The judges disagreed with the former bantamweight champ. Mike Bell and Derek Cleary both scored the fight 48-47 for Vieira, while Sal D’Amato had it 48-47 for Holm. Bell and Cleary determined the outcome with Viera getting the nod by split decision.
Following the fight, Holm vented her frustration about what she perceived as flippant scoring, which in turn cost her the win.
“It’s just frustrating, because I think a lot of times these judges haven’t been through a training camp and see what you put on the line, and then when it comes short, just because they decide, ‘Well maybe I’ll throw this round here or this round there,’” Holm said on the UFC Vegas 55 post-fight show. “I don’t agree with them. I’m pretty upset with them.
“I know it’s a hard position to be in, to be the judge, you have to make that decision right there, but I felt like I won.”
In Holm’s mind, she won four rounds to Vieira’s one. She believes the Brazilian won Round 2 after nearly locking up a rear-naked choke while they were scrambling for position coming out of a takedown attempt.
A lot of the fight was spent in the clinch with Holm controlling the majority of the action, though Vieira definitely landed a lot of damaging shots with her strikes in the moments when action stayed near the center of the octagon.
While there were plenty of close encounters throughout, Holm couldn’t understand how anybody would give Vieira three out of the five rounds on the scorecards.
“I felt like she had round two but at the end of the fight, I truly felt in my heart that I won the fight,” Holm said. “So I’m disappointed.
“I really don’t give her three rounds. You would have to give her three rounds to win the fight. I don’t really give her three rounds. But I always want perfection on my side so I want to make it so clear that there’s not even a question but I really felt like I won the fight.”
Holm took responsibility for the lack of damage she was able to dish out from the clinch, which is where she arguably had her best moments during the 25-minute battle. That still doesn’t mean she felt like Vieira did that much more, or at least nowhere enough to justify the scores that helped her secure the victory.
“I wanted to be more damaging there,” Holm explained. “Yeah, there was the punches and I could hold her there, and she’s usually really good with her trips off the cage and stuff like that. She got me off of my feet a couple times, but that’s her game, and I was able to shut it down. But I still wanted to be more damaging in those areas.
“After round two, I felt like it was 1-1 and I was like we’re starting a whole new fight right now and we’ve got to win the rest of this.”
In the end, Holm dropped a split decision, and now she has to reconcile with the defeat while figuring out her next step after initially believing a win could have earned her another shot at UFC gold.
“It’s a loss now,” she said. “I’ve got to be able to be back, be better and not ever let it be a question.”