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UFC Vegas 55: Ketlen Vieira ekes out controversial split-decision win over Holly Holm

"I’m next. I’m ready. I’m here."

To some fans, Ketlen Vieira rightfully emerged from UFC Vegas 55 Saturday night with the split-decision win, while to others, opponent Holly Holm was robbed.

The five-round main event contest was tough to score, except for a round two Vieira standing rear-naked choke on Holm, which came close to a finish.

The judges scored it 47-48, 48-47, and 48-47 for Vieira.

Along with the keep-away striking, Holm used the clinch tonight to control Vieira, but did not score much damage overall, which could have been the deciding factor for the judges. In fact, the judges posted similar scores for the opening bout for the Tabatha Ricci vs. Pollyanna Viana bout earlier in the night.

With the win, Vieira (13-2-0) now has three straight victories, including two over former champions. The fight goes into the record books as a victory for her, but with such a narrow win, it’s difficult to say if she will enter the top 5 in the rankings. But it didn’t stop her from asking for a title shot against champion Julianna Pena.

Meanwhile, Holm (14-6-0) returned to the octagon tonight after a 19-month layoff and despite her face looking visibly damaged with her nose bleeding, disagreed with the outcome. “I thought I won the fight,” she said to Daniel Cormier in the post-fight interview. “I gave her Round 2, and I feel like I won all the rest of the rounds. I always feel like I can do more and be more perfect, but I thought I won the fight. I don’t feel like it was a question.”

Nunes and Pena are scheduled to meet in their rematch at UFC 277 on July 30. Certainly by then, we will know where Vieira will be rankings wise and if she will be the front runner for the next title shot.

Michel Pereira and Santiago Ponzinibbio earned Fight of the Night, while Chidi Njokuani and Chase Hooper earned performances of the night. Each fighter earned a $50,000 USD bonus.

Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the main card. In case you missed the prelims:

SAM HUGHES DEF. ELISE REED VIA TKO R3 3:52

CHASE HOOPER DEF. FELIPE COLARES VIA TKO (PUNCHES) R3 3:00

JONATHAN MARTINEZ DEF. VINCE MORALES VIA UD (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

UROS MEDIC DEF. OMAR MORALES VIA TKO (PUNCHES) R2 3:05

JAILTON ALMEIDA DEF. PARKER PORTER VIA SUBMISSION (RNC) R2 3:05

JOSEPH HOLMES DEF. ALEN AMEDOVSKI VIA SUBMISSION (RNC) R1 1:04

MAIN CARD 

ERYK ANDERS VS. PARK JUN-YONG

WINNER: PARK JUN-YONG VIA SD (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: ERYK ANDERS VIA UD 

Andrews: Anders let another one slip away.

POLYANA VIANA VS. TABATHA RICCI 

WINNER: TABATHA RICCI VIA UD (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: POLYANA VIANA VIA SUBMISSION

Andrews: Viana is surging right now and has an 100 per cent finish rate. Ricci is good but lost to her biggest name opponent. I’ll take the surging Viana.

Andrews Prediction: Polyana Viana via submission

CHIDI NJOKUANI VS. DUSKO TOROVIC

WINNER: CHIDI NJOKUANI VIA KO (ELBOW) R1 4:48

ANDREWS PREDICTION: CHIDI NJOKUANI VIA TKO

Andrews: Wow! Chidi with the Macho Man Randy Savage elbow!

#14 SANTIAGO PONZINIBBIO VS. MICHEL PEREIRA 

WINNER: MICHEL PEREIRA VIA SD (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: MICHEL PEREIRA VIA SUBMISSION

Andrews: Wow! That was a tough fight. Pereira needs to fight like this going forward.

MAIN EVENT 

#2 HOLLY HOLM VS. #6 KETLEN VIEIRA

WINNER: KETLEN VIEIRA VIA SD (47-48, 48-47, 48-47)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: HOLLY HOLM VIA UD

Andrews: Holm and her camp failed to recognize the judges were looking for damage. Holm didn’t do enough of it and Ketlen did. Good win for Vieira and I have to credit the judges as well. Clinching without doing damage is not good enough.

The next UFC event is UFC Vegas 56, which is scheduled for June 4 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Heavyweights Alexander Volkov and Jairzinho Rozenstruik clash in the main event.

@kenaiandrews

KenaiAndrews
KenaiAndrewshttps://www.mmacrossfire.com
Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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