America's Holly Holm endured a frustrating evening in Las Vegas on Saturday night, ending up on the wrong side of a split decision against Brazil's Ketlen Vieira.
The main event of UFC's Fight Night 206 saw 40-year-old Holly Holm take on No.6 rated bantamweight Vieira, and despite landing more shots and significant strikes, the judges sided with Vieira after five gruelling rounds.
The cards went 48-47 across the board, but with two judges crucially siding with Vieira, Holm added another defeat to her record, taking it to 14-6-0.
But the decision was met with a lot of controversy, after the former bantamweight champion landed more strikes (188-122) and significant strikes (96-85), while also being credited with 10:04 control time and a knockdown in the fourth round.
Holm herself admitted that Vieira deserved to win the second round, after the Brazilian came close to submitting her with a standing rear-naked choke. Remarkably, Holm managed to escape the submission, and avoided further attempts from Vieira.
But while Holm was happy to concede one round to her opponent, she struggled to believe that the judges had crowned Vieira the winner.
"I felt she had Round 2, but at the end of the fight, I truly felt in my heart that I had won the fight," Holm said afterwards.
"So, I'm disappointed. I really don't give her three rounds."
The win takes Vieira's record to 13-2, edging the Brazilian closer to a title shot.
There was further drama earlier in the evening, with the co-main event of Michel Pereira against Santiago Ponzinibbio in a welterweight clash producing plenty of fireworks.
Pereira raced forward, piling the pressure on Ponzinibbio from the opening round. It cleary caught the attention of the judges, and the Brazilian earned himself the win after a split decision [29-28, 30-27 and 28-29].
The victory extended Pereira's winning streak to five fights, with the 28-year-old now boasting an impressive 28-11-0 record.