Albuquerque MMA fighter Holly Holm weighed in on Friday at 135.5 pounds for her bantamweight main event against Ketlen Vieira on Saturday (5 p.m., streamed at espn+) at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Vieira, of Manaus, Brazil, weighed in at 136 pounds. The bantamweight limit is 135 pounds, but one pound above the limit is allowed for non-title fights.
THE MATCH-UP: Holm, who has been fighting as a kick-boxer, a boxer and an MMA fighter for more than 20 years, turned 40 in October. Her MMA record is 14-5. She’s 7-5 in UFC competition.
Vieira, 30, is 12-2 overall and 6-2 in the UFC.
The two, physically, are a near-perfect match. Holm stands 5-foot-8 with a reach listed at 69 inches. Vieira is also listed at 5-8, with reach listed at 68 inches. Video of Friday’s weigh-in, as they went nose to nose for the traditional pose-off, confirmed they’re virtually identical in height.
THE HISTORY: Holm and Veira have two previous opponents in common, both with a 1-1 record. Holm defeated Irene Aldana (unanimous decision) and lost to Miesha Tate (5th-round technical submission, rear naked choke). Vieira defeated Tate (unanimous decision) and lost to Aldana (first-round knockout).
It’s another fighter, though, whose experience with both of Saturday’s combatants Holm finds of possible use.
In February 2021, Vieira lost to Russia’s Jana Kunitskaya by unanimous decision. Kunitskaya is a former teammate of Holm’s at Albuquerque’s Jackson-Wink MMA and is a fighter whom Holm knows well.
“I feel like there are certain things you can look at (from the Vieira-Kunitskaya fight),” Holm told the Journal in a phone interview on Thursday. “I’ve trained with this person. I know what their strengths and weaknesses are, how they were able to do (what they did with Vieira).
“But at the end of the day, styles make fights. … I can see what Jana was able to do with her strengths in that fight (vs. Vieira), but as far as myself and Ketlen, it’s just two different styles and it will be a totally different fight.”
J-W BRAIN TRUST: Honeymooning Greg Jackson, one-half of the leadership and ownership, got married on Sunday and won’t be working Holm’s corner on Saturday. But Mike Winkeljohn, the other half of the team and Holm’s primary coach for more than two decades, will be there.
Joining Winkeljohn, primarily a striking coach, will be wrestling coach Izzy Martinez and jiujitsu coach Roberto “Tussa” Alencar.
NEVER SAY NEVER: Holm told espn.com’s Brett Okamoto this week she’d be interested in a return to the boxing ring should the opportunity present itself.
There’s reason to think it might.
“I think about doing both,” Holm, a many-time world boxing champion (33-2-3 in the ring) who recently was announced as an inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, told Okamoto. “… Why not (actively hold titles in two sports)? I think that sounds fantastic.”
As earlier reported in the Journal, Lenny Fresquez, Holm’s longtime Albuquerque promoter, has spoken more than once with Brian Peters, manager of unbeaten Irish boxer Katie Taylor, about the possibility of a Taylor-Holm bout.
There’s certainly nothing imminent. Holm is intent on regaining the UFC bantamweight title she lost to Tate in 2016; she has one fight remaining after Saturday on her current UFC contract.
Taylor’s immediate future most likely will include a rematch against Amanda Serrano, whom Taylor defeated by split decision in an exciting April 30 lightweight title bout.
Even so, the thought lingers.