Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Women’s Featherweight contenders Holly Holm and Mayra Bueno Silva will clash TONIGHT (Sat., July 15, 2023) at UFC Vegas 77 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Provided she doesn’t fall off an athletic cliff in the next 12 months, it’s a shockingly good time to be Holly Holm right now. With Amanda Nunes retired, she has a pretty clear path back to the 135-pound title. Plus, there’s rumors of Ronda Rousey returning — could you imagine a more lucrative rematch? Meanwhile, Bueno Silva has quietly built up a 5-2-1 UFC record in the last five years. The relative lack of hype is due to a slow rate of activity between two divisions, but she’s won her last three fights leading into this first main event slot.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each woman:
Key Wins: Ronda Rousey (UFC 193), Irene Aldana (UFC Fight Island 4), Raquel Pennington (UFC 246, UFC 184), Megan Anderson (UFC 225), Marion Reneau (UFC Fight Night 71)
Key Losses: Amanda Nunes (UFC 239), Cris Cyborg (UFC 219), Germaine de Randamie (UFC 208), Miesha Tate (UFC 196), Valentina Shevchenko (UFC on FOX 20), Ketlen Vieira (UFC Vegas 55)
Keys to Victory: Holm is a fighter who’s game will never fully make sense to me. The boxing champion’s boxing is ... not that great? Conversely, her kicking is world class, and her dedication to improving her wrestling over the years has been really admirable. More than anything else, Holm’s physicality and conditioning make the difference.
Not that long ago, Bueno Silva faced off against Manon Fiorot at 125 lbs. The French Southpaws combination of strength and range kickboxing really shut down the Brazilian, who couldn’t get any part of her game flowing.
Good thing Holm has the skills to do the exact same thing! “The Preacher’s Daughter” has the movement and kicking game to outpoint Bueno Silva, who lands her best shots in the pocket and likes to wrestle from close as well. Holm can deny her that preferred range, and if Bueno Silva tries to press really aggressively, then the reactive takedowns open up.
In short, this is a perfect style match up for the former champion.
Mayra Bueno Silva
Key Wins: Lina Lansberg (UFC Vegas 69), Gillian Robertson (UFC Fight Night 137), Stephanie Egger (UFC Vegas 57)
Key Losses: Manon Fiorot (UFC Vegas 40), Maryna Moroz (UFC Fight Night 170)
Keys to Victory: Bueno Silva is a grappler first and foremost. She’s finished seven of her opponents via submission, but the Brazilian has also shown good improvement on her feet, recently out-striking Wu Yanan en route to a decision victory.
Still, she’s going to have to score a takedown here. She doesn’t have the range technique or general fluidity to compete with Holm on the feet for the entire fight, as she’ll surely end up outpointed. Instead, her path to victory lies on the canvas.
On the whole, Holm’s takedown defense relies more on range control than stellar wrestling technique. Therefore, if Bueno Silva can find a way to close the distance, she actually stands a decent shot at dragging this fight to the canvas. Primarily, she can do so by cutting off the cage. Holm does good work in moving and changing direction, but patient ring-cutting can still trap her along the fence.
Silva absolutely cannot follow, that’s when Holm looks her sharpest. If she can head Holm off, however, she can force exchanges more often and try to get her takedowns going.
This could be a title eliminator.
Holm is the biggest active star at 135/145 pounds. It doesn’t matter if it’s been years and years, the Ronda Rousey knockout lives on in the public consciousness! If victorious here, Holm will have won two in a row, as well as four in her last five. That’s easy grounds for a vacant title shot, and she stands a fair chance at defeating anyone in the division.
Given that Holm is 41, that’s a wild statement.
As for Bueno Silva, this is a really massive step up in competition, seeing as she’s never beaten a Top 10 opponent previously. If she can succeed, she’s a sudden and unexpected addition to the title mix. I don’t know that she’s guaranteed a shot at gold just yet, but she would leave the cage as a real player at 135 pounds.
At UFC Vegas 77, Holly Holm and Mayra Bueno Silva will go to war in the main event. Which woman has her hand raised?
Remember that MMAmania.com 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+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN/ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET.
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