Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate will look get one step closer to a title fight in Saturday’s main event, facing Ketlen Vieira in a five-round bout. The matchup headlined a 12-fight card from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Follow along throughout the evening for updates on the event.
Preliminary Card (3:00PM EST / 12:00PM PST) (ESPN+ / TSN 2)
Main Card (6:00PM EST / 3:00PM PST) (ESPN+ / TSN 2)
Bout 11: Ketlen Vieira (11-2) vs. Miesha Tate (19-7) (Bantamweight)
Vieira Takes Close Decision Win Over Former Champ Tate
Ketlen Vieira picked up a big win in Saturday night’s main event, prevailing in a striking battle over former champ Miesha Tate for a unanimous decision victory (48-47, 48-47 & 49-46).
Tate had a higher output of strikes than Vieira at times, although it was Vieira that landed with more accuracy and did a higher level of damage. Vieira warmed up late in the fight, engaging in fire-fights with Tate on the feet.
Vieira was successful with her right hand during the fight, connecting often with crosses, hooks and uppercuts with the hand.
Damage started to show on the face of Tate in the fourth and fifth rounds, as she started to bleed heavily and get swelling on her face.
The fight on Saturday was Vieira’s first UFC main event bout. She was coming off a loss against Yana Kunitskaya from earlier in the year.
Tate, a former UFC Bantamweight Champion, came out of retirement earlier this year. Competing for the first time in nearly five years, Tate defeated Marion Reneau with a third-round stoppage outcome in July.
Bout 10: Michael Chiesa (17-5) vs. Sean Brady (14-0) (Welterweight)
Undefeated Brady Goes Three Rounds Against Chiesa, Takes Earns Biggest Win of Career
Sean Brady extended his undefeated record to an impressive 15 fights, defeating veteran Michael Chiesa via unanimous decision in a big step-up bout in Saturday’s co-main event (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
Brady out-wrestled Chiesa for most of the fight, getting him down in every frame and taking a dominant position after. He took a lead after two rounds, although he had to endure late trouble from Chiesa.
Chiesa attempted a late comeback, throwing a quick pace of punches early in the third round. A stunned Brady was able to stop Chiesa’s momentum with a takedown attempt, eventually getting him to the ground.
Brady has now won five bouts since joining the UFC roster in 2019. He secured a submission win in a showing earlier this year, defeating Jake Matthews with an arm triangle choke.
Brady didn’t call out any names after the fight, although he mentioned he wants to headline a UFC card next.
“I want to prove I can go five rounds with a top 10, top five guy,” said Brady in his post-fight interview. He also threw out the idea of UFC returning to the state of Philadelphia, USA.
Chiesa was submitted in his prior bout, having lost to Vicente Luque in August. He had a strong four-fight winning streak at welterweight before then.
Brady is now one of four fighters on the UFC roster that has an undefeated record of 15-or-more wins.
Bout 9: Joanne Wood (15-6) vs. Taila Santos (18-1) (Flyweight)
Santos Secures First-Round Submission, Continues Flyweight Campaign
Taila Santos scored a big win on the main card, finishing Joanne Wood in the first round with a rear naked choke after hurting her on the feet.
Santos first dropped Wood in the first round with an overhand right. She floored her again shortly after with another punch, keeping the fight on the ground that time.
Santos went to the ground and took the back of Wood after the second knockdown, applying a rear naked choke that eventually caused a tap.
The victory continues Santos’ strong climb up the 125-pound division currently. She has won four consecutive bouts in the division, with the three previous bouts being scorecard victories.
Wood lost her previous bout as well, dropping a split decision in June against Lauren Murphy.
Bout 8: Rani Yahya (27-10-1) vs. Kang Kyung-ho (17-8) (Bantamweight)
Yahya Shuts Down Striking of Returning Kang With Grappling Skills
Veteran Rani Yahya picked up his second win of the year on Saturday night, using his strong grappling skills to defeat the returning Kang Kyung-ho with a unanimous decision result (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
Kang succeeded early with his striking, being able to hurt Yahya with punches for the first five minutes. Opportunities for the striking of Kang became unavailable in the second and third rounds, as Yahya was quick to score takedowns and absorb control time for most of the rounds.
Yahya secured a submission win earlier in the year, submitting Ray Rodriguez with a triangle choke in March.
Kang was competing for the first time since 2019. He entered the bout with a strong three-fight winning streak from before his absence.
Bout 7: Adrian Yanez (14-3) vs. Davey Grant (11-5) (Bantamweight)
Yanez Goes The Distance For Fourth UFC Victory
Adrian Yanez went the distance for the first time in his UFC career, defeating Davey Grant via split decision after a three-round striking battle (30-27 Grant, 29-28 Yanez & 29-28 Yanez).
Yanez got the best of a fast-paced striking battle on the feet. Grant wore the damage from strikes significantly more than Yanez, having a bruised and bloodied face by the end of the first round.
The split decision result was questioned by many, including Yanez during his post-fight interview.
