UFC Fight Night 206 Preview: Holm vs Vieira and the Night’s Biggest Fightsby Kole Emplit May 21, 2022 1 comment
Saturday night, one of the biggest names in women’s UFC history returns to the octagon. Holly Holm goes up against Ketlen Vieira in the main event as both competitors are inching their way towards a title shot. Holm (14-5) last fought in October 2020, where she went the distance and won by decision against Irene Aldana. Vieira (12-2) is fresh, defeating Miesha Tate by decision in November. The No. 2 and 3 contenders will square off on a tremendous fight night. What are the most exciting fights on the card?
One of the young stars and fan favorites among the UFC, Hooper makes his 2022 debut against Colares. Hooper (10-2-1) was one of the youngest fighters to compete in the UFC when he was on Season 2 of The Contender at 18 years old. He was forced to submit his last bout against Steven Peterson in June 2021. That marked Hooper’s second loss in three matches. Colares (10-3) enters the match shaky, going 2-3 in his last five contests. He most recently lost by decision to Chris Gutierrez in October.
@Stake | Sábado (21) | 17h | 📺 💻 📱 @CanalCombate ] pic.twitter.com/nsilJrekp5
— UFC Brasil (@UFCBrasil) May 20, 2022
“It’s been a wild ride, but I feel like I’m adjusting to it well,” said Hooper, who ends the most extended layoff of his career when he steps into the octagon against Colares. “I got in really young, but this will be my fifth fight, so I have the process down, I’ve figured out how to deal with the outside pressures, and I know what to expect a little more from fight week; it’s not a whirlwind like it was for the first couple.”
While Colares holds a couple of years on Hooper, they both have experience and similar fighting style, which makes for an exciting contest.
“It’s fun because I’m fighting a very similar, super jiu-jitsu-heavy guy,” Hooper said of facing Colares, who enters off a unanimous decision loss to Gutierrez and carries a 10-3 record overall. “I’m not going to have to go in there and be too worried about being knocked out or held down,” Hooper said. He’s a guy that will try to do a lot of the same things that I do; he’s a little shorter, a little less reach, and I imagine he’s not going to be crazy-big because his last couple fights have been at the weight class.”
Colares has moved back up to featherweight for this fight. He’s wild standing and not afraid to break, but his grabbling game is his most significant threat. They both have the same amount of submissions and have never been finished. It is one of the most anticipated fights in the prelims.
Njokuani (21-7) is back after his impressive UFC debut. He is long and rangy and demonstrates impressive Muay Thai. Njokuani had a 16-second knockout against Marc-Andre Barriault in his first UFC appearance and is looking to keep his momentum going in the middleweight division.
Closed out his UFC debut in just 16 seconds ⏱️[ @ChidiBangNjoku | #UFCVegas55 | Saturday | LIVE on @ESPNPlus ] pic.twitter.com/wx3eEh0TAO
— UFC (@ufc) May 19, 2022
The Nigerian-American revealed he does not watch film prior to his fights. Instead, he trusts his team to get him all the helpful information about his opponent. “I like to have an idea of what I’m going to do in a fight. I don’t want to get caught up thinking about what my opponent will anticipate,” Njokuani said. “Just want to focus on me.” He will go against another knockout artist Dusko Todorovic.
“It’s going to be a tough fight. He’s (Todorovic) not an easy opponent. I’m prepared for a three-round war, but I want to get a quick finish.”
Todorovic also came away with an impressive TKO in his last contest. “He (Njokuani) will be very tough. He’s got great movement for his height, and he’s a powerful striker,” Todorovic said. Both guys do not like to leave it to the judges, so expect some fireworks.
The highlight fight of the night will see Holm go against Vieira. Holm (14-5) last fought in October 2020, where she went the distance and won by decision against Aldana. On the other hand, Vieira (12-2) is fresh, defeating Tate by decision in November.
#UFCVegas55 | Saturday | LIVE on @ESPNPlus ] pic.twitter.com/PocoxlPYIZ
— UFC (@ufc) May 16, 2022
Holm opened up about how excited and passionate she is to return to the octagon Saturday.
“It feels good to be at a place where I can finally compete,” Holm said. “It feels great to go at it finally, and I am really excited for these nerves that I have.”
Holm is famously known for shocking the world and upsetting Ronda Rousey in 2015 to claim the UFC bantamweight championship. With a win against Vieira, she could be the top contender for the belt again.
🌎 @HollyHolm shocks the world.[ #UFCVegas55 | Saturday | LIVE on @ESPNPlus ] pic.twitter.com/U42CDq98gz
— UFC (@ufc) May 17, 2022
“I have to win regardless of what’s at stake, and I hate to lose,” Holm said. “If you lose, your options are limited, and you take a step back. I need to keep progressing forward in my career.”
Nothing is given in the UFC, including in this showdown. On the other side, Vieira is on a two-fight win streak and is one win away from a title shot. Despite being the underdog in the contest, she admires Holm and is excited to compete against a role model.
“When I get into the octagon, I have to put Holm away. It’s my job,” Vieira said. “She’s much more experienced than me and has the strength to lift her through the fight. I used my camp to prepare for anything she can throw at me.”
The highlight main event will conclude the evening as the main card kicks off at 7:00pm EDT Saturday.
Follow Kole Emplit on Twitter @KoleEmplit
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