Mixed Martial Arts: Finally, a Holm run

After a slow start that displeased the crowd, Holly Holm (left) catches Bethe Correia with a high kick that set the American on her way to victory in their bantamweight bout at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last night.
After a slow start that displeased the crowd, Holly Holm (left) catches Bethe Correia with a high kick that set the American on her way to victory in their bantamweight bout at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last night.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Third-round knockout gives American victory against Correia and also halts her losing streak

Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Holly Holm, nicknamed The Preacher's Daughter, fought her way to redemption after beating Bethe Correia last night to halt her three-match losing streak - and she is hungry for more victories.

The 35-year-old American defeated her Brazilian opponent via knockout in the third round of the bantamweight bout, which headlined the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Fight Night 111 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The five-round bout started slowly, with no strikes landed in the first 11/2 minutes as both fighters dodged each other's attempts to make contact.

Jeers came from the restless crowd of 8,411 - who demanded more action after their appetites were whetted by the 12-fight event which started in the early evening - and continued into the second round as the referee told the fighters to engage in combat.

Correia, 33, taunted Holm in the third round, challenging the latter to attack - and attack she did.

Holm delivered a high kick that sent her opponent to the ground, then gave a final punch that left Correia on her back and sealed the victory as the referee stopped the fight after 1min 9sec of the third round.

Addressing the crowd's displeasure at the initial lack of action, Holm said the slow start was part of her game plan as she did not want to get into a messy brawl with Correia.

"A lot of times that's her style, she wants to get in and make it a brawl ... I wanted it to be clean," added Holm, who did a celebratory backflip in the Octagon after her win.

  • Asian market big enough for both marquees: UFC boss

  • Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and One Championship can co-exist together in Asia, according to UFC's senior vice-president of international and content Joe Carr.

    Speaking yesterday after the UFC fight night, he said: "I'm starting to get the sense that the (Asian) market is big enough for both of us to co-exist.

    "That's how the sport works almost everywhere else around the world. You have local development leagues which have events on a developmental basis, and you have UFC who have the benefit of coming in once a year, once every other year, with a big show, and we could still be successful as well.

    "I think the good news is that they have been focused on markets like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and even Singapore... while we're more focused on North Asia."

    Carr had earlier dismissed the idea of a cross-promoter event, but he hopes to see some fighters from Singapore-based One Championship join the roster of Las Vegas-based UFC in the future.

    Alvin Chia

"This is the type of game plan that the crowd might boo (at) and we knew that. But I just thought I'm in here fighting and I'm going to stick to the game plan and ... pick the right shot."

The New Mexico native is popularly known as the fighter who ended Ronda Rousey's unbeaten streak and her three-year reign as UFC bantamweight champion in 2015.

In the wake of that victory, Holm had suffered three straight defeats - until last night.

Acknowledging that there had "definitely been a dip" in her form, Holm is determined to make sure that her winning ways have returned.

Revealing that she was not happy about letting Correia land some shots in the second round, she added: "There's still things that I look at from the final and think, 'Gosh, I should have done this sooner or better.'

"I still want to learn and go forward, I'm still hungry to learn and this is how I know it's what I want to do."

On the significance of finally notching her first win after three straight losses, Holm said: "It means a lot, but this fight's already over - I'm going to enjoy it tonight but I want to look forward.

"There's still so many things I didn't do right and I want perfection all the time, so I'm going to go back and keep training, and see what's next."

And what's on the cards for the former professional boxer? After a pause, she replied: "I see maybe a beer and some French fries and a beautiful view over Singapore.

"That's my immediate goal, and we'll see what happens after that."

There were also victories last night for former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, who made a winning debut in the welterweight division, American Colby Covington, and Polish heavyweight fighter Marcin Tybura. All three won via unanimous decisions.

This is the United States-based UFC's first live event here since 2014. Then, the event was headlined by Belgian Tarec Saffiedine and Korean Lim Hyun Gu at Marina Bay Sands and attracted a 5,000-strong crowd.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 18, 2017, with the headline 'Finally, a Holm run'. Print Edition | Subscribe