May 22—Judging an MMA fight is incredibly difficult — so many factors to weigh, so little time.
Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada, two of three official judges decided Ketlen Vieira's stinging counter right hands outweighed Holly Holm's dominance in the clinch — giving Brazil's Vieira a victory by split decision over Albuquerque's Holm in the five-round bantamweight main event of a UFC Fight Night card at UFC Apex.
The defeat was a costly one for Holm (14-6), for whom a victory might well have meant a UFC bantamweight title shot later this year. Instead, that title shot might well go to Vieira (13-2).
Calmly, but with obvious disappointment,, Holm questioned the outcome afterward.
"I gave (Vieira) round 2, and I feel like I won all the rest of the rounds," she said.
"I always feel like I can do more, be more perfect. But I really feel like I won the fight. I don't feel like it was a question."
Holm, 40, said she wasn't ready to plot a future.
"I thought I won the fight, so now I've got to figure out what's gonna happen. One step forward and one step back is how it usually goes."
Not only did Holm have a massive advantage in clinch control, post-fight statistics showed her with an edge in total and significant strikes. Vieira's only advantage was in strikes to the head.
Judge Sal D'Amato scored the fight 48-47 for Holm, giving the Albuquerque southpaw rounds one, three and five.
It was round three that tipped the decision into the win column for Vieira.
Judges Michael Bell and Derek Cleary scored the third for the Brazilian, favoring Vieira's strikes over Holm's clinch control.