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UFC Vegas 77 preview: ‘Holm vs. Bueno Silva’ predictions

UFC Fight Night: Holm v Vieira Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is just one day away from the upcoming UFC Vegas 77 mixed martial arts (MMA) event, which is set to go down tomorrow night (Sat., July 15, 2023) on ESPN and ESPN+ from inside the promotion’s APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring a women’s bantamweight main event between former 135-pound champion Holly Holm and No. 10-ranked contender Mayra Bueno Silva, a five-round headliner with major title implications for late 2023 and beyond.

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!

Before we dive into the main and co-main events, which includes the welterweight scrap between Jack Della Maddalena and Bassil Hafez, check out Patrick Stumberg’s breakdowns for the UFC Vegas 77 preliminary card — which he wrote after snapping out of his combat sports apathy — by clicking here and here. For the latest “Holm vs. Bueno Silva” odds and betting lines courtesy of our fiscal friends over at Draft Kings go here.

For the rest of the UFC Vegas 77 main card predictions click here.

135 lbs.: Holly Holm vs. Mayra Bueno Silva

Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm

Record: 15-6 | Age: 41 | Betting line: -150
Wins: 8 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 7 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 4 DEC
Height: 5’8“ | Reach: 69” | Stance: Southpaw
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.17 | Striking accuracy: 40%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 2.77 | Striking Defense: 56%
Takedown Average: 0.92 (31% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 78%
Current Ranking: No. 3 | Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Yana Santos

Mayra “Sheetara” Bueno Silva

Record: 10-2-1 | Age: 31 | Betting line: +125
Wins: 1 KO/TKO, 7 SUB, 2 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 2 DEC
Height: 5’6“ | Reach: 66” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.20 | Striking accuracy: 54%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 4.71 | Striking Defense: 58%
Takedown Average: 0.38 (50% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 67%
Current Ranking: No. 10 | Last fight: Submission win over Lina Lansberg

Holly Holm will forever be remembered as the fighter who exposed Ronda Rousey, smashing and trashing “Rowdy” in the UFC 193 main event back in late 2015. Unfortunately her career was never the same after that and “The Preacher’s Daughter” would go on to post a losing record in the years that followed (5-6), which includes an 0-4 mark in championship title fights, spread across two divisions. In addition, Holm has only scored one finish since planishing Rousey “Down Under” and that came nearly six years ago against Brazilian punching bag Bethe Correia. Prior to her career in MMA, which came about because female boxers are criminally underpaid, Holm was a decorated pugilist with multiple world titles. She’s also a big, athletic bantamweight who is difficult to push around. Much to the chagrin of cagefighting fans, Holm strikes like she’s still a boxer, which means a more patient, technical approach with lots of feints and jabs. It’s a style that works for her and “The Preacher’s Daughter” shines when it comes to counter-punching. It’s just not an exciting style for the JUST BLEED generation. We’ve also seen an increase in takedowns from the former champion, which may be a byproduct of her knockout loss to Amanda Nunes. Post “Lioness,” Holm shot for 29 takedowns and landed nine.

Mayra Bueno Silva came to UFC roughly five years ago by submitting Mayana Souza dos Santos on the Brazilian version of Dana White’s “Contender Series” in August 2018. “Sheetara” got off to a rough start, posting a 2-2 record with one majority draw but has since found her groove, racking up three straight wins over the last two years. Silva is a dangerous grappler and four of her five wins have come by way of tapout and I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out she’ll try to avoid a standup war against a far superior striker. Despite her submission loss to Miesha Tate, the aging Holm is not completely inept on the ground and should be able to escape most predicaments on sheer athleticism — assuming she ends up on the ground at all. Silva has been outwrestled in all but one of her UFC fights and only has a takedown accuracy of 50 percent. On top of that, Silva has never come close to facing the level of competition that Holm has been paired with — consistently — over the last eight years and the one time she got tested against a dangerous contender in the form of Manon Fiorot, “Sheetara” lost a fairly convincing decision. Silva will be a threat for all five rounds simply because of her advanced grappling skills, but this feels like a fight that was tailor-made for Holm, who can spend 25 minutes playing Whack-A-Mole en route to a comfortable sweep on the judges’ scorecards.

Prediction: Holm def. Silva by decision

170 lbs.: Jack Della Maddalena vs. Bassil Hafez

Jack Della Maddalena

Record: 14-2 | Age: 26 | Betting line: -600
Wins: 11 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 1 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 0 DEC
Height: 5’11“ | Reach: 73” | Stance: Switch
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 8.27 | Striking accuracy: 49%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 4.29 | Striking Defense: 68%
Takedown Average: 0.00 (0% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 71%
Current Ranking: No. 14 | Last fight: Submission win over Randy Brown

Basel “Badre” Hafez

Record: 8-3-1 | Age: 31 | Betting line: +425
Wins: 1 KO/TKO, 4 SUB, 3 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 3 DEC
Height: 5’10“ | Reach: 73” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 0.00 | Striking accuracy: 0%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 0.00 | Striking Defense: 0%
Takedown Average: 0.00 (0% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 0%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Knockout win over Evan Cutts

For the second straight week, the promotion will ask a red-hot, blue-chip prospect with a ton of hype to steamroll fight whatever warm body matchmakers could find both on weight and on short notice, not an easy task when you’re just a few days away from fight night. At UFC 290 it was Bo Nickal vs. Valentine Woodburn, a bout that ended just like every other one of Nickal’s fights, early in the opening frame. At UFC Vegas 77, it will be Jack Della Maddalena taking on Bassil Hafez, a durable but somewhat unspectacular welterweight who’s been bouncing around the regional circuit for the last few years. It’s challenging to critique Hafez without sounding disrespectful but I’m not calling my friends and family to share the news of his submission win over Jerome Mickle, who’s 3-13 and coming off nine straight losses. Other notable victories came over the 0-1 Kendrick Mendez and the 4-9-1 Smith Amisial. Kinda hard to build a case for “Badre” upsetting a welterweight smashing machine who not only comes into this fight with a full camp, but an incredible 14-fight winning streak. In addition, 13 of those wins came by way of knockout or submission, eight within the first frame. I know a lot of up-and-coming prospects get overhyped only to lay an egg, like Edmen Shahbazyan and Raul Rosas Jr., but Maddalena keeps winning and made quick work of Randy Brown, a durable UFC veteran with 16 Octagon fights under his belt.

Maddalena is an aggressive fighter who isn’t afraid to get hit if it means getting in position to unleash hell. That gives Hafez an opening if he can capitalize on it, but I find it hard to believe that “Badre” can succeed where others — like the venerable Brown — have failed. Hafez is basically coming off the couch and right into the lion’s den against a killer who wants to keep his name in the headlines as UFC starts to assemble the UFC 293 fight card for later this year in Sydney. Not unlike the Nickal laugher, I would be shocked if this fight saw a second round, proving what we already know about prospects versus veterans from Conor McGregor’s weekly goose egg on TUF 31.

Prediction: Maddalena def. Hafez by technical knockout

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the UFC Vegas 77 main card predictions RIGHT HERE. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 77 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN/ESPN+ main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 77 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archives here and here. For the updated and finalized “Holm vs. Bueno Silva” fight card and ESPN/ESPN+ line up click here.

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