It’s not often that a fighter on a three-fight, 18-month losing streak is a 5-to-1 favorite, but Holly Holm proved Saturday in Singapore during her fight with Bethe Correia that the oddsmakers knew what they were doing.
Holm won her first bout since her memorable Nov. 14, 2015, knockout of then-unbeaten Ronda Rousey by catching Correia with a brutal kick to the head Saturday at 1:09 of the third round in Singapore.
After blowing out Rousey to win the women’s bantamweight title at UFC 193 in Australia, Holm was choked out by Miesha Tate at UFC 196, outstruck by Valentina Shevchenko on Fox and then lost a close featherweight title bout to Germaine de Randamie at UFC 208 in February.
She entered Saturday’s bout in desperate need of a victory and, despite the crowd’s boos for much of the way, she got it emphatically.
“We heard a lot of boos, but what I wanted to do was make it as clean as I could,” Holm said.
The pace was slow as the fighters spent much of the first two rounds sizing each other up, cautiously circling the cage and not throwing many strikes. It was so bad that at one point late in the second round that referee Marc Godard stopped the action and said, “I respect the gameplan, but you have to make something happen.”
Holm did shortly after that. She feinted and Correia bit on it. Instantly, Holm fired a head kick and caught Correia with her shin to the side of the face. Correia went down immediately and Holm landed a left hand before Goddard stopped it.
Correia, who entered the fight ranked No. 11, had done much pre-fight talking, but she couldn’t back it up against the fifth-ranked Holm.
Correia landed 15 of 65 significant strikes and 21 of 71 overall strikes. Nothing she did caused Holm any problem.
Holm wasn’t sure what her plans moving forward might be.
“I’m going to enjoy this,” she said. “I want to enjoy this victory because it’s been a year-and-a-half since I got to do a back flip in here.”