“Cat Zingano is a bit unpredictable. She moves forward all the time, always going after the win and that’s why we’re focused and working on trying to counter and catcher her when she’s not expecting. Sometimes she exposes herself too much, so we’re focusing on the physical aspect. I think that age is not a huge factor, but it is a factor that will help me recover quickly in between rounds.
It’s a similar fight. We that Sara McMann was strong, especially in the first round and then starts to fade. My coach ‘Dede’ told me before the fight that we would probably lose the first round but we would come back in the second and third because she would slow down. That will probably happen again. She will come explosive in the first round, aggressive. The fact that she hasn’t fought in almost two years, I can use that to my advantage and get another win.”
In the women’s 135-pound division, no one else has burst onto the scene recently as quickly as Ketlen Vieira has. She has already gone 3-0 in the span of a year and is 9-0 overall. With her most recent submission victory over Sara McMann, she finds herself right in the thick of things among 135’s best.
The twenty-six-year-old, Vieira appears to be just one fight away from a title shot and could be hanging around the top of the division for many years to come.
“For sure I think that excites me [a title shot] but i’m trying to stay focused on Cat Zingano.
It’s a dream. I always wanted to get in the UFC but not only to fight and keep my job but to fight to become a champion. I believe i’ll possibly become a contender, especially now that Amanda [Nunes] might move up in weight. I think it’s a big possibility [that i’ll get a title shot] but my team and I are trying to stay focused on this fight first. After we win, in the octagon I will ask for a title shot.”
Vieira referenced Nunes possibly moving up to challenge the featherweight champion, Cris Cyborg in a super fight. Nunes is expected to defend her title against Raquel Pennington next at UFC 224 but prior to this, her and Cyborg were trying to work out a possible fight. Something that Vieira thinks could still happen and wouldn’t be upset about either way.
“In this era of money fights, I think it does [play a factor in Nunes wanting to move up]. She wants that. If I recall correctly, she said on TV a while ago that she didn’t want to fight other Brazilians. I don’t want to either but I respect Amanda. She was the first woman to become a UFC champion. But between her and my dream, my dream comes first. If one day we meet, i’ll always respect her but i’ll give my all for my dream. Man, I think we have to fight for our ideals. She’s aiming for something by challenging Cris Cyborg but I believe there are other challengers and other girls that deserve an opportunity to fight for that belt. But if she wants that then that’s one less step for me to move up the ladder.
In theory, I think that Cris Cyborg is a better fighter than Amanda.”
Cyborg will be headline the UFC 222 card this Saturday when she takes on Invicta bantamweight champion, Yana Kunitskaya. Vieira’s bout with Zingano will kick off the main card action.
How do you think things will shake atop the 135 and 145-pound divisions in the months to come?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/28/2018.