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UFC 222 results: Ketlen Vieira earns decision over Cat Zingano

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Ketlen Vieira continues her surge up the bantamweight division.

The Nova Uniao product from Manuas, Brazil, put in a dominant performance against Cat Zingano on Saturday night at UFC 222. The judges scores were a pair of 29-28s for Vieira and a bizarre 29-28 for Zingano, resulting in a split decision.

That put the undefeated Vieira (10-0) at 3-0 in the UFC and gave her consecutive wins over former bantamweight title challengers in Zingano and Sara McMann.

Zingano (9-3) came out aggressively in the opening round, which was her best round, as she found success in close, particularly with knees in the clinch. But by round’s end, Vieira seemed to figure Zingano out, as she punctuated the round with a nice trip of Zingano and had things going her way.

Vieira put on a show in the second round, dropping Zingano from the outset with a beautiful throw, then spent the bulk of the round working from top position.

Zingano, who now trains at Alliance MMA, is legendarily tough, and she came out swinging in round three. But she also hurt herself when Vieira checked a kick and Vieira once again ended up in top position. Zingano eventually scrambled back to her feet and was game until the final horn, but it wasn’t enough.

“I love Cat Zingano, she is an amazing fighter,” Vieira said through an interpreter. “I knew this would be difficult for me, but I have so much confidence in my abilities.”

Zingano has now dropped three straight fights, with her last victory coming over current bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes back at UFC 178.