5 Fights We Need to See After UFC Fight Night 198
UFC Fight Night 198 went down Saturday night in Las Vegas, and while the event was a bit of a dud, it opened the door to a number of interesting matchup options.
The card was headlined by a women's bantamweight bout between rising contender Ketlen Vieira and the division's former champ Miesha Tate, who was looking to make it two in a row after emerging from retirement earlier this year. Vieira spoiled Tate's plans with a solid unanimous-decision win, setting herself up for more big challenges at 135 pounds.
In the co-main event, unbeaten welterweight Sean Brady moved to 15-0 with a decision win over Michael Chiesa. Brady is now a legitimate title contender, while Chiesa is suddenly on a two-fight skid at 170 pounds, having also recently lost to Vicente Luque.
Elsewhere on the card, we saw big wins from a number of rising stars, including Brazilian flyweight Taila Santos, Mexican strawweight Lupita Godinez and Chinese featherweight Shayilan Nuerdanbieke, all of whom can expect compelling fight offers in the near future.
Keep reading for the fights we're hoping to see after UFC Fight Night 198.
Ketlen Vieira vs. Holly Holm
Brazil's Ketlen Vieira returned to the win column in the UFC 198 main event, rebounding from a decision loss to Yana Kunitskaya with a decision win over former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate.
Vieira was ranked seventh at bantamweight heading into the fight, and in victory, should take another step up the rankings—she might even crack the top five. Wherever Vieira lands, we're hoping to see her matched up with another former champ in Holly Holm next.
Holm has been sidelined by injuries in 2021 but is riding a pair of decision wins over Raquel Pennington and Irene Aldana. She remains a mountainous test for any bantamweight on the roster and would give us a great sense of whether Vieira is deserving of a title shot.
Miesha Tate vs. Pannie Kianzad
Miesha Tate's comeback got off to a good start when she defeated Marion Reneau by TKO in the summer. Yet her momentum was slowed in the UFC Fight Night 198 main event, when she was battered and bloodied by Ketlen Vieira en route to a unanimous-decision loss.
From here, it's possible Tate will re-retire, but in a post-fight statement, she said she " had fun" and is "happy to enjoy these moments." So maybe we'll see her again.
If we do—and we're hoping that's the case—we would like to see her matched up with Pannie Kianzad.
Kianzad is sitting at No. 13 in the bantamweight rankings and, like Tate, is riding a tough decision loss, having come up short against Raquel Pennington in September. The fight makes plenty of sense and would make a great co-headliner for a future Fight Night.
Sean Brady vs. Thompson-Muhammad Winner
Sean Brady improved to 15-0 in the UFC Fight Night 198 co-main event, out-grappling the always tough Michael Chiesa to a unanimous-decision win.
The victory over Chiesa, who was perched at no. 6 in the welterweight rankings heading into the matchup, should send the 14th-ranked Brady rocketing toward the top of the division. And because he's still so new to the top 15, he's fought few ranked fighters, meaning he has a bevy of fresh and exciting matchups to look forward to.
You could do no wrong matchmaking for the welterweight top-15 right now, but we're hoping to see Brady matched up with the winner of the upcoming fight between former title challenger Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson and tireless contender Belal Muhammad, which is set to go down December 18.
The fight makes sense from a rankings standpoint, and Brady suggested it himself post-fight.
"I think the winner of Belal and Wonderboy would be fun," Brady told the media at the event's post-fight press conference. "I don't know what they're both ranked, but I know they're in the top 10. I know the rankings come out on Tuesday. I'm sure I'm going to land somewhere in the top 10. Then yeah, we can go from there."
Give the man what he's asking for. He's earned it.
Taila Santos vs. Chookagian-Maia Winner
It's arguable that nobody made more of a statement at UFC Fight Night 198 than rising flyweight Taila Santos. The Brazilian's first-round submission win over No. 5-ranked contender Joanne Wood—formerly known as Joanne Calderwood—was impressive enough on its own, but she shone all the brighter because hers was the only finish of the 11-fight event.
After her show-stealing submission over a top-five foe, Santos is likely only a win away from a flyweight title shot. We're hoping to see her chase that career-changing opportunity against the victor of an upcoming fight between No. 2-ranked contender Katlyn Chookagian and No. 4 contender Jennifer Maia, scheduled for January 15.
Chookagian and Maia are very good but are effectively gatekeepers at the moment, having both recently lost to dominating flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko. A win over either woman would prove that Santos is ready to challenge the champ. If she wins impressively, people might even give her a fighting chance against the titleholder.
Shayilan Nuerdanbieke vs. Charles Rosa
Shayilan Nuerdanbieke asserted himself as one of the top young fighters from China on the UFC Fight Night 198 undercard, defeating Sean Soriano by unanimous decision.
The win got Nuerdanbieke, who specializes in Kazakh wrestling, back on track after a decision loss to Joshua Culibao in his UFC debut earlier this year. Being so new to the UFC, he has boundless matchup options, but we're hoping to see him matched up against American veteran Charles Rosa.
Rosa is riding a loss to Damon Jackson but would make a great test for a prospect like Nuerdanbieke. And as luck would have it, he called for the fight via Twitter the moment Nuerdanbieke was announced the winner.
Throw these featherweight grapplers on a Fight Night undercard and let the suplexes and scrambles commence.