Holly Holm vs. Ketlen Vieira Odds, UFC Pick & Prediction: 2 Ways to Bet Fight Night Main Event (Saturday, May 21)
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: Holly Holm & Ketlen Vieira
- In the Main Event of UFC Fight Night on Saturday from the APEX, 40-year-old Holly Holm will duel 30-year-old Ketlen Vieira in a Women's Bantamweight bout.
- Since 2013, when there's a nine-year age gap between UFC combatants, the younger fighter has won 67.4% of the time.
- So, how is Sean Zerillo approaching this fight? See his two picks below.
Holly Holm vs. Ketlen Vieira Odds
A future title challenger could emerge from Saturday’s main event between former champion Holly Holm and No. 5 ranked Ketlen Vieira.
Holm is fighting for the first time since October 2020, when she handily defeated Irene Aldana in a five-round Main Event.
Vieira, who previously lost to Aldana via first-round knockout, enters off of a five-round victory over Miesha Tate in her first-ever Main Event or five-round fight.
Below I’ll provide my analysis and projections for Saturday’s matchup.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||17:04||14:16|
|Weight (pounds)||135 lbs.||135 lbs.|
|Date of Birth||10/17/81||8/26/91|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||3.16||3.07|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||2.80||4.07|
|Take Down Avg.||0.81||1.71|
The 30-year-old Vieira is an entire decade younger than the 40-year-old Holm. And while Holm looked better than ever in her last fight and still appears to be in peak physical condition, there’s always a possibility that any athlete falls off of a cliff in their late thirties or early forties.
I mentioned it last week for the Blachowicz-Rakic fight. Still, it’s worth reiterating: Since 2013, when there’s a nine-year age gap between UFC combatants, the younger fighter has won 67.4% of the time (311-150) at average odds of -133 (57.1% implied); more than 10% over expectation.
And there’s a significant difference between a 39-year-old Light Heavyweight like Blachowicz and a 40-year-old Bantamweight like Holm. Speed means everything in the lighter weight classes, and losing a fraction of your speed or athleticism could mean the difference between a dominant fight and a competitive bout.
Skill for skill, Holm has Vieira covered nearly everywhere in this matchup. The former boxing champion (and veteran of 38 professional bouts) has developed a well-rounded MMA game after over a decade in the sport. She’s the rare fighter who is seemingly making improvements at the late stage of her career.
As you would expect, Holm has excellent hands, but her kicking game, clinch work, and overall grappling have improved substantially. She can put a pace on opponents (outlanded Aldana 154-69 over 25 minutes), mix in takedowns (landed 5 of 14 takedowns against Aldana; with five minutes of control time), or grind opponents up against the cage.
Her effort against Raquel Pennington at UFC 246 was imposing. Holm beat Pennington at her own game by pressing her up against the cage for half the fight (7:16 of control time) and landing short strikes while killing the clock.
Against Vieira, Holm can likely stay outside the cage, play matador, and pick Vieira apart for 25 minutes.
To win the fight, Vieira likely needs multiple takedowns (averages 1.7 per 15 minutes on 46% accuracy). And she needs to keep Holm on her back for extended stretches of the fight.
Holm offers sturdy first-level takedown defense (76% career). Still, once opponents put her on her back, they can keep her there — and Vieira is solid on top.
Vieira lost a fight to Yana Kunitskaya despite landing three takedowns and spending more than half the bout (8:38) and over four minutes in two separate rounds in control positions.
She mostly held the position, and barely landed strikes (seven significant, 35 of 51 overall), while Kunitsakya (215 of 247) never stopped throwing volume off her back.
Vieira missed weight for that fight and seemingly clung on for dear life, getting out-struck 55-9 in Round 3 despite 4:14 of top control. She lost the decisive round unanimously.
And while she showed cardio concerns, Vieira kept Kunitsakya flat on her back and could have swung the fight with slightly more activity.
Every takedown against Holm could be a round in Vieira’s favor. Still, she will absorb many strikes on the feet, exert energy trying to chase Holm down, and potentially empty her gas tank trying to get this fight to the mat multiple times.
Vieira isn’t a traditional wrestler. She has an array of judo throws and trip techniques from the clinch, but Holm’s clinch game has leveled up substantially — as evidenced by her showing against Pennington.
Vieira may be able to take Holm down once or twice. Still, three or more takedowns seems like a stretch, particularly with her cardio concerns.
As a result, even if Vieira wins one or two of the first three rounds with top control, I expect Holm to work her way back into the fight late. Despite being the older fighter, she’s shown an ability to sustain a ridiculous pace — and her intensity — for 25 minutes.
A late Holm finish seems like a distinct possibility, regardless of how the early stages of the fight play out.
Holm vs. Vieira Pick
I projected Holm as a -266 favorite (72.7% implied) in this matchup, and I show little value on her moneyline relative to current odds.
Still, I’m not interested in laying the juice, especially considering her advanced age and the tendency for significantly younger fighters to outperform their odds against older opponents.
Moreover, I projected this bout to go the distance 70% of the time (-233 implied), and I don’t see value on the total or any winning method props.
However, given the cardio concerns for Vieira and her potential issues getting to the final bell — along with Holm’s tenacity to put a stamp on her fights — I took a poke at Holm to win in Round 4 (+2800) or Round 5 (+3500) at WynnBET and DraftKings, respectively.
Combining Holm’s moneyline with the odds for the fight to go the distance, one would expect the fair odds for Holm by decision at around -104 (51% implied), which is almost exactly where I set my projection (-103).
Although that’s the likeliest outcome for the fight, you still have to pay -110 (52.4% implied) — or higher — to bet that prop. I would take a chance on the late finish at far longer odds.
The Pick: Holly Holm wins in Round 4 (+2800, 0.05u at WynnBET) | Holly Holm wins in Round 5 (+3500, 0.05u at DraftKings)
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