40-year-old fighter Holly Holm's toughness was on display when she escaped a horrible choke in round 2

40-year-old fighter Holly Holm's toughness was on display when she escaped a horrible choke in round 2
Ketlen Vieira attempts to beat Holly Holm with a rear-naked choke Saturday at the UFC Apex.Photo by Getty Images
  • Teak tough Holly Holm survived a second-round submission attempt that made her face red.
  • Holm lasted the five-round distance but protested the result when her opponent was named as winner.

LAS VEGAS — Ketlen Vieira looked like she was squeezing Holly Holm with a rear-naked choke that was so tight the American's face was reddening by the second.

It is a testament to Holm's toughness that she was able to gut it out let alone escape the second-round submission attempt before surviving the full five rounds of a UFC bantamweight fight Saturday at the Apex in Las Vegas.

Holm didn't look comfortable at all in the second round, but fought commendably for the rest of a fight that was difficult to score.

Holm landed 188 of her 263 total strikes — significantly more than Vieira's 122 from 190, though the Brazilian scored more damage, including a brilliant spinning elbow, and secured a takedown from her seven attempts.

The second-round chokehold was no doubt the main talking point of the actual match, but that highlight was overshadowed by narrow scores which yielded a controversial win for Vieira.


It was a win Holm immediately pushed back on during her post-fight interview.

"I thought I won the fight," said Holm. "I gave her round two, 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."

Vieira, meanwhile, believes the judges may have looked at Holm's tactics in a negative light.

"I came here to knock her down," Vieira said. "She came here to stall. She's the 'Preacher's Daughter,' but I had the glory of God here."

Added Vieira: "She's a great boxer, and because of that my camp was planned for me to actually grab onto her.


"But she came [to grapple] tonight and that was confusing to us. But I knew that God was gonna help me on this night."

Earlier in the show, one UFC fighter scored a sickening elbow strike knockout

40-year-old fighter Holly Holm's toughness was on display when she escaped a horrible choke in round 2
Holly Holm felt robbed when the results were announced and Ketlen Vieira had won by split decision.Photo by Getty Images

Victory advanced Vieira's pro MMA record to 13 wins (two knockouts, four submissions, and seven decisions) against two losses.

Earlier on the card, a UFC fighter looked like he didn't know where he was after getting hit with Chidi Njokuani's elbow in one of the nastiest knockouts of the year.

Elsewhere on the main card, Jun Yong Park edged Eryk Anders, Tabatha Ricci out-pointed Polyana Viana, and Michel Pereira earned a split decision over Santiago Ponzinibbio.

The UFC prelims were entertaining as they featured a grotesquely swollen shin, the sound of brutal blows, and an MMA prospect on the rise.


UFC takes a week-long hiatus before returning June 4 with a UFC Fight Night event at the Apex in Las Vegas. Alexander Volkov will meet Jairzinho Rozenstruik in the main event.