UFC on ESPN+ 56: Vieira vs. Tate Preview

Aiming to continue her climb towards a second title reign, Miesha Tate will meet Ketlen Vieira in the main event of Saturday’s UFC “Fight Night” card. The bout headlines a 12-fight show that is set to take place at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

Here’s a preview of all the action.

Click here to skip to a preview of the main card.

Preliminary Card (3:00PM EST / 12:00PM PST) (ESPN+ / TSN 2)

Bout 1: Luana Pinheiro (9-1) vs. Sam Hughes (5-3) (Strawweight)

Attempting to score her first UFC win, Sam Hughes will meet Luana Pinheiro to open Saturday’s card.

Hughes took a defeat in her two previous UFC appearances, having lost to Tecia Torres and Loma Lookboonmee over the past year.

Pinheiro won her UFC debut in May, although it came in unceremonious fashion, as an illegal upkick from Randa Markos caused their fight to end via disqualification.

Hughes took the fight on short notice, stepping in to replace Jessica Penne.

Bout 2: Shayilan Nuerdanbieke (19-7) vs. Sean Soriano (14-7) (Featherweight)

Experienced fighter Sean Soriano will return to featherweight on Saturday when facing Shayilan Nuerdanbieke.

Soriano started his second UFC run earlier this year, stepping in to face Christos Giagos at lightweight in May. He lost in that fight, getting submitted with a second-round darce choke.

Nuerdanbieke lost his UFC debut in May, dropping a unanimous decision to Joshua Culibao. Previous fights in his career include numerous appearances in China’s regional scene.

Bout 3: Cody Durden (11-3-1) vs. Aoriqileng (18-8) (Flyweight)

Both fighting for their first promotional victory, flyweights Cody Durden and Aorqileng will meet on Saturday.

Durden joined the UFC roster last year on a seven-fight winning streak. He has fought twice since then, going to a draw against Chris Gutierrez and getting submitted Jimmy Flick.

Aoriqileng lost his UFC debut in April to Jeff Molina. He had a six-fight winning streak in China before then.

Bout 4: Terrance McKinney (11-3) vs. Fares Ziam (12-3) (Lightweight)

Returning after an explosive UFC debut from five months back, Terrance McKinney will battle Fares Ziam.

McKinney won his short-notice UFC debut in just seven seconds in June, stopping Matt Frevola with strikes. This victory came just a week after he fought on an LFA card, where he picked up a victory in 72 seconds.

While Ziam hasn’t picked up a finish win in the UFC, he is showing consistency as of late. The 24-year-old lightweight has won his last two bouts, defeating Jamie Mullarkey and Luigi Vendramini.

Bout 5: Loma Lookboonmee (6-2) vs. Loopy Godinez (6-2) (Strawweight)

Continuing an incredibly busy end-of-year schedule for her, Loopy Godinez will compete this weekend when facing Loma Lookboonmee.

Godinez has fought three times since joining the UFC roster, posting one win and two losses. She was especially busy last month, securing an armbar win over Silvana Gomez Juarez then returning just a week later in a fight against Luana Carolina.

She took a fight this week on short notice, replacing Cheyanne Buys.

Lookboonmee will be hunting for her third consecutive win. Her previous performances in the streak came against Jinh Yu Frey and Sam Hughes.

Bout 6: Rafa Garcia (12-2) vs. Natan Levy (6-0) (Lightweight)

Undefeated lightweight Natan Levy will get his UFC debut on Saturday night when facing Rafa Garcia.

Levy has won six bouts since turning pro in 2018. His career was first built in LFA, where he attained five victories. He competed on the 2020 season of “Dana White’s Contender Series,” where a third-round submission victory over Shaheen Santana earned him a UFC contract.

Garcia will be attempting to break a two-fight losing streak. The former Combate Americas Lightweight Champion joined the UFC roster early this year with a flawless record of 12 wins. He has since dropped two bouts, losing to Nasrat Haqparast and Chris Gruetzemacher.

Bout 7: Tucker Lutz (12-1) vs. Pat Sabatini (15-3) (Featherweight)

The prelims are set to conclude with a featherweight contest between Tucker Lutz and Pat Sabatini.

