Tate-Vieira scrap could have impact on Holm - Albuquerque Journal

Tate-Vieira scrap could have impact on Holm

Albuquerque’s Holly Holm, right, trades blows with Miesha Tate during their March 2016 fight in which Tate took the bantamweight title that Holm had won from Ronday Rousey the previous November. Tate is scheduled to face Ketlen Vieira on Saturday in a fight that could be of importance to Holm.
AP Photo/Eric Jamison

Six years ago on Sunday, Albuquerque’s Holly Holm upset Ronda Rousey in stunning fashion to become the UFC bantamweight champion.

Since then, through wins and losses, injuries and illnesses, Holm’s focus has been on regaining the title she lost to Miesha Tate the following March.

Her path might become a tiny bit clearer on Saturday, when Tate faces Brazil’s Ketlen Vieira in the main event of a UFC Fight Night card in Las Vegas, Nevada.

From a Holm perspective, time would seem of the essence. She turned 40 on Oct. 17. She’s 4-5 since the Rousey fight. Her last two fights have fallen through by no fault of her own, yet at the same time on her tab.

A scheduled fight against Julianna Peña on May 8 was canceled when Holm needed surgery to correct a congenital bladder/kidney disorder called hydronephrosis. She was to have faced Norma Dumont on Oct. 16, a day before her 40th birthday, but was forced to pull out because of meniscus damage.

When Tate ended a 4 1/2-year retirement with a victory over Marion Reneau on July 17, she and Holm both embraced the idea of a rematch of their March 2016 title fight. Holm was ahead on all three official scorecards that night when Tate secured a rear-naked choke midway through the fifth round and won by technical submission.

Later, however, Tate (19-7) said she wasn’t ready to face Holm again and opted for Vieira (11-2). If Tate was looking for a tuneup, she came to the wrong place; odds-makers list the fight as a virtual tossup.

There could be a lot riding on the outcome for Holm (14-5).

If Tate wins, the stage would appear to be set for the big rematch. The winner, given both fighters’ status as former champions, might well go to the front of the line for a title shot, regardless of who wins when champion Amanda Nunes faces Peña on Dec. 11. Nunes will be a prohibitive favorite. But if Vieira beats Tate, then the bantamweight picture would become more muddled than it already is.

UFC President Dana White has made it clear he’s looking for new blood when it comes to a challenger for Nunes. That’s why Peña, who has never fought Nunes, is going directly to a title shot after her fight against Holm fell through.

Germaine de Randamie, the No. 1 challenger, has lost to Nunes twice – and has refused to consider a rematch with Holm, whom she defeated in controversial fashion for the inaugural UFC featherweight title in February 2017. Holm, No. 2, has lost to Nunes once, and badly, by first-round TKO.

Vieira looked like a prospect until she was upset by Yana Kunitskaya, Holm’s former Jackson-Wink teammate, in February. Mexico’s Irene Aldana was looking good until Holm thrashed her en route to a win by unanimous decision in October 2020.

Holm’s problem, then, appears to be threefold. She’s lost to Nunes, she hasn’t fought in 13 months and counting, and she’s 40.

A Tate rematch, assuming “Cupcake” can get past Vieira on Saturday, might be just the career boost Holm needs.

If Tate loses, the rematch could still happen – but with considerably less relevance.

A GOOD WEEKEND: Albuquerque’s Jackson-Wink MMA, as per gym manager Michael Lyubimov, went 4-0 the past weekend.

On Friday, as previously reported, featherweights Aaron Pico (9-3) and Arlene Blencowe (15-8) won their fights impressively on Bellator 271 in Hollywood, Florida.

Saturday, welterweight Khaos Williams (13-2) won his fight on a UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas. Williams defeated Miguel Baeza (10-2) by third-round TKO.

For good measure, J-W amateur Nick Gjelaj (5-0) won an International Kickboxing Federation Southwestern regional title in Kingman, Arizona on Saturday.


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