The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s return to Singapore proved to be a boon for favorites, with one notable exception.
Former Shooto Pacific Rim champion Yuta Sasaki submitted Justin Scoggins with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their preliminary flyweight clash at UFC Fight Night “Holm vs. Correia” on Saturday at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. Sasaki entered the cage as a +420 underdog, per BetDSI.com, and brought it to a close 3:19 into Round 2.
For more than a round, Scoggins (-550) lived up to the expectations of oddsmakers. The 25-year-old executed a takedown, outstruck Sasaki by a wide margin -- 74-25 in total strikes, according to FightMetric data -- and knocked down the Japanese standout inside the first five minutes. His fortunes changed in the middle stanza. The American Top Team rep moved to top position and appeared to be on his way to a two-rounds-to-none lead, only to see Sasaki turn the tables, sweep into mount and advance to the back. Soon after, the choke was in place. Scoggins fought to free himself, but the squeeze was too much to overcome.
Sasaki, 27, netted a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus for his efforts and improved to 3-3 under the UFC flag. All three of those victories have resulted in rear-naked chokes, with Scoggins, Willie Gates and Roland Delorme serving as the victims.
Holly Holm did not share Scoggins’ fate. The biggest favorite on the card at -640, the onetime UFC women’s bantamweight titleholder waded through two uneventful rounds before knocking out Bethe Correia with a head kick in the main event. Correia (+425) checked out 1:09 into Round 3 and did so in utterly embarrassing fashion.
In the third round, Correia lowered her hands and beckoned the Jackson-Wink MMA mainstay forward. A composed and calculated Holm (-640) answered the Brazilian’s taunts with a shin to the face. Correia collapsed to a seated position on the canvas, where she was met with a crushing left hand before referee Marc Goddard could intervene on her behalf.
The win was Holm’s first since she upset Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 in November 2015 and snapped a three-fight losing streak in which “The Preacher’s Daughter” had dropped back-to-back-to-back bouts to Miesha Tate, Valentina Shevchenko and Germaine de Randamie. Like Sasaki, Holm was awarded a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus for her work.