UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Correia Preview

The UFC makes its second appearance in Singapore this weekend with Holly Holm taking on Bethe Correia in the main event on UFC Fight Pass. Former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski clashes with Polish fighter Marcin Tybura and former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos steps up to welterweight for the first time and meets Tarec Saffiedine, and you have prospects from Asia forming the bulk of the preliminary card.

Holly Holm had a perfect start to her MMA career, after transitioning to MMA following a decorated boxing career she ran up a 9-0 record and set up a fight with Ronda Rousey. She shocked the world in that fight, as she fought perfectly before knocking Rousey out with a second round head kick. Things have not gone to plan since then. She lost the title in her first defence, succumbing to a rear naked choke in the fifth round against Miesha Tate, she was then soundly outstruck by Valentina Shevchenko and lost a unanimous decision. Following this she challenged for the UFC’s new featherweight title and she lost a close unanimous decision to Germaine De Randamie. This three fight losing streak has left her at a crossroads and she could find herself totally irrelevant should she lose again, which would have seemed unthinkable when she was on top of the world a couple of years ago.

Bethe Correia also began her MMA career with nine straight wins and then a fight against Ronda Rousey, but things didn’t go as well for her there as they did for Holm. She came out to brawl with Rousey and ended up face down on the ground with the referee waving the fight off a mere 35 seconds later. Correia followed that up with a split decision loss against Raquel Pennington but she managed to avoid the fate suffered by Holm and she snapped her losing streak with a very close split decision win against Jessica Eye. Her most recent outing was a draw with Marion Reneau. While Correia may not be in the midst of a long losing streak like Holm is, but she hasn’t got a lot of momentum either.

Holly Holm is a very technical striker, she likes to work from the outside (way outside) and throw the occasional side kick to the body or legs before darting forward with a one two or unleashing her straight left hand. She has great footwork which allows her to be very effective at landing counters and then moving off at an angle and evading her opponents shots. She tends to stick to the basics, with the odd head kick thrown in for good measure. This emphasis on defence and movement naturally affects her power and she is not a hard hitter, unless you are being overly aggressive as Rousey was in their fight.

Holm often has problems with inactivity, she is simply too passive in fights and allows herself to lose rounds in this way too easily. The aforementioned lack of power means she can struggle to dissuade opponents from pressuring her for long periods. The lack of diversity in her striking arsenal was exposed when she fought Valentina Shevchenko, she had a counter for Holm’s usual attack and Holm was unable to adapt as the fight progressed.

Correia has been developing her game over the past couple of years but she will never be mistaken for a master technician. When she first came into the UFC she was a swarming pressure striker, with not much in the way of technique or even power she would overwhelm her opponents with volume. She has developed a decent jab in recent fights and has refined other parts of her game. She is very busy with strikes in the clinch, she has a small reach for the division and this is something she does well to to negate her reach disadvantage.

Holm should be able to keep the fight at range where she is the better fighter. Correia will be trying to rush her to the fence, but her footwork and movement should cover her. Correia will look to bully her in the clinch if she does manage to close the distance but Holm has underrated grappling and won’t be easily manipulated in the clinch. It won’t be pretty, but I expect Holm to win a fairly wide and comfortable decision.

Top 15 heavyweights Andrei Arlovski and Marcin Tybura do battle in the co-main event in what could be a changing of the guard at heavyweight. Arlovski has already been the victim of one such fight, as he was knocked out by Francis Ngannou earlier this year. Arlovski has lost four in a row at this stage, all by finish and he must be very close to the end of his career now. Arlovski is a long time removed from his time at the top of the division and he is a shell of his former self. He still packs a punch in his right hand and that keeps him in fights, but now his chin has deteriorated it has been hard to watch him at times.

Tybura is 31 but that is a baby by heavyweight standards. He was heavyweight champion in M-1 in Russia, beating fighters like Damian Grabowski and Denis Smoldarev. He lost to light heavyweight champion Stephan Puetz in a non title fight and entered the UFC with a 13-1 record. Tybura lost his first fight in the UFC but then made his mark with a huge head kick knockout against Viktor Pesta and he stopped Luis Henrique in his last fight.

Tybura was thought of as one of the best heavyweight prospects in the world before he made his way to the UFC and now he has the chance to prove that that and vault himself into the top 10 of the division. Arlovski will always have a chance, with his veteran savvy and huge right hand but Tybura is the favourite at this point in their careers

Elsewhere on the card it will be interesting to see how Rafael Dos Anjos fairs at welterweight. He allegedly struggled very badly with the last two weight cuts, hopefully we see a reinvigorated Dos Anjos, ready to make a run in another division. Saffiedine is a great fighter in his own right though, and with both fighters on losing streaks it is a huge fight for both of them.

FIGHT PICKS

Main Card (1PM IST/8AM ET)


Holly Holm vs. Bethe Correia – Holm decision
Andrei Arlovski vs. Marcin Tybura – Tybura TKO
Colby Covington vs. Dong Hyun Kim – Covington
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Tarec Saffiedine – Dos Anjos

Preliminary Card (9:45AM IST/4:45AM ET)

Takanori Gomi vs. Jon Tuck – Tuck
Cyril Asker vs. Walt Harris – Harris
Alex Caceres vs. Rolando Gabriel Dy – Caceres
Justin Scoggins vs. Ulka Sasaki – Scoggins
Li Jingliang vs. Frank Camacho – Li
Russell Doane vs. Kwan Ho Kwak – Kwak
Naoki Inoue vs. Carls John de Tomas – Inoue
Ji Yeon Kim vs. Lucie Pudilova – Pudilova

BETTING TIP

Sean Sheehan has selected the betting tip and likes Tarec Saffiedine to win at 5/2.

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Check out this week’s Severe MMA Podcast for more UFC Fight Night Singapore talk:

Sean and Graeme talk UFC Auckland, UFC Singapore, Demetrious Johnson, Fan Questions and more