Albuquerque MMA fighter Holly Holm weighed in at 135.5 pounds Friday for her bantamweight main event against Ketlen Vieira on Saturday (5 p.m., airing on espn+) at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Vieira, from Manaus, Brazil, weighed 136 pounds. The bantamweight limit is 135 pounds, but one pound over the limit is allowed for non-title fights.
THE MATCH-UP: Holm, who has been fighting as a kickboxer, boxer and MMA fighter for more than 20 years, turned 40 in October. His MMA record is 14-5. She is 7-5 in UFC competition.
Vieira, 30, is 12-2 overall and 6-2 in the UFC.
The two, physically, are an almost perfect match. Holm is 5-foot-8 with a reach of 69 inches. Vieira is also listed at 5-8, with a reach listed at 68 inches. Video from Friday’s weigh-in, as they came face to face for the traditional pose, confirmed they were virtually identical in height.
THE STORY: 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).
He’s another fighter, however, whose experience with Saturday Holm’s two fighters finds possible use.
In February 2021, Vieira lost to Russian Jana Kunitskaya via unanimous decision. Kunitskaya is a former teammate of Holm’s at Jackson-Wink MMA in Albuquerque and is a fighter Holm knows well.
“I feel like there are some things you can watch (from the Vieira-Kunitskaya fight),” Holm told the Journal in a Thursday phone interview. “I 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 this fight (against Vieira), but as far as Ketlen and I are concerned, they are just two different styles and it will be a totally different fight.
JW BRAIN TRUST: Honeymoon Greg Jackson, half of the managers and owners, married on Sunday and will not work on the corner of Holm on Saturday. But Mike Winkeljohn, the other half of the team and Holm’s head coach for more than two decades, will be there.
Joining Winkeljohn, primarily a striking trainer, will be wrestling trainer Izzy Martinez and jiujitsu trainer Roberto “Tussa” Alencar.
NEVER SAY NEVER: Holm told espn.com’s Brett Okamoto this week that she would be interested in returning to the boxing ring if given the opportunity.
There are reasons to think that might be the case.
“I think I’m going to do both,” Holm, a multiple-time world boxing champion (33-2-3 in the ring) who was recently 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 previously reported in the Journal, Lenny Fresquez, Holm’s longtime Albuquerque promoter, has spoken more than once with Brian Peters, manager of undefeated Irish boxer Katie Taylor, about the possibility of a Taylor-Holm fight. .
There is certainly nothing imminent. Holm intends to regain the UFC bantamweight title she lost to Tate in 2016; he has one fight left after Saturday on his current contract with the UFC.
Taylor’s immediate future will most likely include a rematch against Amanda Serrano, whom Taylor defeated by split decision in a thrilling lightweight title fight on April 30.
Even so, the thought persists.