Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

Bethe Correia attacks UFC Singapore opponent Holly Holm as she eyes title shot against Nunes

Brazilian faces one-time world champion Holm in the main event on June 17 and continues attacks on her opponent

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 May, 2017, 10:26am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 May, 2017, 10:48am

There are six weeks still to go before UFC Fight Night Singapore but headliner Bethe Correia has already come out swinging.

The Brazilian bantamweight will face one-time world champion Holly Holm in the main event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on June 17 and on Friday continued a barrage of recent attacks on her opponent by once again labelling Holm as overrated.

“Between me and Holly, she’s the one who is under pressure right now as she’s coming off a loss and she is the one who is overestimated by everyone,” said Correia, speaking in a conference call to Asian media. “Her performances really haven’t lived up to people’s expectations.

“She relies a lot on her reach and her punches and if you block that, she gets lots. That’s what I will exploit. I’ll break her reach.”

Strong words from a fighter who seems to have polarised MMA fans over the years with her outspoken ways, but Correia said the world could take her as she came.

“Those who don’t like me don’t like the truth and sometimes the truth hurts,” she said. “Even though [Holm] says she is in great spirits I know she is not because she comes off three losses. I know that she won’t be in her greatest spirits.”

The 33-year-old Correia (10-2-1) was knocked out by Ronda Rousey in the first round of their bantamweight title fight back in 2015, and she will come to Singapore on the back of a majority draw decision shared with Marion Reneau (7-3-1) at UFC Fight Night 106 in March.

Holly Holm confirmed for UFC Singapore Fight Night as she attempts to resurrect faltering career against Bethe Correia

The one-time accountant said on Friday she believed that high-profile loss to Rousey was the reason many in the MMA game had since underestimated her skills – and her potential.

“I’m underestimated because of how that fight played out,” she said. “But it’s relative. Ronda lost to Amanda [Nunes] who lost to [Cat] Zingano, who lost to Ronda. So it’s all relative. I’m a warrior and I will show my evolution [as a fighter] and I will beat Holly Holms.”

It’s an intriguing match-up between one of Rousey’s victims, a fighter known for grinding out her victories over the distance, and the woman who put that star’s career on the skids in dramatic fashion. The reverberations of Holm’s knockout of the sport’s one-time golden girl are still being felt as it looks for someone to replace Rousey’s cross-over marketing reach.

For her part, Holm has fended off Correia’s attacks, so far at least, telling last week that she remained focused on her fight camp, and on getting her own career back on track after three straight losses that have taken her record to 10-3.

I don’t want my career to be defined by beating Ronda Rousey, says Holly Holm ahead of Singapore Fight Night

“It really doesn’t do anything to me – it doesn’t affect me. There’s a lot of people that sit here and judge, but I work hard and I’m going to work hard just for her,” said Holm. “I’ve learned a lot over my last three fights and it’s time to put it all together. I feel like I’ve been keeping it in pieces rather than letting it be this combined arsenal, this combined set of skills.”

The Holm-Correia bout is the main event on a card packed with Asian talent as the UFC returns to the region for the first time in more than a year.

There’s been a buzz around the fact the UFC will showcase the talents of China’s Wang Guan for the first time. The 31-year-old is a former featherweight champion in the Shanghai-based Ranik Ultimate Fighting Federation (RUFF) and carries a 15-1-1 record into his debut for the world’s premier MMA organisation. He’ll face American Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres (12-10).

Holly Holm confirmed for UFC Singapore Fight Night as she attempts to resurrect faltering career against Bethe Correia

Others in action include South Korean welterweight star Kim “The Stun Gun” Dong-hyun (23-3-1), who will face American Colby “Chaos” Covington (11-1), and Japanese MMA veteran Takanori Gomi (35-12) who’s up against Chamorro American Jon Tuck (9-4) in a lightweight bout.

The top-end of the card also features former UFC heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski (25-14, one no contest) against Polish slugger Marcin Tybura (15-2).

Correia said there was no extra pressure being a headliner, more that it would concentrate her efforts as she eyes off a possible future clash with current bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes (14-4).

“Being the main event motivates me,” said Correia. “It’s a privilege and I will fight for a great result. After this I want a title shot.”