Both fighters have yet to lose since joining the promotion.

Sabatini, a two-time CFFC Featherweight Champion, has earned two victories this year. After winning his UFC debut in April against Tristan Connelly, Sabatini picked up a quick heel hook win against Jamall Emmers in August.

Lutz won his UFC debut in May, going three rounds against Kevin Aguilar for a decision victory. He is now on an impressive 12-fight winning streak that spans nearly all of his pro career.

Main Card (6:00PM EST / 3:00PM PST) (ESPN+ / TSN 2)

Bout 8: Adrian Yanez (14-3) vs. Davey Grant (11-5) (Bantamweight)

Adrian Yanez will aim to continue his explosive UFC run on Saturday when facing Davey Grant.

Yanez has picked up three stoppage wins since joining the UFC roster last year.

His debut fight was his quickest performance in the promotion to date, needing less than three minutes to stop Victor Rodriguez with strikes. He has since also finished Gustavo Lopez and Randy Costa on UFC cards this year.

Grant had a strong three-fight winning streak snapped earlier this year, dropping a unanimous decision to high-ranked bantamweight Marlon Vera. While Grant has a smaller MMA record than Yanez, he has the experience advantage through nearly eight years on the UFC roster.

Bout 9: Joanne Wood (15-6) vs. Taila Santos (18-1) (Flyweight)

Taila Santos will fight Joanne Wood in the next part of the main card.

Santos is currently on a strong three-fight winning streak. Her last appearance was against veteran Roxanne Modafferi, who she beat on scorecards.

Wood has flipped between winning and losing in her last six, although the bouts have come against the top names at flyweight. Her last appearance saw her lose via split decision to Lauren Murphy.

Bout 10: Rani Yahya (27-10-1) vs. Kang Kyung-ho (17-8) (Bantamweight)

In a battle of two bantamweight veterans, Rani Yahya and Kang Kyung-ho will fight on Saturday night.

Kang is returning after nearly two years outside of the cage. He comes back with momentum from his last run, having scored three victories in 2019.

Yahya has fought at a high level of MMA for over a decade, competing in HERO’S and WEC along with the UFC. He secured a submission win in his most recent appearance, stopping Ray Rodriguez in March with an arm triangle choke.

Bout 11: Michael Chiesa (17-5) vs. Sean Brady (14-0) (Welterweight)

Undefeated welterweight Sean Brady will get the biggest test of his career thus far when fighting Michael Chiesa in the co-main event.

Brady, a former CFFC Welterweight Champion, has picked up four wins since joining the UFC roster. His last fight was in March, where he secured a third-round arm triangle choke submission against Jake Matthews.

UFC attempted to place Brady against Kevin Lee earlier this year, although two separate iterations of that bout fell through.

Chiesa is one of the higher-ranked fighters at welterweight currently. He took a loss in his last appearance, getting subbed by Vicente Luque in August. The bout was his first loss since moving up from lightweight.

He had a strong four-fight run before then which included a main event victory over Neil Magny from early this year.

Bout 12: Ketlen Vieira (11-2) vs. Miesha Tate (19-7) (Bantamweight)

Former champion Miesha Tate will meet Ketlen Vieira in the headlining bout on Saturday night.

Tate made her return to action in July, competing for the first time in nearly five years. Her first UFC run saw her defeat Holly Holm in 2016 to become the UFC Bantamweight Champion. After losing the belt later that year to Amanda Nunes and dropping a loss later to Raquel Pennington, Tate declared her retirement from the sport.

Tate had a successful return earlier this year, stopping Marion Reneau in the third round with ground and pound shots. Saturday’s fight has the chance to see how Tate can do against one of the better bantamweights and potentially could see how she performs in championship rounds.

Vieira has been on the UFC roster since 2016. She actually had her debut fight for the promotion just a month before Tate first retired from the sport.

Vieira’s UFC run kicked off with four consecutive wins. She had her momentum stopped in late 2019, as Irene Aldana scored a finish win over her.

While Vieira bounced back last year with a victory over Sijara Eubanks, she comes into the weekend following a decision loss she took in February against Yana Kunitskaya.

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