Fighting the idea of Miesha Tate.
Chael Sonnen believes that Ketlen Vieira performed exceptionally well against Miesha Tate. In the earlier rounds of the Vegas bout, however, he feels like she might have been shocked by the idea of fighting such an iconic figure of the sport.
“I felt as though, with Ketlen Vieira, the lights were a little bit too big I think in that opening round it might have been the most obvious but more like seven, eight, nine minutes in, she was fighting the idea of Miesha Tate.”
As the result would later show, Vieira picked up the quality a bit more and Sonnen was particularly impressed with how well she did, especially in the championship rounds.
“Once she just settled in and started fighting the person in front of her… she started to flow a little bit and that fifth round would be a great example.
“Ketlen Vieira had never been in championship rounds and the fact that she could get to them, let alone hold dominate the fifth round… she looked very good.”
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 21, 2021
A contenders division
While her performance against Miesha Tate was impressive, a division with a particularly dominant champion leaves many looking for a title shot. While Sonnen isn’t saying Vieira will get a title shot immediately, he believes a win over a big name should put her into contention.
“When you’re at 135lbs you are non-stop in a contenders division. Just like 125, that is absolutely controlled by ‘The bullet’ [Valentina Shevchenko], 135 is absolutely controlled by ‘Queen Amanda’ [Nunes]
“Who’s going to be next? It’s a constant game of musical chairs. Many people have similar records but they don’t have name recognition.
“That’s what Miesha brought to the table and I believe she’s one or two wins away from being right back in there but now Ketlen Vieira’s getting a little bit of rub. She gets a little bit of shine.
“I do not submit for you that Ketlen Vieira is going to go right into a title shot. [But] I do submit for you that she will go right into the conversation of a title shot which is where you first have to be.”