Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight contenders (sorta) Holly Holm and Bethe Correia clashed yesterday (June 17, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 111 inside Singapore Indoor Arena in Kellang, Singapore.
It’s not exactly common place for one half of the main event to enter on the heels of three straight losses. Nevertheless, that was Holm’s situation, making this a do-or-die fight for the former champion.
I don’t know if Bethe Correia has some hidden star quality of legend, made blood sacrifices, or is simply lucky, but the one-time title contender is somehow the main event again. Though she entered as a massive underdog, Correia did not walk into the cage with the intent of being dominated.
Absolutely nothing happened in the opening two minutes of the bout, before Holm finally opened up with a pair of side kicks to the mid-section. For the most part, the two feinted at each other with little reaction.
Correia’s strategy was clearly to counter punch, as she waited for kicks and tried to fire off her right hand. Holm was too large and athletic for those shots to land, but she also didn’t really commit to many strikes. Correia landed a couple decent punches near the end of the round, but overall neither woman landed anything remotely damaging.
Holm won the round, but dear lord it was tedious.
It would be an exaggeration to say things heated up in the second round, but things did begin to happen. Holm was a bit more willing to throw punches alongside her kicks, and while they didn’t land that often, it meant that Correia was throwing more as well. Even with the increased output, the referee warned the pair for timidity at about the midway point to little result.
The second round was likely a bit closer than the first and could be argued for either woman. Holm was more active, but Corriea had a few of the most notable moments with a landed superman punch and spinning back fist.
I promise you, it was less fun than it sounded.
Thankfully, it was all over in the third round. After a minute of nothingness, Correia waved her opponent in. Holm obliged with a left question mark kick, which planted Holm’s shin directly into Correia’s forehead.
Holm needed this win desperately, but it’s hard to really feel that inspired by her performance. For two rounds, Holm scored points almost entirely via kicks, as the punching exchanges were even.
It seems absurd to type out, but world champion boxer Holly Holm basically broke even with punches with Bethe Correia.
The real positive that I recognized from this bout is how Holm is tricky as hell with her high kicks. Those high kicks and her cardio will always make her dangerous in five round fights, as all those years working with Mike Winkeljohn have given her a rare ability to find a home for the strike. Even in her previous fight, Holm was mostly abused at range, but a question mark kick to the chin sent her foe to the mat.
Back in the win column, Holm is effectively back in the title mix. If Amanda Nunes defends her crown, there’s a fair chance Holm will get that fight. If not, a bout with Julianna Pena would make sense.
I won’t be too critical of Bethe Correia. She didn’t really have the technical tools or athleticism to truly challenge Holm, but she nevertheless made it a close (if excruciating) bout for a pair of rounds. Correia’s position as a gatekeeper to the top 10 remains unchanged, as Holm is already a proven member of that class.
Yesterday at UFC Fight Night 111, Holly Holm added another high kick knockout to her resume. Can Holm regain her strap?
For complete UFC Fight Night 111 “Holm vs. Correia” results and play-by-play, click HERE!