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UFC Austin - New Blood: Paulo Costa’s buddy

UFC Fight Night Weigh-in Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

Octagon debuts may not always come in a timely fashion, but at least the delays add some intrigue. On this edition of “New Blood,” the series where Brazil’s major organizations seem hell-bent on only keeping the events I’m looking for off of YouTube, we check out a young Flyweight finisher — who hasn’t seen action since 2019 — competing at UFC Austin this weekend (Sat., June 18, 2022) inside Texas’ Moody Center.

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 79 On ESPN+

HIGH STAKES LIGHTWEIGHT MATCHUP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX on Sat., Sept. 23, 2023, with a high stakes 155-pound showdown as No. 6-ranked contender, Rafael Fiziev, takes on No. 7-seeded Mateusz Gamrot. In UFC Vegas 79’s co-main event, No. 12-ranked Featherweight contender, Bryce Mitchell, steps back into the Octagon against No. 13-seeded Dan Ige.

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

Natalia Silva

Weight Class: Flyweight
Age: 25
Record: 12-5-1 (3 KO, 7 SUB)
Notable Victories: Gabriela Marcal

Silva, a teammate of Paulo Costa, started her professional career 1-3 before making a name for herself on the Brazilian circuit. She’s won six straight since a 2017 decision loss to Marina Rodriguez, claiming and defending the Jungle Fight Flyweight title along the way.

This will be her first appearance in nearly 30 months.

On the feet, Silva relies on constant movement, regular stance switches, and rapid punching flurries preceded and/or succeeded by heavy kicks. She’s got solid pop in her hands, enough cardio to maintain her pace all the way into the championship rounds, and times her counters quite well.

When she limits her combinations to, say, <=3 punches and a kick, there’s really not a lot to dislike; it’s when she tries to lengthen them that issues arise. Her head flat-out does not move when she’s throwing and her punches quickly turn into flailing swings after the first few, making her extremely vulnerable to counters. She generally does a decent job of using her feet to get out of range, but there are times when she’ll plant them and slug it out where it feels like any opponent with the composure to throw back will level her.

Her grappling is effective but odd. In the footage I’ve seen, she exclusively used clinch takedowns to bring it to the mat, often using her flurries to bring her opponents’ hands up and allow her to wrap up a body lock. When she can either land in a dominant position or quickly pass guard, she’ll work her way to mount and look for the armbar that’s accounted for six of her seven submission finishes. When she can’t, she’s seemingly content to posture up for a few heavy punches and then let her opponent back up. While I get that she’s justifiably confident in her striking, it’s a very singular approach.

Also, she tends to telegraph the armbar and leaves enough room in transition for a grappling-savvy opponent to work her way free.

Flyweight’s top-heavy enough that she might be able to work her way into the top 20 just with her speed, power, and volume. That said, she’ll have to have tightened up most aspects of her game during her time away if she wants to be a genuine contender.

Opponent: She has a difficult task ahead of her in the towering Jasmine Jasudavicius. The Canadian vet did a solid job of shutting down Kay Hansen’s wrestling and should be able to control the striking with her height and length. Again, Silva’s had a lot of time to improve, but the version that last entered the cage loses a decision.


Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Austin fight card right here, starting with the ESPN2/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Austin: “Emmett vs. Kattar” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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