Former UFC champion Holly Holm is more known for her dynamic striking. But on Saturday at UFC Vegas 55 against Ketlen Vieira, “The Preacher’s Daughter” fought at a slower, grinding pace, pushing her opponent against the fence and controlling her for stretches.
Ultimately, it was Vieira who was awarded the split decision to win the mark the biggest win of her career. And according to her, Holm’s chosen strategy may have played a role in how the judges saw the fight.
“I think she was doing more of an‘ antigame, ’we use that term for soccer,” Vieira said via a translator at the post-fight press conference (via MMA Fighting). “That’s what she was doing, she was basically trying to neutralize me.
“She was just pressing me against the cage but nothing was happening, she just wanted me to stop fighting and I think the judges actually saw that.”
There was a point in the fight where Vieira had Holm in what appeared to be an airtight standing arm triangle. Holm eventually got out, but the Brazilian claimed she felt a “light tap” from her opponent.
“I felt pretty good about that and I thought that she was actually doing a light tap,” Vieira said. “I saw the ref come in close and when I looked over to see him coming close that’s when I think she took the opportunity because I looked away from what was going on and she escaped me.
“But God’s plans, they can’t be denied.”
From her end, the 40-year-old Holm felt she had done enough to win four rounds out of five.
“I thought I won the fight,” she told Daniel Cormier during the Octagon interview. “I gave her round two, and I felt like I won all the rest of the rounds.
“I always feel like I need to do more and be more perfect, but I really felt like I won the fight. I don’t feel like it was a question. ”
The loss to Vieira broke Holm’s two-fight win streak as she dropped to a record of 14-6. Vieira, meanwhile, notches her own two-fight win streak as she improved to a win-loss slate of 13-2.