Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Bantamweight veterans take center stage this Saturday morning (June 17, 2017) when former division champion Holly Holm takes on former title challenger Bethe Correia in the main event of UFC Fight Night 111, which takes place inside Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore, and will stream live online via Fight Pass.
In the co-feature, Marcin Tybura looks to continue his rise through the Heavyweight ranks against Andrei Arlovski, while “Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim takes on Colby Covington and Tarec Saffiedine faces Rafael dos Anjos at Welterweight.
Okay, 4:30 a.m. ET may have been too early for the first batch of “Prelims undercard matches (read preview here), but how about 6 a.m.-ish? Check out what the slightly less-early birds have to look forward to below:
155 lbs.: Takanori Gomi vs. Jon Tuck
Once seemingly on the verge of a resurgence with a 3-1 run -- the sole loss a garbage decision against Diego Sanchez — Takanori Gomi (35-12) enters Saturday’s bout on the longest losing streak of his career. “Fireball Kid” has been stopped in the first round three straight times, most recently by Jim Miller back in Sept. 2016.
He stands three inches shorter than the 5’11” Jon Tuck (9-4).
“Super Saiyan” rebounded from the broken toe that ended his The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15 run to win three of his first five UFC bouts, including a bonus-winning submission of Tae Hyun Bang in Manila. He has since lost consecutive split decisions to Josh Emmett and Damien Brown, the latter of which saw several media observers score it for Tuck.
Tuck — who has never been stopped — has knocked out and submitted four foes apiece.
Look, I’m the biggest Gomi fan on this site and even I know how this one’s going to go. Gomi’s going to land a couple of jabs and body shots, just enough to get some hope a-brewing, and then Tuck’s going to take him down and beat him to a pulp. The only thing I’m unsure of is whether Tuck will decide to pound him out or just lock up the rear-naked choke.
Gomi’s submission defense has never been elite and he no longer has the takedown defense to compensate. Tuck’s iffy gas tank isn’t enough for me to pick the fading Fireball, no matter how much my heart wants to. Tuck takes a couple of hard punches before dragging him to the mat and securing the early finish.
Prediction: Tuck via first-round submission
265 lbs.: Cyril Asker vs. Walt Harris
After a loss to top Irish prospect Karl Moore in his third professional fight, Cyril Asker (8-2) went on to win five straight, submitting UFC vet Ruan Potts and winning the EFC Heavyweight title one fight later. Jared Cannonier gave him a rude welcome to the world’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization via first-round knockout, but Asker evened up his UFC record in January with a first-round technical knockout of Dmitry Smolyakov.
He will give up three inches of both height and reach to Walt Harris (9-5).
Winless in his first three UFC appearances, Harris finally got over the hump with a knockout of “Lookin’ for a Fight” product Cody East, only to drop a split decision to Shamil Abdurakhimov soon after. Undaunted, he took on fellow hulk Chase Sherman in January and unleashed one of the year’s most brutal finishes.
All nine of his wins have come by knockout, eight of them in the first round.
I will be very, very surprised if Harris doesn’t tear Asker to pieces. The big man looks to finally have gotten his game together and his power and speed are legitimately frightening. Asker’s game, no doubt, but he’s also slow and easy to hurt. He simply doesn’t have the technique to pick apart Harris at range the way Abdurakhimov did or overwhelm him on the mat the way Jared Rosholt and Soa Palelei did.
Harris’ massive physical advantages are too much for Asker to just grit his way through. Harris thumps him in the first round.
Prediction: Harris via first-round knockout
145 lbs.: Alex Caceres vs. Rolando Dy
After his five-fight unbeaten streak gave way to three consecutive losses, Alex Caceres (12-10) returned to Featherweight and promptly defeated Masio Fullen and Cole Miller to earn a main event slot opposite Yair Rodriguez. “Bruce Leeroy” couldn’t quite top the athletic “Pantera,” nor survive the venomous grappling of Jason Knight one fight later.
He owns five professional wins by submission and two by knockout.
Rolando Dy (8-4) — the son of former WBC Super Featherweight champion Rolando Navarrete — made his name in PXC with two wars against Bantamweight champ Kyle Aguon. Though he came up on the wrong end of a split decision both times, he proved his mettle by defeating his next three opponents. He replaces the injured Guan Wang on around three weeks’ notice.
Looking at Dy’s PXC fights, I see a capable, no-frills Muay Thai specialist with decently heavy hands and a knack for finding the Thai plum and other advantageous grips when his opponent ties up. His main issue is that he doesn’t set up his kicks, which makes it easy to catch them and maneuver him around the cage.
Caceres has never been a noteworthy takedown artist, but when given these sorts of opportunities, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him down Dy and dominate from top position. Even if he doesn’t, he’s busier on the feet and hard enough to hit that he’ll cruise to a decision win.
Prediction: Caceres via unanimous decision
125 lbs.: Justin Scoggins vs. Yuta Sasaki
A disastrous weight cut sent Justin Scoggins (11-3) back to the Bantamweight division, where he took on fellow prospect Pedro Munhoz in Sao Paulo. “Tank” appeared firmly in control, but a slip and subsequent ill-advised shot put him right in Munhoz’s signature guillotine.
Six of his seven stoppage wins have come by knockout.
Despite a win over Willie Gates in his Flyweight debut, few gave Yuta Sasaki (19-4-2) much of a chance against Wilson Reis when they squared off at UFC 208. Sasaki — heedless of the +455 odds — gave Reis everything he could handle, though he ultimately lost a unanimous decision.
At 5’10”, he is three inches taller than Scoggins.
I firmly believe that Scoggins has the potential to be a champion. His wrestling is terrific, stout enough to let him flick out side and hook kicks with impunity, and he has legitimate stopping power when he decides to go for it.
That fight IQ, though ...
He was running roughshod over John Moraga and Pedro Munhoz before he decided to stick his neck in their signature chokes. That said, he’ll need a brain fart of epic proportions to lose this one. Sasaki’s no joke, but he does his best work in the clinch and Scoggins is incredibly adept at maintaining range. “Tank” chews up “Ulka” with hard kicks before putting him away somewhere in the second round.
Prediction: Scoggins via second-round technical knockout
Ignore UFC Fight Night 111’s questionable main event and you’ve got a pretty decent card ... all things considered. See you bright and early Saturday, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 111’s fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 4:30 a.m. ET before the Fight Pass main card start time at 8 a.m. ET.
Current UFC "Prelims" Prediction Record for 2017: 67-34 (1 NC)
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