The controversy came during the opening round when both fighters stepped in to throw a strike and the top of Daukaus’ head came crashing into Holland, who was immediately stunned and knocked to the ground. Replays showed it was an accidental clash of heads but Holland took the brunt of the blow and was left defending himself from strikes and submissions after referee Dan Miragliotta saw the foul but decided not to pause the action.
Moments later, Daukaus locked up a standing rear-naked choke and Holland was forced to tap out due to the submission. Upon further review, Miragliotta opted to declare the fight a no-contest due to the clash of heads that directly led to the finish, but that doesn’t make Holland feel any better about the result.
“I never thought about a no-contest,” Holland said during the UFC Vegas 38 post-fight press conference. “I’m not that type of person. As far as I’m concerned, he knocked me out and choked me out in one fight. If it was a street fight, he would have got the job done.
“I mean kung-fu first, defend yourself at all times. I didn’t defend myself from the headbutt, that’s my fault.”
The rapid-fire sequence moved so quickly that Holland doesn’t remember much of what happened until the fight was already over.
“I believe [I was knocked out],” Holland said, “because I know for f*cking sure I didn’t get taken down. All of a sudden I feel a motherf*cker on my back, so yeah, had to be flash [knocked out] for a second.
“I felt myself a little dizzy on the ground. I felt a little harder to breathe in the choking situation. I figured I was pretty f*cked up in that situation.”
The bizarre ending wasn’t really anybody’s fault, which Holland acknowledged when he addressed Daukaus’ performance and how he was able to wrap up the submission prior to the result being announced as a no contest.
Daukaus complained about the decision because he argued if the fight had continued yet Holland stormed back for a knockout, the result would not have been changed.
Holland actually agreed with that assessment, which is why he couldn’t really take a shot at Daukaus for feeling like he was somehow robbed of a victory on Saturday night.
“Props to Kyle. Kyle did a good job,” Holland said. “I’ve never headbutted anybody and knocked anybody out. I headbutted a security guard in high school and got kicked out of high school. I mean just be happy you’re not getting kicked out of the UFC as far as I’m concerned.
“Like I said, props to Kyle. I’m not the type of person that complains about anything. He did a good job and he’s right — if I would have got up, I would have knocked him out. I would have been on ESPN, he’s 100 percent right.”
As far as what comes next, Holland said he spoke to Daukaus backstage and he hopes they’ll be able to finish what they started with a rematch in the near future.
Of course, the UFC will make the final call on that matter but Holland would definitely like the opportunity to face Daukaus again after an unsatisfying conclusion to their co-main event fight.
“I want to run it back,” Holland said. “I want to run it back right now. I want to run it back on anybody that’s ever got the better advantage of me.
“We’re going to fight again. He wants to wait until after his brother’s fight [against Derrick Lewis on Dec. 18]. I want to fight on the same card as his brother. It’s funny how that works out. That’s what we said in the back. It’s in their court. I’m that type of guy. I feel like he did a good job. He did what he’s supposed to do. So ball’s in his court until the ball’s not in his court anymore.”