December 12, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Postscript: Sticking to game plan key for Holm

LAST Saturday, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made a successful return to Southeast Asia with “UFC Fight Night 111” that had former women’s bantamweight champion Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm getting back on the winning track by beating Bethe “Pitbull” Correia by knockout in the third round, a product of successfully sticking to her game plan, one fight observer said.

UFC Singapore also saw two Filipino fighters -- CJ “Golden Boy” de Tomas and Rolando Dy -- make their UFC debut but failed to hack out wins. Mr. De Tomas slumped to a unanimous decision loss to Naoki Inoue while Mr. Dy lost to Alex Caceres by referee stoppage in the second round because of an eye injury.

Losing her three previous fights entering the contest, Ms. Holm made sure not to drop a fourth straight by displaying a more methodical style before unleashing the killer blows to bag the win.

The former champ seemed contented sizing up her opponent in the first two rounds, which the crowd at the Singapore Indoor Stadium did not like.

In the third round, Ms. Holm picked up the pace, connecting some hits with leg kicks and jabs.

Ms. Correia looked undeterred by it and even taunted her opponent.

But Ms. Holm would find an opening, landing a solid head kick that instantly fell Ms. Correia to the mat. The former then was able to throw another punch for the finish before the referee stopped the fight at the 1:09 mark of the round.

“It’s amazing to be back on the winning track. I know she (Correia) can make the fight messy but I want to make it clean. That’s was the plan. That was the goal -- to make a clean shot. There were a lot of people with me throughout these three losses who supported me. This fight is for them. I’m just gonna enjoy this first. It’s been more than a year since I last won,” said Ms. Holm, who improved to 11-3, after the win.

For Mike Miguel, combat sports writer for local sites and Tiebreaker Times, that Ms. Holm decided to go about it cautiously in the fight, while not exactly the most entertaining, proved to be the difference in her returning to winning.

“Holly Holm returned to the win column in the best way she could’ve ever imagined by sticking to her game plan. She stayed composed in spite of the rowdy Singaporean crowd who showered them with boos due to their “lack” of action in the first round and was rewarded with the highlight finish. She executed their plan very well,” said Mr. Miguel, who was on hand in Singapore for UFC Fight Night 111, when asked by BusinessWorld for his reaction to the Holm victory.

He also commended Filipinos De Tomas and Dy for making a good account of themselves despite the losses they absorbed in their debuts.

“Even with the outcome, De Tomas and Dy put on decent showings in their UFC debuts. De Tomas showed his sound ground game against the very scrappy Naoki Inoue. Unfortunately, the tough weight cut slowed him down in the latter parts of the fight. With Dy, he wasn’t able to finish the fight after the injury he suffered in his fight with Alex Caceres. But he showed the fighting spirit and the durability which impressed the Singaporean crowd,” Mr. Miguel said.

Next for the UFC is “UFC Fight Night 112” on June 25 in Oklahoma City that will feature the lightweight clash of Michael “Maverick” Chiesa (#7) against Kevin “The Motown Phenom” Lee (#12).

In the Philippines, Cignal TV, the country’s foremost direct-to-home (DTH) company, is the home of the UFC after the two groups agreed to an extensive deal that will see the UFC beamed on various platforms.