Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is messing with the time zones again as it uncorks another round of face-punching action this Saturday (June 17, 2017) at the UFC Fight Night 111 mixed martial arts (MMA) event inside Singapore Indoor Stadium on the UFC Fight Pass digital network.
It’s a nice break from this madness.
Headlining the overseas event will be former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm, as she takes on ex-division No. 1 contender Bethe Correia. Elsewhere on the card, former lightweight titleholder Rafael dos Anjos tries his luck at welterweight against ex-Strikeforce 170-pound champion Tarec Saffiedine.
All it costs is an online subscription and a reliable alarm clock.
Breaking down the “Prelims” portion of the UFC Fight Night 111 fight card is the always-amiable Patty Stumberg. See his take on this weekend’s digital wars here and here. For his breakdown of the Singapore odds and betting lines click here.
I’m here to mop up with the four-fight main card, so let’s get to it.
135 lbs.: Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm (10-3) vs. Bethe “Pitbull” Correia (10-2-1)
Nostradumbass predicts: Bethe Correia’s gameplan is so elementary, I would reckon it’s scribbled on construction paper with a box of crayons, complete with two female stick figures and a poorly-drawn arrow that says “punch here.”
But hey, this is MMA.
That means even the sloppiest of fighters can win rounds (and entire fights) on volume alone, because if you play the percentages, the human body is an easy target, even for a stubby bantamweight like Correia.
It helps to be durable and “Pitbull” — save for her faceplant against Ronda Rousey — can usually absorb most incoming fire without batting an eyelash. Conversely, that same approach is why she ends up with so many close decisions.
Not this time.
Some fans are shocked at how far Holly Holm has fallen since her moment in the sun, a 2015 drubbing over the aforementioned Rousey, but her UFC fights have historically been close and her recent performances have not been unlike those that preceded “Rowdy.”
Watch clips from her snoozers against Raquel Pennington and Marion Reneau.
Fortunately for “The Preacher’s Daughter,” she enters this bout as an elite striker against an opponent who only thinks she’s an elite striker. So not only will the confident Correia charge forward thinking she can bang, she’ll give Holm — a surgical counterstriker — the path of least resistance.
It’s not a question of whether or not Holm will win, it’s a question of whether or not she’ll score the finish.
Holm is better everywhere. She’s the better striker, the better athlete, and has more experience against elite fighters. She’ll never be the best 135-pound fighter on the planet, but she doesn’t need to be in order to win this fight.
Final prediction: Holm def. Correia by technical knockout
265 lbs.: Andrei “Pitbull” Arlovski (25-14, 1 NC) vs. Marcin “Tybur” Tybura (15-2)
Nostradumbass predicts: Andrei Arlovski has been knocked out 10 times in his MMA career. Let that sink in for a moment. Sure, he walks and talks fine at the moment, but CTE is not the sort of thing that adheres to a specific timetable.
In addition, “The Pitbull” has now dropped four straight. The only thing keeping him afloat in the twilight of his career — aside from name value — is the fact that he’s been losing to former champions and top heavyweight contenders.
Marcin Tybura is neither.
The Pole’s 15-2 record looks impressive on paper, but once you start examining his list of opponents, populated by such dazzling superstars as the 1-6 Andrzej Kosecki, or the 13-17 Denis Komkin, you get an idea of what the international scene offers in terms of competition.
Not that he’s a tomato can, but against a storied veteran like Arlovski?
Watching Tybura go down on points to the mustached Timothy Johnson — which isn’t exactly ancient history at April 2016 — does not give me the confidence that he has the speed or agility to outwork the hard-hitting Belarusian.
Arlovski is the better striker, has great takedown defense, and a wealth of experience. In order to lose this fight, “The Pitbull” would have to lumber forward with his chin up and hands down.
When has he ever done that?!?
Final prediction: Arlovski def. Tybura by unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Colby “Chaos” Covington (11-1) vs. Dong Hyun “Stun Gun” Kim (22-3-1, 1 NC)
Nostradumbass predicts: I’m still aghast at the lopsided betting line for this welterweight showdown. I’ve seen select sportsbooks with Colby Covington as high as a -345 favorite over the venerable Dong Hyun Kim.
Based on what?
A decision win over Bryan Barberena? There’s a reason Covington isn’t ranked in the top 15 — where Kim comfortably resides at No. 7 — and that’s because he’s yet to face a fighter of “Stun Gun’s” caliber.
In addition, “Chaos” has just one knockout in 15 wins, relying on his wrestling pedigree to either outpoint or handily submit overmatched foes. Kim built an entire career on that exact gameplan and nobody does it better.
The South Korean has just three losses in UFC. One came to the current champion, while the other two came against division title contenders. He also differs from the Oregonian in that he has nine knockouts in 22 wins, which makes the judoka dangerous on his feet, as well as on the ground.
His striking is hardly a work of art, but he still gets it done.
Covington may be younger, fresher, and busier on the feet, but fighting Kim is like trying to push your way through a brick wall. “Stun Gun” has already faced — and beaten — fighters who are far superior to his Fight Pass foe.
Since both skill sets are likely to cancel each other out, we could be faced with an ugly bout. Fortunately for Kim, winning ugly is still winning.
Final prediction: Kim def. Covington by split decision
170 lbs.: Rafael dos Anjos (25-9) vs. Tarec “Sponge” Saffiedine (16-6)
Nostradumbass predicts: Tarec Saffiedine has not finished a fight in over seven years across the span of 11 fights. I like to reveal that statistic nice and early, because it sets the tone for the remainder of this 170-pound breakdown.
“The Sponge” got his nickname from his innate ability to absorb whatever he was taught. If that’s the case, then perhaps he should seek out new trainers, because his formidable stand-up and sneaky submissions have peaked under existing leadership.
Or maybe he’s just not top-10 material.
The fact that Saffiedine is ranked No. 11, despite a 1-3 record over the last three years, tells you a lot about the fragility of the welterweight division, where a top-heavy cluster clogs up the welterweight spout.
Rafael dos Anjos, like Donald Cerrone before him, should find early success.
All of the skills that made him great at lightweight will make him even greater at 170 pounds. He will undoubtedly be undersized in most contests, but then again, he was far from a giant in his former stomping grounds, and the title did not elude him.
It must have been a brutal weight cut to jump ship after a remarkable 10-3 run over the last five years. Dos Anjos is good — and sometimes great — in every facet of MMA. He can strike, grapple, and hustle for 25 minutes straight.
He only loses to better fighters, never to himself.
Is the leg-kicking Saffiedine a better fighter? He may have the edge, technically speaking, in one or two areas. But his inability to gel those skill sets and present a complete package, or show any sort of killer instinct, is why he’ll come up short tomorrow night in Singapore.
Final prediction: Dos Anjos def. Saffiedine by unanimous decision
There you have it.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 111 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the UFC Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 4 a.m. ET, before the UFC Fight Pass main card start time at 8 a.m. ET.
For much more on this weekend’s UFC Fight Pass event click here.