Pennington (15-9 MMA, 12-5 UFC) extended her streak on Saturday with the split decision victory over Vieira (13-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) in a critical bout for the weight class. The scorecards were 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28.
— UFC (@ufc) January 15, 2023
The women’s bantamweight bout was part of the UFC Fight Night 217 main card at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
The first round was competitive, with Pennington trying to use her boxing but taking some damage in the process. Vieira’s seemingly landed the better strikes to the head overall, though, but Pennington remained very much in it.
Pennington proved as much in the second round. She utilized pressure and clinch work against the fence to slow down Vieira’s movement. That was her bigger advantage through the stanza, and that tipped the momentum on her side heading into the final round.
Both women got their shots in over the course of the third round. The striking exchanges and clinch work were both largely even, but Vieira managed to eat up a lot of the final two minutes on the clock with standing back control.
Pennington, who unsuccessfully challenged Amanda Nunes for the women’s bantamweight title in May 2018, has put the pieces together in recent years. The division doesn’t have many options to fight Nunes, and Pennington thinks she’s put in the work to get another shot.
“That’s five straight wins,” Pennington said during her post-fight interview with Paul Felder. “It’s time to give me my respect. I deserve it.”
Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 217 results include:
Raquel Pennington def. Ketlen Vieira via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Umar Nurmagomedov def. Raoni Barcelos via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 4:40
Javid Basharat def. Mateus Mendonca via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Abdul Razak Alhassan def. Claudio Ribeiro via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 0:28
Mateusz Rebecki def. Nick Fiore via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Allan Nascimento def. Carlos Hernandez via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:16
Daniel Argueta def. Nick Aguirre via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Charles Johnson def. Jimmy Flick via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 4:33
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 217.