The UFC women’s flyweight division has been picking up of late, with contenders trying to make their way up the rankings to challenge all-time great and champion Valentina Shevchenko. Of note, Viviane Araujo and Andrea Lee faced off at UFC Vegas 54 on Saturday night, looking to take another step towards UFC gold.
Araujo was coming off a decision loss to Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 262. The #8 ranked flyweight looked to get back into the win column at the UFC APEX.
Lee entered the night on a two-fight win streak with finishes over Cynthia Calvillo and Antonina Shevchenko, respectively.
With the 125-pound division starting to heat up a win at UFC Vegas 54 would be a lot more meaningful for the victor.
Within the first 30 seconds in the featured preliminary fight on Saturday, Araujo had switched stances, and clipped Lee, who dropped to a knee but immediately came back up. Moments later, Lee caught Araujo with a left, drilled her with a head kick, and pounced! She rained down hammerfists, but Araujo somehow survived.
They got back up, only for Araujo to take a bloodied “KGB” down. Lee then used a straight arm-bar to escape, holding onto it as she regained her feet. After a brief pause for the ref to retrieve a fallen mouthpiece, Lee fired a couple of kicks down the center, but had to contend with a couple of heavy punches from the Brazilian. Everything Lee and Araujo threw was with bad intentions; with 90 seconds to go in the round, Araujo took the fight down, planting Lee on her back. Lee threatened with upkicks before Araujo settled in, moving to side control.
In round two, Lee connected with an elbow, while Araujo landed a hook. Lee then changed levels, only to give up her back. Araujo quickly got hooks in, flattening her opponent out. A horrible spot to be in with over four minutes to go. Araujo sunk in an arm-triangle choke, but Lee trapped a leg, stopping her from stepping over. That was enough to allow Lee to survive, but Araujo would move to side control, and Lee gave up her back as Araujo looked for a crucifix.
As competitive as round one had been, round two was a dominant showing from Viviane Araujo. Lee was doing little more than cover up, but she was finally able to make it to a three-point stance. Araujo, high up the back, was at risk of slipping off. Instead, she managed to drag Lee back down. More punches came, as Lee covered up; the ref warned Araujo for hitting the back of the head. Lee then rolled to her back, and Araujo put on another arm-triangle choke. Lee defended that one as well, surviving the round.
Having found considerable success on the ground, Araujo took the fight there early in the third. She was soon in side control, but Lee trapped a leg, regaining half-guard. Lee scrambled to her knees, made it back to her feet, and eventually freed herself. Lee worked her jab, and front kicks. But a high kick saw her dumped on her back, and Lee again had to contend with Araujo on top of her. They’d finish out the fight on the ground, with Lee reversing and getting on top late, only to run out of time while landing ground n’ pound.
Official Result: Viviane Araujo def. Andrea Lee by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)