The Real Winners and Losers from UFC Fight Night 198

Tom Taylor@@TomTayMMAContributor IINovember 21, 2021

The Real Winners and Losers from UFC Fight Night 198

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    The under-the-radar UFC Fight Night 198 card went down Saturday in Las Vegas.

    The card was topped by a bantamweight fight between the division's former champion Miesha Tate, and Brazil's Ketlen Vieira, who has been hovering on the cusp of a title shot for what feels like centuries. Tate, the No. 8 bantamweight contender, looked to make it 2-0 after ending a long-term retirement with a win over Marion Reneau earlier this year, while Vieira, the division's seventh-ranked contender, looked to reassert herself as a top contender after a decision loss to Yana Kunitskaya in February.  

    In the end it was Vieira who succeeded on her mission, defeating Tate by unanimous decision after five rounds.

    UFC Fight Night 198 was co-headlined by an alluring welterweight scrap between No. 6 contender Michael Chiesa, and No. 14 contender Sean Brady. Chiesa entered the cage looking to rebound from a submission loss to Vicente Luque, which ended a three-fight streak. Brady, on the other hand, sought to legitimize himself as a legitimate threat to the champ Kamaru Usman with his first win over a top-10 foe.

    Brady ultimately did what he needed to do, out-grappling his experienced foe to a unanimous decision win.

    Elsewhere on the card, we witnessed impressive wins from Taila Santos, Rani Yahya and a number of other notables, for a night that, while not exactly a blockbuster, made for a decent afternoon of viewing. And as always, the B/R combat sports team has you covered with the biggest winners and losers from the event. Keep scrolling for our take. 

Loser: The Streak of Amazing UFC Events

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    UFC Fight Night 198 was not a terrible card, but with 10 decisions in 11 fights—and none of them particularly thrilling—it was hardly a home run either.

    The card's underwhelming quality was even more apparent after the UFC's last three events: UFC 267, UFC 268 and UFC Fight Night 197. All three of those events, which went down on back-to-back Saturdays, were instant classics, packed with highlight reel finishes, career-changing victories, and wild scraps

    From Glover Teixeira's late-career title win to Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington's welterweight title war to Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez's featherweight firefight, we've been pretty spoiled lately. 

    But hey, the streak had to end somewhere. On to the next one.

Loser: Late-Career Comebacks

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    When former UFC bantamweight champ Miesha Tate announced plans to return to the Octagon after a lengthy retirement earlier this year, reactions were mixed. Some felt she could still hang with the sport's top female bantamweights, others felt she was making a mistake.

    When Tate stopped Marion Reneau in her first fight back, it looked like the former party might be correct. Unfortunately for those fans, things took a turn in the second fight of Tate's comeback, which occurred in the UFC Fight Night 198 main event.

    Tate met No. 7-ranked bantamweight contender Ketlen Vieira in the card's headliner, and while she was competitive throughout the fight, Vieira was able to capture an unanimous decision win by landing the more meaningful strikes of the contest.

    From here, it's tough to say what the future holds for Tate. Whatever the case, her loss to Vieira is a reminder that late-career comebacks rarely work out. Even when the first fight goes as planned, the second rarely does.

    The whole situation was eerily similar to Urijah Faber's 2019 comeback. Like Tate, he burst back on the scene with a stoppage win over a solid name in Ricky Simon. Like Tate, he was then defeated in his next fight, getting blown out of the water by Petr Yan.

    Faber hasn't fought since that loss to Yan. Time will tell if Tate gets back on the horse after her decision loss to Vieira, or if she decides the whole comeback plan was a miscalculation.

Winner: The Other Unbeaten Welterweight Contender

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    Everybody is talking about Khamzat Chimaev, the undefeated contender storming through the UFC welterweight rankings. Yet Chimaev is not the only unbeaten fighter making noise in the division.

    In the UFC Fight Night 198 co-main event, Philadelphia's Sean Brady picked up the biggest win of his career thus far, defeating No. 6-ranked contender Michael Chiesa by unanimous decision.

    Granted, Brady hasn't shown Chimaev's predilection for first-round finishes, but he's been incredibly dominant too, as evidenced by his 15-0 overall record and 5-0 mark in the UFC. He also now has a win over a top-10 foe — something Chimaev has yet to achieve. 

    The intention here is not to suggest Brady has a brighter future than Chimaev — that remains to be seen — but it's worth remembering Chimaev is not the only new contender to keep an eye on in the division. 

    Perhaps veteran MMA reporter Adam Martin summed it up best: 

    "Sean Brady is a beast," Martin wrote on Twitter as Brady out-grappled Chiesa in Las Vegas. "Everyone's talking about Khamzat Chimaev as the division's top prospect but he's right there behind him."

Winner: Showing Up at the Right Time

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    UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko has been so dominant that it's getting very difficult to find her viable opponents. Thankfully, a new challenger has seemingly emerged — and the timing of her arrival couldn't be better.

    We're talking, of course, about Brazil's Taila Santos who, after a first-round submission of No. 5-ranked flyweight contender Joanne Wood on the UFC Fight Night 198 main card, is now a staggering 19-1 overall and seemingly making a beeline for a title shot.  

    Santos likely has some more work to do before she earns that opportunity, and when she does, she'll undoubtedly enter the cage as a significant underdog — like any flyweight brave enough to fight Shevchenko. However, she's one of the more interesting potential opponents we've seen emerge for the champ in some time. 

    And considering Shevchenko's current shortage of options, Santos' timing couldn't be better.  

Winner: Turning Back the Clock

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    Several weeks ago, in the main event of UFC 267, we watched a 42-year-old Glover Teixeira capture the UFC light heavyweight in stark defiance of father time

    Teixeira's fellow Brazilian Rani Yahya is a long way from a title shot, but he's showing a similar habit of turning back the clock. In the opening bout of the UFC Fight Night 198 main card, the 36-year-old bantamweight picked up an impressive decision win over South Korea's Kyung Ho Kang. 

    Yahya's age alone makes the win very impressive — 36 is ancient for a bantamweight. Yet the Brazilian has also been fighting forever. His first fight was way back in 2002, almost two decades ago, and here he is, still collecting wins in the Octagon.

    His days in the sport our undeniably numbered, but for the moment, he remains fully capable of fighting younger, fresher fighters — and beating them.

Loser: Cody Durden

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    Cody Durden picked up an impressive victory on the UFC Fight Night 198 undercard, defeating China's Aori Qileng by unanimous decision.

    Unfortunately, the American flyweight overshadowed his own performance with what he said in his post-fight interview.

    "I knew he was going to be tough, but I had to send him back to China where he came from," Durden said to Daniel Cormier.

    That kind of talk is never needed, particularly today, when Sinophobia is so rampant. The fighter's comments were also ill-advised, nativist connotations aside, given the UFC's ongoing efforts to crack into the Chinese market.

    Durden attempted to clear the air on Twitter.

    "Listen, the guy was disrespectful, and wouldn't shake my hand at the weigh ins," he wrote. "After beating him, I simply meant he could go home wherever that may have been. I apologize if I offended anyone, that certainly was not my intention!"

    But he did defend his comments when asked about them during the post-fight press conference.

    It's possible that Durden misspoke, or that emotions got the better of him, but there are no two ways about it: It was a terrible statement, and people aren't likely to forget it.