Holly Holm earned her first win in 19 months Saturday — and brought back memories of her most famous victory in doing so.
Holm (11-3) knocked out Bethe Correia (10-3-1) with a vicious left head kick at UFC Fight Night in Singapore. It was Holm’s first win since she stunned Ronda Rousey in a 2015 championship fight, which also ended with a high left kick.
The finish came at the 1:09 mark of the third round, in what had been a very slow and tedious contest to that point. Correia fell backwards from the shot, and Holm rushed in with a follow-up left hand before referee Marc Goddard intervened.
After the fight, Holm and longtime coach Mike Winkeljohn performed their signature backflip celebration.
“I know she can make it look messy and I know we heard a lot of boos in the first round,” Holm said. “But I wanted to make it look as clean as possible.
“I’m going to enjoy this night right now, enjoy the victory. It’s been a year-and-a-half since I was able to do a backflip in here.”
The highlight reel kick was one of just 25 total strikes landed in the fight for Holm, according to Fightmetric. Usually known as a high-volume striker, Holm was extremely cautious against Correia — so much so that Goddard warned both fighters for timidity in the second round.
The action picked up slightly after that, but it remained a very uneventful fight right up until the big finish. For Holm, a former boxing and UFC champion, it is her eighth win by knockout in MMA.
Correia, of Brazil, referred to Holm as “overrated” in the buildup to the fight, but she showed a lot of respect for Holm’s striking once it began. She refused to go after Holm on the feet, as Rousey famously did, preferring to sit back and attempt to counter. She landed a handful of left hooks and right hands, but nothing too significant.
An Albuquerque, New Mexico, native training out of Jackson-Wink MMA, Holm is now 4-3 in the UFC. She won the 135-pound championship in her third appearance with the promotion, before falling into a three-fight skid against Miesha Tate, Valentina Shevchenko and Germaine de Randamie.
Tybura takes decision, Arlovski loses fifth straight
Tybura, 31, appeared to be on his way to an early finish after he took Arlovski down in the opening minutes and moved to full mount. Arlovski would survive, however, and even mount a late-round flurry that had Tybura hurt moments before the bell.
The early effort had a visible effect on both. Arlovski took the second round, mostly by smothering Tybura in a clinch, before Tybura scored a key takedown to take the third. All three judges scored the fight for Tybura 29-27, 29-28 and 28-27.
Arlovski, of Belarus, has now lost five in a row. The former champ had been finished in his past four fights going into Saturday. Tybura extends his win streak to three.
Covington wins fourth in a row, calls for title shot
A former collegiate wrestler at Oregon State University, Covington dominated Kim from a grappling aspect. He also staggered him with an overhand left in the second round, but the main story was the wrestling. He was credited with eight total takedowns in the fight, and smothered Kim in the clinch any time it was standing.
Kim, of South Korea, probably didn’t help himself either, as he was determined to aggressively move forward even though Covington was having his way in close quarters.
After the win, his fourth in a row, Covington called for “bigger names” and a 170-pound title shot. He fights out of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida.
Former champ dos Anjos looks good in welterweight debut
Making his welterweight debut, former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos (26-9) picked up a unanimous decision nod over Tarec Saffiedine (16-7) via scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28. It was a solid kickoff to dos Anjos’s 170-pound campaign. Saffiedine, 30, is a former Strikeforce champion. The Belgian kickboxer couldn’t get much going against dos Anjos, as the Brazilian crowded him on the feet and landed punches, knees and kicks to the body. Dos Anjos elected to move up a weight class following back-to-back losses to Eddie Alvarez and Tony Ferguson in 2016. Although he certainly didn’t look like a big welterweight compared to Saffiedine, size did not play a factor on Saturday. The former titleholder should draw another significant matchup coming off a successful debut. Saffiedine, meanwhile, has lost four of his past five.