Yanez’s three previous UFC wins all came via stoppage due to strikes. This includes wins from earlier this year against Gustavo Lopez and Randy Costa.
Grant is now on a two-fight losing streak. His previous loss came against high-ranked bantamweight Marlon Vera.
Bout 6: Tucker Lutz (12-1) vs. Pat Sabatini (15-3) (Featherweight)
Former CFFC Champ Sabatini Earns Third UFC Win
Pat Sabatini extended his UFC winning streak in the final prelim, using his wrestling and grappling skills to control Tucker Lutz for all three rounds (30-26, 30-27 & 30-27).
The fight on Saturday was Lutz’s first loss since his 2015 pro debut. He won his UFC debut in his prior bout, defeating Kevin Aguilar in May.
Bout 5: Rafa Garcia (12-2) vs. Natan Levy (6-0) (Lightweight)
Garcia Earns First UFC Victory, Hands Undefeated UFC Newcomer Levy First Loss
Rafa Garcia spoiled the UFC debut of Natan Levy, handing him his first pro loss in a unanimous decision result (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
Garcia used takedowns to control Levy throughout the fight, getting him to the ground in each frame. While Levy is known for his grappling, he failed to challenge Garcia with any submissions on the ground.
Levy was making his UFC debut after a successful performance on the 2020 season of “Dana White’s Contender Series.” He entered the weekend with a flawless record of six pro wins.
The fight was a potential must-win bout for Garcia. The former Combate Americas Lightweight Champion had lost his two previous UFC bouts earlier in the year, getting defeated by Nasrat Haqparast and Chris Gruetzemacher.
Bout 4: Loma Lookboonmee (6-2) vs. Loopy Godinez (6-2) (Strawweight)
Godinez Uses Takedowns To Defeat Lookboonmee, Secures Second Win In Two Months
Short-notice opponent Loopy Godinez swept scorecards on the prelims, defeating Loma Lookboonmee to continue an incredibly busy end of year schedule (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).
Godinez used takedowns to control the Muay Thai expert throughout. Godinez remained active when the fight hit the ground, throwing punches and sometimes attempting submissions.
The win was Godinez’s third appearance in just two months. She appeared twice in October, resulting in a submission win and a decision loss. Her promotional record is now an even two wins and two losses.
Her fight on Saturday was replacing Cheyanne Buys, who had to withdraw from the card earlier this month due to a positive COVID-19 test.
Bout 3: Cody Durden (11-3-1) vs. Aoriqileng (18-8) (Flyweight)
Durden Scores First UFC Win
Cody Durden prevailed in a close battle against Aoriqileng to win via unanimous decision and earn his first UFC victory (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
Durden’s striking took him to a victory over Aoriqileng after three rounds of battle.
Durden’s two previous UFC bouts resulted in a draw and a submission loss.
Aoriqileng was coming off a loss he took against Jeff Molina earlier in the year.
Durden’s post-fight interview ended on an awkward, problematic note, as he said he sent Aorqileng “back to China where he came from.”
Bout 2: Shayilan Nuerdanbieke (19-7) vs. Sean Soriano (14-7) (Featherweight)
Nuerdanbieke Uses Wrestling For First UFC Win
Shayilan Nuerdanbieke used wrestling to earn his first UFC victory, defeating veteran Sean Soriano via unanimous decision on the prelims (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
Soriano had a good opening round using his striking. However, his short lead in the fight was taken way in the following rounds, as Nuerdanbieke used wrestling to ground him for the majority of that time.
Both fighters entered Saturday’s card fighting for their first victory in the promotion.
Nuerdanbieke lost his UFC debut earlier this year, losing a unanimous decision to Joshua Culibao.
Soriano started his second run in the promotion in May, getting stopped within a round by Christos Giagos.
Soriano is now winless through five UFC fights in his two campaigns with the promotion.
Bout 1: Luana Pinheiro (9-1) vs. Sam Hughes (5-3) (Strawweight)
Pinheiro Takes Second UFC Win, Goes The Distance Against Hughes
Luana Pinheiro displayed her striking skills in the opening bout, out-landing Sam Hughes for three rounds to secure a unanimous decision win (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).
Pinheiro got the lead early on, out-landing Hughes by a large amount. The best part of her fight was late in the second round, where she dropped Hughes with a series of punches.
Pinheiro now has two wins in the UFC octagon.
She didn’t get to showcase her skills much in her UFC debut earlier this year, as an illegal upkick by opponent Randa Markos made their fight end in the first round via disqualification.
COVID-19 Protocols Force McKinney vs. Ziam Off Card
Saturday’s prelims lost a bout this morning, as a positive COVID-19 test took a fight between Terrance McKinney and Fares Ziam off the card.
McKinney mentioned in a social media statement that a cornerman of his tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the fight out of the lineup.
“Someone in my corner got Covid and they were forced to cancel my fight,” said McKinney via Twitter. “Sorry y’all, I appreciate all the support and love. We’re workin hard to get the fight rescheduled ASAP.”
McKinney was returning after an explosive seven-second knockout win in his UFC debut earlier this year.