June 15, 2017

UFC Fight Night 111: Holly Holm is Fighting For Her Legacy In Singapore

By Raphael Garcia

Every time two competitors step into the cage, there’s a lot on the line. They are fighting for the paycheck, the opportunity to advance one’s career, and the other perks that come with victory. But at UFC Fight Night 111, the headlining bout features one woman who’s fighting for much more, as Holly Holm steps into her fourth main event. When she faces Bethe Correia she will be battling not only for legitimacy, but also to prove her career is worth more than one moment on November 14, 2015.

Holm is a recognizable name in mainstream sports. A multiple-time boxing champion and former UFC champion, she’s the first athlete, male or female, to become a champion in both sports. But even more so than those accomplishments, she’s known for being the woman who halted Ronda Rousey’s dominance in the sport, changing the course of MMA history at UFC 193. But that was then, and now the story is quite different.

Right now, Holm is in the midst of a three-fight losing streak. After the Rousey win, she found herself put to sleep by Miesha Tate’s Hail-Mary choke at UFC 196. Then it would be Valentina Shevchenko at UFC on Fox 20, who over the course of five rounds proved that she’s a higher level striker than Holm has ever been. But that wouldn’t be the end of her misfortune, as at UFC 208, Germaine de Randamie used precision striking (albeit some of it after the bell) to take the UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship, in a title bout that many questioned whether Holm deserved to be in. All of those negative outcomes happened within a year, destroying any momentum that Holm had built up to that point. 

It’s hard for an athlete to come back after one defeat, left alone three. And to make things worse, people are now openly wondering whether Holm was ever the elite fighter she was once considered. But that’s where her opponent comes into play. Correia may be ranked in the division’s top 15, but she was never considered a high-level threat to the title. The four wins she’s earned since joining the UFC back in 2013 have come against women with a combined UFC record of 2-12-1. In some ways, this is an example of the kind of fight the former champion needs to get back on track. Holm is considered a huge favorite heading into Saturday, with some outlets having her at -600. A dominant and impressive win over Correia is exactly what Holm needs at this point in her career.

The dynamic of the UFC’s women’s bantamweight division has drastically changed in the 19 months since Holly Holm put that title belt around her waist. There’s a new champion in Amanda Nunes, both Tate and Rousey are gone from the sport, and other competitors have pushed their way to the top of the division. If Holm is going to remain relevant, she needs to get back on track with a win on Saturday. If that doesn’t happen, we could see her leaving not only the UFC, but the sport of MMA as a whole.

UFC Fight Night 111: Holm vs. Correia takes place June 17, 2017 at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore.

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