In the Clinch - Miesha Tate is coming for Ketlen Vieira, UFC Vegas 43In the Clinch - Miesha Tate is coming for Ketlen Vieira, UFC Vegas 43In the Clinch – Miesha Tate is coming for Ketlen Vieira, UFC Vegas 43UFC bantamweight Ketlen Vieira is in pretty much the same position featherweight Yair Rodriguez was last week.

The No.7 Vieira (11-2-0), 30, faces the surging former champion and current No. 8 Miesha Tate (19-7-0), 35, in the main event of UFC Vegas 43 Saturday.

Vieira has lost two of her last three bouts. Her best win was submission win over Sara McMann at UFC 215 in September 2017. She did edge past Cat Zingano but that seems like ages ago.

Vieira’s ranking is on the line and despite being younger and having the tools to beat Tate, including takedown defense, can she mentally prepare to shut down the “Cupcake”?

Meanwhile, Tate is rolling since her return to the octagon. She retired Marion Reneau in July and as a mother of two, she has more to fight for this time around. Her formidable experience and grappling are big weapons.

It would be interesting if a rejuvenated Ronda Rousey returned to battle this version of Tate. I still admire their first UFC battle at UFC 168 in December 2013, but I do think that anything less than a supremely confident Rousey loses this time around to Tate.

But I digress.

This fight should be Tate’s first real test towards making a run at the title. A big loss could sink everything. Anything else could delay it a lot longer than she’d like. So, I expect Miesha to be careful early but ramp up the aggressiveness rather quickly.

Can Vieira’s exceptional takedown defense hold up against the likes of Tate? She will have the striking advantage so she needs to keep it standing for as long as she can.

We have seen enough of Tate to know she will come prepared. It’s up to Vieira to put her recent skid behind her and step up Saturday, just like “El Pantera” did.

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