these heavy straights. Both men were switching stances constantly, throwing leg kicks, as well as strong kicks to the body. Yanez backed Grant up with a beautiful counter hook, and he proceeded to tag him with another one just moments later. Grant attempted a few spinning attacks to varying degrees of success. Good round. 10-9 Yanez.

Grant found a home for a solid combination that ended with a head kick. Yanez was still countering very well, catching Grant with hooks as he moved forward. An accidental eye poke to Yanez brought a pause to the action, but it was determined that he could continue. Grant fully committed to a takedown as the fight resumed, however, the takedown defense of Yanez held up strongly, as he shrugged off the attempt. Grant caught Yanez with a couple of slick counter hooks of his own before he loaded up with a heavy right hand that caught Yanez clean. Grant landed a flying knee, as well as a follow-up combination of wild swings. This was a very close round, but I gave the edge to Grant. 19-19.

The pace of this fight did not slow down at all in the final round. Yanez and Grant stood in the center of the octagon, and exchanged strong shots, with neither fighter giving an inch. Grant’s face was a bloody mess by this point, but despite the visual, I thought he was doing just as much damage as Yanez was in this third round. The numbers, however, were in favor of Yanez, who was doing some excellent work with his jab, while he dodged and rolled out of the way of Grant’s big shots. The fight went the distance, and I scored it 29-28 in favor of Yanez.

WINNER: Adrian Yanez by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 27-30)

This was an excellent fight. There was constant activity on both sides, and it speaks to the durability of both men that this fight went the distance, because they were both swinging for the fences at times as well throughout this one. Adrian Yanez is perhaps the top prospect at bantamweight right now, and he continues to impress every single time he’s stepped into the octagon. This was his first UFC bout to go the distance, against his toughest opponent yet, but he didn’t look tired, or out of his comfort zone in the slightest. I’m very high on this guy as a fighter, and I expect he’ll be facing ranked competition soon. Yanez is now 4-0 in the UFC.

RANI YAHYA (27-10-1, 1 NC, 135.5) VS KYUNG HO KANG (17-8, 1 NC, 136) – BANTAMWEIGHT

Kang attempted a flying knee early, which Yahya caught before he proceeded to drag Kang to the ground against the cage. Kang defended Yahya’s attempts to advance well, and he scrambled to the feet, where he tagged Yahya with a number of short hooks. Kang just kept throwing it, right through Yahya’s guard, and the hooks eventually sat Yahya down. Kang allowed Yahya to return to his feet, where the action remained until the final seconds of the round. 10-9 Kang.

Kang threw a leg kick to begin round two, and Yahya immediately capitalized on the extended leg, taking Kang to the ground. Yahya transitioned to Kang’s back, where he locked in a body triangle with about four minutes to work. Kang defended Yahya’s attempts to submit him but was unable to shake him off of his back, so Yahya was able to ride out the entirety of the round on Kang’s back. 19-19.

Kang immediately backed Yahya up with a combination of hooks, and as Yahya desperately went to the ground to avoid Kang’s offense, Kang decided to follow him down in an attempt to end the fight. Yahya almost instantly scrambled into top position, where he began to work from half guard. Once again, Yahya was able to control the near entirety of this round on the ground, and I scored this fight 29-28 in his favor.

WINNER: Rani Yahya by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

After the first round, it looked as though this might be a pretty rough night at the office for Rani Yahya, but Kang made some key mistakes in each of the last two rounds, and Yahya capitalized both times, dragging Kang into a grappling match. Even at 37 years of age, watching Yahya work on the ground is something to behold, and he did some excellent work throughout these last two rounds to come back and win this fight. Yahya is 5-1-1 throughout his last seven bouts.

JOANNE WOOD (15-6, 126) VS TAILA SANTOS (18-1, 125.5) – FLYWEIGHT

Santos tagged Wood with a heavy right hook before backing her into the cage. Wood broke away but was sat down following a big overhand right from Santos against the cage. Wood recovered quickly, but Santos went right back on the attack and dropped Wood in a more brutal fashion with a combination of hooks. Santos followed her to the ground to finish the fight, and she proceeded to lock in a rear-naked choke, forcing Wood to submit.

WINNER: Talia Santos by rear-naked choke at 4:49 of Round 1

This was exactly the type of performance that Santos needed to create some buzz for herself in the UFC. The finish here was a brutal one, dropping Wood twice before sinking in the choke. After dropping her UFC debut by split decision, she won three straight fights in the promotion, but they were all fairly forgettable bouts that went the distance. Before coming to the UFC, Santos had finished the vast majority of her fights in the first round, and for the first time since coming to the UFC, we got to see that power and aggression on display. Santos will likely shoot up the rankings after this win, and realistically, she won’t be all that far from a title shot. She is now on a four-fight win streak, and I think we’ll see her in there with another top flyweight in her next bout.


