A pair of top-ten ranked women’s bantamweights faced off on the UFC London preliminary card on Saturday, as Pannie Kianzad faced off with Ketlen Vieira.
The number four ranked Vieira was not far removed from being considered a title hopeful, and still have plenty of time to work her way to gold in a division wide open thanks to the retirement of Amanda Nunes. TUF 28’s Kianzad, meanwhile, had won five of her last six fights.
After a bit of stand-up work, it was Vieira getting the fight down about 90 seconds in, with the Brazilian in half-guard. Kianzad worked her way towards the fence, but Vieira was able to keep her off of it, turning her opponent and staying heavy on top. Kianzad would reclaim full guard, but she’d come out of the round on a down note, with Viera on top and in control for most of it. Whether the judges rewarded the early stand-up work remained to be seen.
Almost immediately in round two, Vieira put Pannie Kianzad on her back once again. And again, Vieira flirted with side control, instead settling in half-guard, though Kianzad managed to reclaim guard briefly. Miles away from the fence, Kianzad was forced to contend with elbows to the body, and an Americana attempt. Heading into the third, things were not looking positive for Pannie.
Round three, rinse and repeat. Kianzad found herself on her back in the opening minute. Vieira’s top game had proven strong, and desperate to regain her feet, Kianzad gave up her back. Vieira took advantage, getting hooks in, and later a body triangle. With three and a half minutes remaining, it didn’t look as if Kianzad was going to pull off any sort of comeback. Worse, she had to contend with Vieira hunting for a rear-naked choke. Kianzad would hang on to the final bell, but the winner in this one was clear.
Official Result: Ketlen Vieira def. Pannie Kianzad by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)