Ketlen Vieira will be without her legendary coach Andre Pederneiras at UFC 253 on Saturday night after he tested positive for Covid-19 for a second time in the space of just a few months.
The 53-year-old Pederneiras, a former UFC fighter himself and founder of the Nova Uniao gym in Brazil, had already tested positive for Covid back in May after experiencing many of the symptoms of the disease, but it’s now been claimed that it turned out to be a false-positive.
Now Pederneiras has become the first person ever to get a positive result for the virus while actually on Fight Island, receiving the news after a test upon his arrival there.
Pederneiras is believed to be suffering from minor cold-like symptoms including a fever and feeling weak, but according to Vieira is, “ok.”
Surprisingly, it’s also emerged that unlike the last Fight Island trip, this time fighters from Brazil didn’t fly directly from their home country after being tested for the virus. Instead they had to take a commercial flight to London, England first, before then heading to Abu Dhabi.
Given that Brazil is known to be one of the world’s biggest hot-spots for the virus (recording over 33,000 positive cases yesterday alone, as well as more than 800 deaths) that seems like a surprising risk to take.
However, as far as Vieira goes, she didn’t have any contact with Pederneiras during her own travels to Fight Island and as such she is still cleared to fight Sijara Eubanks on Saturday night.
It does mean that she will only have one person cornering her though, Marcos Galvao.
“It’s going to be the two of us against the world,” Vieira said. “We went through a lot to get here, several issues. I’ll only have one corner on the fight, so I just want to leave with my hand raised.
“[Pederneiras’ situation] only motivates me to go there and make him prouder.”