The kick that ex-champ Holly Holm used to knock out Ronda Rousey came back with a vengeance, though it took her a while to use it.
Holm’s (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) cautious approach over two rounds suddenly gave way to a head kick that felled onetime title challenger Bethe Correia (10-3-1 MMA, 4-3-1 UFC) at the 1:09 mark of the third round.
The women’s bantamweight bout was the main event of today’s UFC Fight Night 111 event at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore. It streamed on UFC Fight Pass.
Referee Marc Goddard stepped in to save Correia after Holm followed her concussive kick with a punch to the chops that knocked the Brazilian flat on the canvas.
Just moments earlier, Correia had taunted Holm to engage – and the answer left her unconscious.
Holm followed the highlight-reel win with her signature backflip, which she hadn’t done in nearly two years before her headliner in Singapore.
The knockout was an emphatic ending to an otherwise tentative fight. After the fighters circled endlessly, drawing a warning for timidity from Goddard in the second, boos showed the crowd’s patience was wearing thin.
Holm, ever the counter-fighter, mostly stayed at range and used her kicks to snipe at Correia, who came into the fight with a height and reach disadvantage. Despite those long limbs, Correia managed to find her way inside, connecting late in the opening frame with a combination that got Holm’s attention. Mostly, though, the fighters danced around the octagon.
Correia apparently got tired of the pace, too. With her taunts, she invited a scrap that might get the audience back on her side. But that turned out to be her undoing, as she walked straight into a kick that put Holm’s shin straight to her face.
It was Holm’s first win in the octagon since she did the same to ex-champion Ronda Rousey, upending the MMA world in November 2015 with a shocking upset knockout.
“Amazing,” Holm said of snapping a three-fight skid. “There’s so many things I want to say, but this fight, I know she could make messy, and I heard a lot of boos from the first round. But what I wanted to do was make it look as clean as I could.”
After Holm’s experiment going for the inaugural women’s featherweight title ended in a messy decision loss to Germaine de Randamie, her finish could not have been more perfect. Now that she’s back in the bantamweight division, the question is how she leverages the performance in a division ruled by champ Amanda Nunes.
Holm shrugged off questions about her future and said she’d rather enjoy her win than plot her next move.
“It’s been a year-and-a-half since I’ve been able to do a backflip in here, and I was glad to do it in Singapore.”
Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 111 results include:
- Holly Holm def. Bethe Correia via knockout (head kick, punch) – Round 3, 1:09
- Marcin Tybura def. Andrei Arlovski via unanimous decision (29-28, 28-27, 29-27)
- Colby Covington def. Dong Hyun Kim via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
- Rafael dos Anjos def. Tarec Saffiedine via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Jon Tuck def. Takanori Gomi via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 1:12
- Walt Harris def. Cyril Asker via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:44
- Alex Caceres def. Rolando Dy via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) – Round 2, 5:00
- Ulka Sasaki def. Justin Scoggins via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 3:19
- Li Jingliang def. Frank Camacho via unanimous decision (29-27, 28-27, 29-27)
- Russell Doane def Kwan Ho Kwak via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:09
- Naoki Inoue def. Carls John de Tomas via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
- Lucie Pudilova def. Ji Yeon Kim via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)