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After upsetting Olympian Sara McMann, is Ketlen Vieira ready for a UFC title shot?

Ketlen Vieira now has a trio of UFC wins, and the latest was a biggie. Does a title shot make sense next?

It’s the question Vieira (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who was sporting a grapefruit-sized bump on her forehead, was forced to ponder after upsetting 2-1 favorite Sara McMann (11-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) on Saturday at UFC 215.

In an FS1-televised preliminary-card bout at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Vieira survived a dicey first round before pulling off a slick fight-ending submission in the second round.

Vieira now has three straight UFC wins, which included decision victories over Kelly Faszholz and Ashlee Evans-Smith. But a submission of an Olympic medalist – one ranked No. 9 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA women’s bantamweight rankings and No. 6 in the UFC rankings? That could certainly open some doors.

“I trained very hard for everything – on the top, on the ground, standup,” Vieira said through interpreter and coach Andre “Dede” Pederneiras. “But when she put me down, I felt that she was very strong. I tried some submissions, but she defended very well.”

Vieira, though, knows that if she can get through the first round, she can probably beat anyone. After training with male fighters and focusing on conditioning, the 26-year-old Brazilian said the later rounds are where she usually shines.

She also takes pride in her durability, which came in handy when her forehead started swelling mid-fight because of some McMann elbows. A lot of fighters would tap out or look for a way out.

“But I’m not like those girls,” she said.

So, what’s next?

Vieira said she’ll leave that up to her camp. Thankfully, her trainer happened to be sitting right next to her.

With a win over McMann, Vieira eliminated many of the possibilities if she’s going to take another step up in competition. Pederneiras clearly understands that.

“I think (after) one more fight, she’s ready to fight for the title,” he said. “I think so.

“But if you (book her for a title fight), for sure. … In my mind, she’s prepared to fight for the title right now.”

For more on UFC 215, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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