An eye poke to Brady seconds in the opening minute brought a short pause to the action. Chiesa poked him again moments after the fight resumed, and Chiesa was given a warning by referee Herb Dean. Chiesa threw a kick to the body, but it was caught by Brady, who proceeded to double leg Chiesa to the ground. Brady transitioned to the back of Chiesa, but could not maintain the position, as Chiesa escaped to his feet. 10-9 Brady.

The first three minutes of the fight were spent on the feet, with the two fighters largely exchanging jabs. With just over two minutes remaining in the round, Brady switched it up and took Chiesa back down, where he quickly transitioned to the back of Chiesa. Brady couldn’t find the submission, but he maintained this position for the remainder of the round, which was the difference-maker in what was otherwise a close round. 20-18 Brady.

Chiesa went on the attack in round three, knowing that he was likely down on the scorecards. Chiesa was hurting Brady with these straight right hands, but despite the damage done by Chiesa, Brady was able to wrap Chiesa up against the cage, before he dragged him down to the ground one last time. Brady immediately took Chiesa’s back, and once again, he was able to keep that position for a considerable amount of time. This time, however, Chiesa scrambled back to his feet with less than thirty seconds remaining, and went for the kill one last time, tagging Brady repeatedly on the feet before dragging him down and throwing down ground and pound until time expired in the round. I scored the fight 29-28 for Brady.

WINNER: Sean Brady by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

Honestly, this fight was far closer than the scorecards indicated. It feels like the story of this entire night is long periods of control time on the ground versus limited spurts of damage on the feet, and this fight was another example of that. Chiesa was doing good work with his striking, especially in round three, but Brady is a tremendous wrestler, and he was able to drag Chiesa down and keep him there for a significant amount of time whenever it was needed. This was the toughest test of Brady’s career thus far, against another strong grappler, but I’d say he passed that test in an impressive (and hard-fought) fashion. Brady is now 5-0 in the UFC, and in his post-fight interview, he asked for the main event slot, so he could gain some five-round experience.


The fighters exchanged hard right hands to begin the main event. Vieira worked her jab, keeping Tate at range. Tate pressed forward and connected with a right hand, before pressing Vieira against the cage. Vieira broke away and landed a right hand of her own before the round’s conclusion. The striking numbers displayed at the end of the round had Tate slightly ahead, and she defended a takedown before time expired. Close round. 10-9 Vieira.

Vieira’s corner was very unhappy with her for defending a takedown at the end of the previous round. Tate landed a powerful right hand about ninety seconds into round two, and Vieira responded with a right cross of her own. Tate connected with a front kick before pressing forward, where they exchanged hooks. Vieira landed a strong shot in response that backed Tate off, and she defended a takedown attempt from Tate that came moments later. 20-18 Vieira on my scorecard, but once again, this could have been scored either way.

After about ninety seconds of relative inactivity, Tate caught Vieira with an eye poke, and the fight was paused momentarily. Tate seemed to be having trouble finding her range, and neither fighter was particularly aggressive here. Vieira was countering well but was rarely going on the attack, leading to some long periods of inactivity. Tate attempted a takedown late in the round to no success. Once again, it was a hard round to score.

Tate cracked Vieira with a looping right hand in the opening minute of round four. Vieira continued to counter strongly and did a good job of sticking to her feet after a takedown attempt from Tate. Tate controlled the action for about a minute against the cage before Vieira broke away. Vieira attacked the body in the clinch and mixed in a few more counter-right hands whenever Tate tried to work her way inside. Another close one. 39-37 Vieira.

Vieira landed this uppercut/left hook combination that she had thrown repeatedly throughout the night, and these shots landed hard. There were moments in this round where I thought Vieira was really hurting Tate with her shots but continued to be no follow-up, so Tate never got overwhelmed, as was able to fight at her own pace. Tate was a bloody mess by the end of this round, but the fight went the distance, and I scored it 49-46 in favor of Vieira.

WINNER: Ketlen Vieira by unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)

I was actually somewhat surprised to see that the judges (and myself) were all in relative agreement over this one. It was a much closer fight than those 49-46 scorecards would indicate. If Vieira fought with a bit more aggression, I think it would have dramatically altered this fight, but she allowed Tate to dictate the pace of the fight, which resulted in the fight being as competitive as it was. It was clear that Vieira was the more skilled striker, and she was certainly doing significantly more damage, but she just wasn’t capitalizing after countering Tate. Regardless, this was Vieira’s first main event slot in the UFC, as well as her first five-round fight. After missing weight and losing her last fight, this was about as strong of a turnaround as she could have hoped for, and she will likely have her eyes set on working towards a title shot in her near future. It’s tough to say where this leaves Miesha Tate at 135lbs, but I think there will still be plenty of people interested in her running it back with Holly Holm, a fight that both have expressed interest in recently.

About Eric Marcotte 189 Articles
A graduate of Laurentian University, Eric reports on Mixed Martial Arts at POST Wrestling.