Morning Report: Coach: Holly Holm ‘easily won’ against Ketlen Vieira, says current judging is ‘not fair to the fighters’

Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Judging and scoring in MMA has been quite a hot topic among the community following Holly Holm’s split-decision loss to Ketlen Vieira this past Saturday night in the UFC Vegas 55 main event.

For a headliner bout that a lot of fans seemed to hate on beforehand, it sure has resulted in plenty of heated opinions and conversation. In most cases, there’s been the strong belief that one side rightfully won over the other with those on Team Holm claiming robbery. In reality, it was a close fight that does create an interesting look into the criteria with Holm outstriking and controlling Vieira throughout their five rounds, but Vieira did more damage and got closer to finishing.

Now, even just saying that it can be interpreted as the fight was scored as a whole, which it wasn’t. Fights in the UFC are scored round by round which always can make stat arguments a little funny specifically when mentioning total strikes landed over the entire fight’s span.

When it comes down to those closest involved in the action that night, however, Vieira’s coach Andre Pederneiras told his fighter heading into the fifth that she was down three rounds to one. While Coach Mike Winkeljohn on the other side agreed and thought they had things in the bag.

“When it went to the scorecards, we were already planning our celebration,” Winkeljohn told “We were a tad disappointed we didn’t get the finish but there were a lot of things that were going on behind the scenes, but I still thought we easily won the fight. Definitely expecting a win and was just shocked we lost. When we heard a split decision, I thought one judge was just a goofball and the third judge would get it right, but nope that didn’t happen. After the fight you saw Holly and Ketlen’s reaction, fighters know, corners know who really won, and you heard your corner in between rounds. That’s all I can say, I’m just disappointed because it’s not fair to the fighters.”

Controversial decisions aren’t at all new in combat sports but in the minds of many, there have only been more and more in these recent years. So much so that earlier in the night, there was a good argument to be made for Eryk Anders in his split-decision loss to Park Jun-Yong.

Surely, some adjustments to overall officiating will be made in MMA eventually. It’s just a matter of when, as the UFC isn’t even 30 years old yet, after all.

“Some judges don’t understand that body kicks and leg kicks take their toll and people don’t give them enough credit, it’s a shame,” Winkeljohn said. “It’s a shame because you are talking about a potential title shot and in my mind was win this one and then get a title shot and after that maybe she (Holm) gets into boxing and gets that Katie Taylor fight. What a great way to end her career and all that got taken away from now at least from some guys watching something else.”


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I don’t believe in the thought that open scoring eliminates any drama from a fight result. It actually creates a different variation by allowing a losing fighter to know and have the option to further adjust their gameplan to do everything they can to win. As for the worry of coasting, we already see that anyway and it sometimes costs the fighters who think they’re winning but they aren’t. Invicta FC has been using open scoring for about a year and a half now or so and this hasn’t at all been something to complain about. Admittedly, their event number sample size has still been relatively small.

Ultimately, coasting and only “fighting to win” comes down to risking half your paycheck in the UFC. If Dana and friends just got rid of win bonuses and increased the base pay, you wouldn’t have to worry about such things and fighters would be hunting the performances bonuses even more than they already do. In theory, of course… We know that will never happen anyway.

Thanks for reading!


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