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Ketlen Vieira takes solace in first career loss: ‘I needed to mature’

Ketlen Vieira suffered her first career loss in her most recent outing, but she views it as a learning experience.

Vieira (10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) was bounced out of the ranks of the unbeaten when she was stopped by Irene Aldana this past December at UFC 245.

But despite the loss, Vieira thinks she gained a lot of valuable lessons. She deemed her approach against the boxing-based Aldana as overzealous, which ultimately cost her.

“I came into the UFC without much experience,” Vieira told MMA Junkie. “Although I beat very tough opponents, I still needed to improve and mature. Last year was tough for me. I didn’t fight for a while due to a surgery I had. But that was not a factor in my first loss. I allowed emotions to take over. In all my UFC wins, I always listened to my corner. Andre Pederneiras has very sage advice. His strategy was to strike a little and then take the fight down to the mat. But I let emotions get the best of me.

“As I kept landing strikes, I could see that Irene was hurt. I became overconfident. In the end, it was a good thing. I needed to mature. All champions go through losses. I like to say that I’m like an arrow. The more you pull me back, the farther I’ll go. My one loss is mostly a positive thing. Today I’m a different fighter. I’m more complete. I’m ready for anything.”

Since the loss to Aldana, Vieira has had four straight fight cancellations. She finally draws Sijara Eubanks at UFC 253 on Saturday and has used the time away to make advancements in her game.

“I have a lot of faith,” Vieira said. “I always look at the positive side of things. Of course, it’s been difficult to get by financially. God says that we will never be left in need. The fight cancelations never discouraged me – just the opposite. It was more time for me to train and get even better. The UFC has the best fighters in the world, so we must be very well prepared to step into the cage. I like to always show improvements with each fight. Even in my loss, I was able to show improvements.”

UFC 253 takes place Saturday at Flash Forum at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and ESPN+.

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