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UFC Fight Night 111 predictions

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This is by far the best UFC Fight Pass card we’ve seen in recent times. UFC Fight Night 111 may be going down at an odd time, but it features an array of interesting match-ups, including the headliner between women bantmaweight stars Holly Holm and Bethe Correia. UFC Fight Night 111 also hosts the welterweight debut of former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, an intriguing 170-pound contest between contenders Dong Hyun Kim and Colby Covington, and a heavyweight showdown between Andrei Arlovski and Marcin Tybura.

What: UFC Fight Night 111

Where: Singapore Indoor Stadium, Kallang, Singapore

When: Saturday, June 17. The eight-fight UFC Fight Pass preliminary card begins at 4:30 a.m. ET, and the four-fight main card begins at 8 a.m. ET also on UFC Fight Pass.

Holly Holm vs. Bethe Correia

This has a chance to be a stinker, but nonetheless, this bout between Holly Holm and Bethe Correia has important implications for the women’s bantamweight division.

Holm, a former bantamweight champion, is dropping back down to the 135-pound division after an unsuccessful title fight at featherweight earlier this year against Germaine de Randamie. The loss to de Randamie marked Holm’s third straight loss. Although this seems to be a bad losing streak for Holm – and it is to some degree – it’s also quite a deceiving one. Long story short, Holm hasn’t lost to any scrubs and came very close to defending the bantamweight title and earning the featherweight belt in her current losing streak. “The Preacher's Daughter” remains one of the best fighters in the division. Holm is quick, strong, well-conditioned, and possesses great, rangy striking accompanied by a solid takedown defense.

On the other hand, Correia is likely to be one of the most undervalued fighters in the division despite having challenged for the title and being in the rankings. Correia is not a bad fighter despite what people may think. The Brazilian is durable, strong, can put together good combinations on the feet, and has some decent takedowns in her arsenal. Correia scored a draw against Marion Reneau and a split-decision win over Jessica Eye in her last two performances.

Both Holm and Correia are not close to title contention, but having recognizable names and being in a shallow weight class, a win here can easily throw them right in the mix.

So let’s take a quick look at the key factors that may determine the outcome of this bout:

Length and range: I find this to be the biggest factor in this contest. Correia has very short arms and will be giving up a five-inch reach advantage against Holm. Reach wouldn’t be such an alarming factor here if Correia were fighting someone with a striking style that didn’t rely on range. However, Holm fights extremely long, using many straight punches at kicks to keep her opponents at bay. On top of that, Holm’s footwork work is very quick and she can be in an out of range in a short amount of time. All this will allow Holm to hit Correia while staying out of the Brazilian’s range of striking.

Dirty boxing and close quarter combat: If Correia wants to to beat Holm, she’ll have to get close, real close. Correia is good at fighting in the pocket, as she can deliver quick, short combinations. The 33-year-old is physically strong and uses that strength well in the clinch. Having a lower base than Holm, Coreia could find success clinching the former champ while using dirty boxing. Coreia has also shown to be able to cut the cage from her opponents, turning fights into a close quarter wars. We saw that early in her UFC career in her fights with Jessamyn Duke and Shayna Baszler. This would be extremely useful against Holm, who needs space to strike at her best.

Prediction: I think this in an easy one to pick. Holm will tag up Correia using her rangy striking and significant reach advantage. There is a small window for Correia to win and that’d be with a combination of cutting the cage from Holm with angles, while forcing the clinch where she could implement her dirty boxing. Although possible, I doubt it happens. For starters, Correia’s footwork is slow and it’ll be tough to cut the cage from the faster and always-moving Holm. And if they were to clinch, Holm seemed to have done a lot of clinch work in her preparation against de Randamie – and it showed during the fight – so I think she might not beat Correia there, but at least be able to stay out of trouble and cause break off.

Pick: Holm

Andrei Arlovski vs. Marcin Tybura

Not the most fascinating heavyweight fight, but not a horrible booking. Still, not sure why this is the co-main event of the card.

Andrei Arlovski desperately needs a win here. The former UFC heavyweight champ is on a four-fight losing streak, having been stopped in his past four outings. Fortunately for Arlovski, Bellator is around and they seem to be investing in their heavyweight division, so I doubt the 38-year-old gets dropped by the UFC even with a loss. Despite not having a durable chin, Arlovski remains dangerous to any opponent, as he possesses great athleticism, and a technical and powerful striking arsenal.

His opponent, Marcin Tybura, is not too flashy but he can fight almost anywhere the fight goes. Tybura has good ground skills and good standup. I think his biggest attributes are his cardio, high striking output, durability and the pace he brings to his fights. In some ways, Tybura reminds me a bit of Cain Velasquez, being a small but quick heavyweight that can fight at a high pace very few heavyweights can keep up.

I think Arlovski is the better striker here, and will probably get the better of the exchanges early in the fight. However, Tybura is durable and relentless and will not stop moving forward until he catches Arlovski’s questionable chin.

Pick: Tybura

Dong Hyun Kim vs. Colby Covington

Fun clash in grappling styles here.

Colby Covington is finally getting a deserved step up in competition here. The American Top Team product has impressively put together a 6-1 record in the UFC, and will now be looking to place his name in the rankings. Covington is a pressure fighter with good striking technique, great takedowns, and dangerous submissions.

Kim fights very similar in the way he pressures his opponents, but his striking is significantly less technical than Covington. I’d say Covington has a big advantage on the feet, but so have many of Kim’s previous opponents, and yet have come up short against the South Korean. Kim fights extremely well in close quarters, has a great ability to shut down opponents against the cage, and posses great takedowns and takedown defense.

This is a very close fight to predict. I think Kim will have a tough time taking down Covington, but doesn’t mean he can’t control him against the cage and outpoint him there. I also see Covington being able to shut down Kim’s grappling and tag him up on the feet, while scoring some occasional takedowns here and there. Tough call, but I see Kim’s clinch control, and athleticism getting him a close decision win.

Pick: Kim

Tarec Saffiedine vs. Rafael dos Anjos

What an interesting fight to kick off the main card. I think this bout would probably be a better all-around candidate to headline the event, if it wasn’t for Holm’s star power – especially with the casuals. Either way, we have a fantastic fight here could easily be on a pay-per-view card, as former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos will be moving up a weight class to face former Strikeforce welterweight champ Tarec Saffiedine.

Dos Anjos is extremely skilled in both the grappling and striking departments. Usually, we see elite fighters be proficient everywhere, but they tend to have something that stands out. However, the Brazilian can grapple withe best grapplers, strike with the best strikers and find a good degree of success. Dos Anjos is dangerous everywhere, and at 170 pounds, I expect to see a rejuvenated fighter. Meanwhile, Saffiedine is a technician – much like dos Anjos – but his strength relies on the feet. Saffiedine has some takedowns, and good grappling in general, but not good enough to best some of the better grapplers of the division. Saffiedine has fallen short to skilled grapplers such as Rick Story and Dong Hyun Kim in his two most recent outings.

I see this being an even contest, as Saffiedine is always game, even with the very best. The problem with Saffiedine is that he can defend takedowns and fight off bad positions, but falls a bit behind on the score cards in the process. And when he does manage to get back to his bread and butter, he seems to be stuck at fourth gear and fails to rev things up a bit to make up for lost time/points, causing him to lose very, very close decisions. This should be a competitive bout, but the combination of dos Anjos pressure, striking and takedowns should earn him a win here.

Pick: dos Anjos


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