UFC returns to Singapore this weekend for the first time in 2017 with women’s Bantamweight fighters Holly Holm and Beth Correira in the main event and Dong Hyun Kim battling Colby Covington in the co-main event. The Asian fans are all seemingly rallying behind Kim to win the bout and take Asian MMA to the next level.
Apart from that, both Rafael Dos Anjos and Tarec Saffiedine are looking to break their losing streak as RDA makes his welterweight debut. Whereas, Marcin Tybura is focused on truly announcing himself to the 265 pounds division against a legendary but fading Andre Arvloski.
MMA is a highly unpredictable sport. It just requires a split second for a fighter to get knocked-out, it just takes a split second for someone to get caught inside a dangerous guard and get choked out. However, fans and pundits alike, still try to predict the outcome of the fights of such an unforeseeable sport. Thus, here are my predictions for the upcoming UFC Fight Night: Singapore.
Andre Arvloski vs. Marcin Tybura
Andre Arvloski-Marcin Tybura bout has all the necessary ingredients to be a classic barn-burner. This is a bout between a fighter who might soon be cut from the roster and a fighter who is on an all-time high and is hungry to rise-up to upper echelons of the division. The stage is set and the stakes are high. This fight surely has the potential to win Fight of the Night honours, as this fight is stylistically highly enthralling.
Arvloski hasn’t got the iron chin, he once possessed during his prime and has changed his fighting style to a less aggressive Jackson Wink based chin-conservation style of fighting. Thus, the 38-year old veteran will most likely drop back towards the cage and will look to counter-strike. On the other hand, Tybura is a young 31-year old fighter with buckets full of potential. The Polish fighter has a highly aggressive and powerful wrestling and grappling based style of fighting. He has ferocious ground-and-pound as well as some nasty submissions in his arsenal. He will use his aggressive grappling to try to extend his current two-fight win streak.
Make no mistake Andre Arvloski is a legend. He is a former UFC Heavyweight champion and is one of the fighters responsible for bringing mainstream attention towards MMA’s Heavyweight division. However, he is way past his prime and will likely struggle against the young Tybura. ‘Tybur’ is the dark horse of the division and his ferocious ground-and-pound will probably put the “Pitbull” to sleep.
Prediction: Tybura via round 2 TKO.
Tarec Saffiedine vs. Rafael Dos Anjos
Rafael Dos Anjos is a former UFC Lightweight champion and till a year ago was considered to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. However, he lost the belt to Eddie Alvarez and was again conquered by the phenomenal Tony Ferguson. He then announced his move up to the 170 pounds division citing difficulty in cutting weight. He is making his welterweight debut against Tarec Saffiedine. The Belgian has a MMA record of 16-6, and just like RDA, he is currently on a two-fight losing streak as well. When they lock horns on Saturday, both fighters will be hoping to get back to winning ways.
“Sponge” vs. RDA is a fight between two elite strikers. RDA is a third degree Muay Thai black-belt, whereas the Belgian is a high level Shihaishinkai Karate black-belt with a storied amateur Kickboxing career as well. However, both fighters have showed some faults in their striking in recent fights. The former Strikeforce champion has struggled against aggressive strikers who use a high-pressure style of fighting, whereas RDA’s striking defense hasn’t been quite top-notch in his last two defeats.
Both fighters also possess dangerous and highly underrated grappling skills. However, the outcome of this fight will most likely be decided on the feet. RDA is well renowned for his high-pressure striking and will utilise that against Saffiedine. He’ll also occasionally utilise his wrestling and secure a takedown. RDA and his high-pressure fighting style are quite simply the Belgian’s kryptonite.
Prediction: RDA via unanimous decision.
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Colby Covington
The South Korean Kim is ranked #7 in the UFC Welterweight rankings, whereas Colby Covington is still an unranked fighter. This fight has a lot of significance for both these fighters. Kim is looking to continue his rise to the top of the 170 pounds division while Covington is hopeful of defeating a top ten ranked fighter.
Stylistically, this is a fascinating fight between two great grapplers. Kim is an elite fourth Dan black-belt in Judo, while Covington is a former NCAA Division 1 wrestler. Even though both fighters excel at grappling, they still possess more than decent striking skills. The “Stun Gun” usually prefers to fully utilise his long reach and throws some big punches from outside the “pocket”. While the American excels at using dirty boxing. Covington’s usage of dirty boxing will surely help him negate the threat of Kim’s long reach.
The American will use his NCAA wrestling credentials to take this fight to the ground and will most likely control the fight from the top position. This bout will surely go to the judges’ scorecards and some of the casual fans might find it to be a bit monotonous.
Prediction: Colby Covington via unanimous decision.
Holly Holm vs. Bethe Correia
Holly Holm had the world at her feet when she defeated Ronda Rousey. She was expected to take the MMA world by storm, she was expected to rule over the women’s 135 pounds division for at least a couple of years. However, she lost her first title defense to Miesha Tate and has now faced a hattrick of losses. On the other hand, Correia’s claim to fame was when she trash-talked Ronda Rousey into fighting her. Though, it took Rousey a mere 34 seconds to show Correia that she was way out of her depth.
Holm is currently on a three-fight losing streak, whereas the Brazilian has a record of 1-2-1 in her last four fights. Thus, it’s safe to say that both fighters are in desperate need for a victory.
“The Preacher’s Daughter” is one of the most techincally sound strikers in MMA. She has got great kicks and even better boxing skills. Fighters such as Ronda Rousey and Raquel Pennington can vouch for Holm’s phenomenal striking ability. “The Foot” too is a good boxer, she isn’t the most athletic striker but makes up for it with her technical soundness and energy. However, her striking isn’t at par with Holm’s.
The Jackson-Wink trainee also has a huge reach advantage over her opponent which will only make it difficult for the Brazilians to successfully exchange strikes with the former champion. Holm has also shown more than satisfactory takedown defense as witnessed in her fights against ferocious grapplers such as Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. Thus, it’s highly unlikely that the Brazilian will be able to take Holly down.
Holm usually seems to struggle against sluggers. Though, one of Correia’s major weaknesses is that she doesn’t hit hard. Thus, Holm will most likely win the fight against Bethe with relative ease.
Prediction: Holly Holm via round 3 TKO.