UFC Sao Paulo got a new main event. Now it’s going to need a new co-headliner.
Ketlen Vieira is injured and out of her women’s bantamweight contender bout with Tonya Evinger, which was scheduled for Sept. 22 in Brazil, Vieira confirmed with MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz on Monday.
Vieira said she has a knee injury and will require surgery. MMAjunkie was the first to report the news, including that the UFC is seeking a replacement to fight Evinger. Vieira said she is unsure how long she will be out.
“I’m really upset,” Vieira said. “God knows how much I wanted to fight. I’ve cried a lot, but I accept God’s decisions. If he wanted this, I accept it. I just want to recover as soon as possible to be able to come to do what I love.”
When reached Monday by MMA Fighting, Evinger was unaware that Vieira was out.
Vieira (10-0) is coming off a split decision victory over Cat Zingano at UFC 222 in March. The undefeated Manaus, Brazil native is edging closer to a title shot against champion Amanda Nunes, but this injury could set her back. Vieira, 27, remains one of the more promising young fighters in the division.
Evinger (19-6, 1 NC) is attempting to come back from a devastating knee injury of her own. The women’s MMA pioneer and former Invicta champion has not fought since her UFC debut, a third-round TKO loss to Cris Cyborg at UFC 214 in July 2017. Evinger, 37, had not lost in the six years prior to her bout with Cyborg, which was at featherweight and for the UFC title in that division.
UFC Sao Paulo is headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Jimi Manuwa and Thiago Santos, who is moving up from middleweight. Manuwa was initially slated to fight Glover Teixeira, but Teixeira was forced to withdraw due to injury two weeks ago.