- MMA columnist for ESPN.com
- Analyst for “MMA Live”
- Covered MMA for Las Vegas Sun
LAS VEGAS — Former UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate proved she can still fight earlier this year when she returned from a five-year retirement to defeat Marion Reneau in July. But we’ll find out tonight if she can still fight with the best.
Tate (19-7) looked terrific in that third-round finish over Reneau, but tonight’s matchup against Ketlen Vieira (11-2) is a different kind of situation. Reneau retired immediately after the loss to Tate, which was her fifth in a row. Vieira, on the other hand, is still very much in the prime of her career. She turned 30 earlier this year and is 5-2 in the UFC, with losses to only ranked talent in Yana Kunitskaya and Irene Aldana.
If Tate is able to get through Vieira, things would immediately get very interesting for the Las Vegas-based contender. Potential rematches against Holly Holm and even current double champion Amanda Nunes aren’t far off, especially with a finish.
Follow along as Brett Okamoto recaps the action as it happens in Las Vegas or watch the fights on ESPN+.
Men’s featherweight: Shayilan Nuerdanbieke (20-7, 1-1 UFC) def. Sean Soriano (14-8, 0-2 UFC) by unanimous decision
Nuerdanbieke is big on takedowns, and wrestling has been a problem for Soriano in past fights, so the path to victory for the Chinese fighter was clear. But, as it turned out, not so easy.
Soriano showed improved takedown defense early on, keeping the fight standing, where he had an edge. But Nuerdanbieke was relentless in his pursuit of takedowns, and in gaining dominant positions when the fight was on the canvas, and that propelled him to the win (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Nuerdanbieke, 27, has won three of four, while Soriano, who is 32 and fights out of Boca Raton, Florida, has lost two in a row.
Strawweight: Luana Pinheiro (10-1, 2-0 UFC) def. Sam Hughes (5-4, 0-3 UFC) by unanimous decision
Pinheiro won her eighth in a row by starting strongly and cruising the rest of the way.
The 28-year-old Brazilian had two big takedowns in the first round, and after being unsuccessful on takedown tries in Round 2, she floored Hughes with punches late in the round. After fending off her opponent in the third, Pinheiro was the winner on all three judges; scorecards (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Hughes, who is 29 and from Everett, Washington, has lost three in a row and four of our last five.
Fight in progress:
Men’s flyweight: Cody Durden (11-3-1, 0-1-1 UFC, -155) vs. Aori Qileng (18-8, 0-1 UFC, +130)
Still to come:
Women’s bantamweight: Ketlen Vieira (11-2, 5-2 UFC, -110) vs. Miesha Tate (19-7, 6-4 UFC, -110)
Welterweight: Michael Chiesa (18-5, 11-5 UFC, +145) vs. Sean Brady (14-0, 4-0 UFC, -170)
Men’s bantamweight: Rani Yahya (27-10-1 1 NC, 12-4-1 1 NC UFC, -105) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (17-8 1 NC, 6-2 1 NC UFC -115)
Women’s flyweight: Joanne Wood (15-6, 7-6 UFC, +270) vs. Taila Santos (18-1, 3-1 UFC, -340)
Men’s bantamweight: Davey Grant (13-5, 4-4 UFC +250) vs. Adrian Yanez (14-3, 3-0 UFC, -310)
Men’s featherweight: Tucker Lutz (12-1, 1-0 UFC, +100) vs. Pat Sabatini (15-3, 2-0 UFC, -120)
Lightweight: Rafa Garcia (12-2, 0-2 UFC, -125) vs. Natan Levy (6-0, 0-0 UFC, +105)
Strawweight: Loma Lookboonmee (6-2, 3-1 UFC, +140) vs. Loopy Godinez (6-2, 1-2 UFC, -165)
Lightweight: Fares Ziam (12-3, 2-1 UFC, -120) vs. Terrance McKinney (11-3, 1-0 UFC, +100)
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