Welcome to the UFC: Ketlen Souza

Ketlen Souxa, UFC Vegas 74 weigh-in
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 02: Ketlen Souza of Brazil poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at UFC APEX on June 02, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The UFC is back in the Apex this Saturday for UFC Vegas 74, headlined by flyweights Kai Kara-France and Amir Albazi. On the women’s side, there’s another standout flyweight in action, as former Invicta FC 125lb champ Ketlen Souza makes her promotional debut against Karine Silva.

Ketlen “Esquentadinha” Souza
Standing at five-foot-three
Fighting at 125 lbs (flyweight)
Fighting out of Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
Training out of Team Felipe Rego
A pro record of 13-3
8 KO/TKOs, 1 Submission

How will Souza fare in the UFC:

It was only a matter of time before the UFC signed up Souza after winning the Invicta FC flyweight title. Souza is a veteran that’s fought at strawweight, flyweight, and bantamweight and has won titles in all three weight classes. She’s been performing better since moving up to 125 as she’s 4-0 in the division.

The best way to describe Souza is a compact striker that’s very explosive. Watching her fights she looks different every time she competes. Sometimes she’s light, bouncing around the cage and sometimes she’s planted, throwing in the pocket. I like the way she flows on the outside using feints and footwork to get on the inside. A lot of the time she’s going to have issues closing the distance because she’s only 5’3″. Souza is actually the shortest fighter in the division.

Souza throws some heat with her hands throwing hooks and body shots. Her problem is most of the time she’s throwing single strikes instead of putting her hands together. At times she will throw in flurries and that’s when she’s most dangerous. Being at that height disadvantage it is tougher for her to get off combinations before she’s in the pocket too long. Souza is super explosive. You will see her often throw a flying knee and she loves to throw the wheel kick. Souza does a good job staying unpredictable and it’s why she has eight knockout/TKO victories.

Defensively Souza has been durable for the most part but she still needs a lot of work. Her takedown defense needs work but her striking defense is her biggest issue. She will get picked apart from the range with straight punches and the jab. In the past, she was vulnerable to leg kicks barely checking at all. She’s exciting and will give the fans some fun fights but has too many challenges to ever be a top 15 flyweight. Her career trajectory and fighting styles remind me a lot of fellow Brazilian Denise Gomes.

How she matches up with Karine Silva:

Silva is 1-0 in the UFC after winning a contract on the Contender Series. Silva is a jiu-jitsu player that’s a big submission threat. I’d imagine the plan is to take Souza down. Silva doesn’t have the best wrestling but being a former bantamweight I’d say she could take Souza down.

Souza has the advantage on the feet because Silva will stand in front of her and tends to let whoever she’s fighting to set the pace. This is a tough fight to call and I think it can go so many ways. The way I’m predicting is Souza being able to win minutes on the feet with her striking. I believe against a more stationary opponent Souza will be able to let it go more and set the tone.

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