An all-Brazilian battle featured on the UFC Vegas 55 main card, with strawweights Tabatha Ricci and Polyana Viana throwing down.
Things were scrappy right out of the gate, in a fight that found both ladies coming in off wins. Both fighters got their hands going early, and Ricci looked to clinch and get things down. Instead, Viana jumped into a guillotine, but when she didn’t have it, she wound up on her back. Ricci got back to her feet, and was tripped up by an upkick. That was enough for her liking; Ricci backed off and let Viana up.
On the feet, Ricci doubled up on her jab, but Viana’s striking was crisper. When Ricci closed the distance, Viana fell back on that guillotine again. As they hit the ground, Viana switched to a triangle, and worked for an arm-bar, but neither panned out. Instead, she settled with keeping Ricci in her closed guard. Viana pretty much stifled anything “Baby Shark” was able to do off her back.
In the second, the pair traded kicks; Viana landed a knee in a clinch that saw them circle around one another. Breaking out of the clinch, they clashed shins. Viana fired a low kick; Ricci would later return to the favor. Viana would fire a spinning back fist, but it didn’t land flush. The momentum would shift, however, when Ricci powered through a double-leg takedown with just over two minutes left in the round. But again, Ricci couldn’t contend with Viana’s work off her back, and wound up disengaging. She’d get back on top a moment later, however, once again finding herself in Viana’s closed guard.
Ricci and Viana would clinch up early in the third, but quickly broke. Ricci looked a little fresher than Viana in the third, but was giving up a significant advantage in size and reach. Ricci changed levels and drove Viana into the fence; Viana tried to defend with a choke, to no avail. Again, Ricci had to avoid the upkicks of Viana— she finally backed off, while Viana stayed on her back hoping her opponent would get back on top.
After the ref finally stood things up, Ricci fired a couple of quick punches, but in a scramble, landed awkwardly. She’d get Viana down again a moment later, however, in what was arguably her best round. Come the end of the fight, it was Ricci with her hand raised.
Official Result: Tabatha Ricci def. Polyana Viana by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
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