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An emotional Ketlen Vieira repeatedly apologised to UFC legend Miesha Tate during a heartfelt embrace after her win on Saturday.
Tate, who initially walked away from MMA in 2016, made a stunning U-turn on her retirement back in March and defeated Marion Reneau in her comeback fight in July.
The 35-year-old American star returned to the octagon at UFC Fight Night 198 in the headline slot against Vieira.
Tate went the full five rounds against her opponent at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, but she sustained heavy punishment from Vieira.
Vieira defeated Tate by unanimous decision in their women’s bantamweight clash, but she wasted no time in embracing her opponent after her hand was raised.
Footage has since emerged of the 30-year-old Brazilian MMA fighter telling Tate that she is “sorry” on more than one occasion.
Tate, who is holding a towel to the injuries on her face, can be heard telling Vieira that “it’s okay” and comforts her in a classy exchange.
“That's sportsmanship. You get in the ring, fight your fight, and when all is said and done, win graciously and honour your opponent,” one fan tweeted.
Someone else posted: “This really shows her heart.”
A third Twitter user wrote: “Sometimes it's really beautiful to see a young competitor face their hero.”
Tate was taken to hospital after the five-round fight with Vieira, but she later broke her silence on social media.
The future UFC Hall of Famer wrote on Instagram Stories: “Hey we had fun tonight!! I still feel like I evolved and in truth I was never tied to an outcome.
“Just happy to enjoy these moments. Thank you as always for the support and congratulations [Vieira].”
Speaking after the UFC Fight Night 198 clash, Vieira said it was a dream to have been in the main event against a legend of the sport.
“I've always dreamed about being in a main event against a legend,” she said.
“To be able to live that moment and get a victory, I don't have words to express.”
Tate’s hopes of setting up a women’s bantamweight title shot with former rival Amanda Nunes appear to have been dashed after her defeat to Vieira.
The UFC legend lost the women’s bantamweight title in a first-round submission defeat to Nunes at UFC 200 in 2016.
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