Prior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at the main event of UFC Fight Night 111 as former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm takes on Brazilian Bethe Correia.
Bethe Correia (Record: 10-2, +460 Favorite, Power Ranking: C+)
The Pitbull Brothers trained bantamweight made a quick start to MMA, winning her first nine fights before getting knocked out by Ronda Rousey in 2015. In her last outing, Correia was up two rounds against Marion Reneau, but she was hurt badly in the third round and barely survived the round. Thus, the fight resulted in a draw.
Correia is the not the most technically skilled striker, but she’s confident, and her pressing style has been the difference in several of her fights. Correia is one of the more active strikers in the division, landing 4.74 significant strikes a minute in the Octagon. On the flip side, her aggressive style lends to her absorbing 4.08 strikes per minute. Her footwork is rather limited, but she has decent power for the weight class and does a good job at combining strikes together. One concern is damage she has taken in recent fights. Her fight against Reneau was just three months ago, and she took considerable damage in the final round to the point that the fight could have been stopped. Her ground game is rather limited. Outside of her two takedowns in the Reneau fight, Correia hadn’t secured a takedown in the UFC since December 2013.
Holly Holm (Record: 10-3, -620 Favorite, Power Ranking: A-)
The New Mexico born and raised fighter is on the worst run of her career, losing her last three fights since her historic win over Ronda Rousey. In her last bout, she lost a close decision to Germaine de Randamie, which would have crowned her the featherweight champion. Holm returns to bantamweight for this headlining bout.
Holm is one of the best female boxers in American history. She holds a 33-2 career record in boxing and had won many world championships in the sport, including the WBA, WBC, and WBF welterweight titles. In her time in MMA, she hasn’t been the most active striker while in the cage. Instead, she uses a more calculated approach. Defensively, she uses range extremely well and keeps opponents on the outside. Her low strikes absorbed ratio of just 2.65 per minute speaks well of that. Combine that with a 59 percent success rate in defending strikes, and it shows just how good Holm is from a defensive standpoint. Her numbers were even more impressive a few fights ago, but in her last two bouts, she’s faced arguably the two most technically skilled strikers above 115 pounds in de Randamie and Valentina Shevchenko. Where Holm has looked vulnerable is on the ground. The two times Miesha Tate took her to the canvas, she struggled mightily with top pressure and eventually succumbed to a submission.
In UFC Fight Night 111’s main event, Holm looks to get back in the win column against Correia. Despite losing three in a row, Holm remains one of the division’s most popular fighters, so it’s imperative that she gets back in the win column to justify her continuing to get high-profile fights. This bout is the perfect matchup for Holm to get back on track. Holm is one of the best counter strikers in MMA and excels when her opponents press the action. Holm wants her opponent to strike first, so she can react on the counter. Correia only knows one way to fight, and that is to press forward and throw first. That in and of itself is going to make this a very difficult fight for the Brazilian. Holm is going to salivate at the opportunity to be able to pick her spots and land clean counters. Combining the striking styles of the two fighters with a clear speed advantage for Holm, and she should win this bout from start to finish. Correia has plodding footwork and will be unable to avoid the Holm counter punches, and more importantly, the head kicks of her opponent. I expect Holm to touch up Correia on the feet before landing a clean head kick that will drop the Brazilian, allowing Holm to step in and finish Correia with strikes on the ground. How this fight plays out and its end result will likely be very similar to Holm’s victory over Rousey. Correia is pretty durable as shown by her ability to fend off finishing attempts by Reneau in her last fight, but still Holm by KO/TKO (+136) is the most likely result of this fight. Holm is a great striker and should be able to put away Correia. Furthermore, there isn’t a round Holm should lose in this fight. Holm -5.5 (-285) is a strong parlay piece to consider for the UFC Fight Night 111 card.
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