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Pannie Kianzad could be one win away from a title fight: “The division is wide open”



Pannie Kianzad UFC MMA 2

Pannie Kianzad. Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Swedish bantamweight Pannie Kianzad will soon be back in action after suffering a torn ACL last summer.

At UFC London on July 22, she will take on top ranked Ketlen Vieira in a pivotal fight in the stacked division.

“I was really happy that I got another shot at the No. 4 because I do think I deserve it. I’ve won five of six fights lately and I’ve been doing great. I had a tight fight with ‘Rocky’ (Raquel Pennington) and I mean shit happens, of course, but I do think that that’s where I belong,” Kianzad recently told MMA Mania.

The fight against Vieira will also be special since it’s her first in Europe since 2019.

“I’m really happy to get to fight in Europe,” Kianzad said. “I’m pretty happy fighting in the States, but if I can get a chance to fight at one of the biggest European cards – why not!”

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Pannie Kianzad: “It’s kind of like anybody’s game”

In the next few months, a large part of the division’s top fighters are scheduled for competition, which means that the bantamweight landscape can change rather quickly.

  • Champion Amanda Nunes will defend her strap against No. 5 Irene Aldana on June 10
  • No. 2 ranked Raquel Pennington will be back up for Nunes vs. Aldana on June 10
  • No. 3 ranked Holly Holm is scheduled to face No. 10 Mayra Bueno Silva on July 15
  • No. 7 ranked Pannie Kianzad will face No. 4 Ketlen Vieira on July 22

With a win against Vieira, the Swedish bantamweight puts herself right in the title fight mix.

“I think the division is wide open,” Kianzad said. “Ever since Pena beat Nunes, it’s become wide open. Even though she lost the belt, it’s kind of like anybody’s game.”

“A lot of stuff happened when I was away. I got bumped up two ranking spots when I was injured. I was No. 9 then Aspen Ladd and Sara McMann went away and I was bumped up to No. 7.”

Current bantamweight rankings

Champion: Amanda Nunes

1 Julianna Pena
2 Raquel Pennington
3 Holly Holm
4 Ketlen Vieira
5 Irene Aldana
6 Yana Santos
7 Pannie Kianzad
8 Macy Chiasson
9 Karol Rosa
10 Mayra Bueno Silva
11 Miesha Tate
12 Julia Avila
13 Norma Dumont
14 Chelsea Chandler
14 Josiane Nunes

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