Both Ketlen Vieira and Requel Pennington are on fire at the moment, with Vieira beating two former bantamweight champions, Miesha Tate and Holly Holm, back-to-back and Pennington picking off four straight victories ending with Aspen Ladd in April. However, someone’s momentum has to be stopped as the two meet this weekend in the main card’s sole WMMA bout.
Both women will come in with negative betting odds, which only shows how competitive this fight should be.
- Ketlen Vieira: -115
- Raquel Pennington: -105
Ketlen Vieira is a well-rounded fighter who is dangerous everywhere, but her standout skillset is her judo and counter wrestling. As a striker, she stands in a Muay Thai stance but does her best work as a puncher, she is good technically, but any gaps in this area are made up by the whip she has to her shots and the heat she throws. She will mix up her combinations well but sometimes eat a strike to land her own, which is always a risk, just one she seems more ready to make than some more technical strikers in her division. However, she has great takedowns and throws, and even better, when defending takedowns herself she is very confident in her ability to not just stuff the attempts but to use their momentum to counter and end up on top. You will see a lot of hip tosses and slick trips from her. On top, she is especially dangerous, although if swept, she has had some trouble at getting back to her feet from bottom half guard.
Raquel Pennington is a veteran of the division to Vieira’s rising star. She has become increasingly methodical in her approach in this portion of her career and her footwork and movement has come to complement the “dog-fight” mentality and approach that brought her up earlier in her career. Often she will look to stance switch in order to create her openings moving forward and land her rear hook, especially from southpaw forcing her opponent into her switch left hook. She also has a solid jab to the body and good head movement.
In terms of grappling, her jiu-jitsu does not particularly stand out, but she utilizes it in the grand scheme of things exceptionally well. She can be called primarily a boxer, but she will shoot and maintain top position if she needs to slow down the tempo of the fight or wear down her opponents with pace and volume, her ground and pound isn’t ultimately powerful, instead she peppers her opponents with short shots to frustrate and build momentum.
Prediction and Betting Guide
I can see Vieira pressing forward but Pennington dictating when they engage with good circular movement and controlled bursts forward. She is good at breaking range with her superman punch, superior head movement and boxing. However, the danger in her blitze-esque approach is if she crashes too far in Vieira will be there to clinch and take her down, at which point I think there is a clear advantage. Likewise, Pennington will also have to worry about crashing in because of Vieira’s power shots coming down the middle, although she tends to throw more hooks and loopier punches.
I think that Vieira will take over at some point, either establishing top position on Pennington or clipping her.
Pick: Ketlen Vieira to win (-115 odds)