UFC Vegas 77 went down last night (Sat., July 15, 2023) inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring a shocking result in the main event as Mayra Bueno Silva submitted former women’s Bantamweight champion, Holly Holm, in the opening seconds of round two (see it again here). In the co-main event, Bassil Hafez nearly pulled off his own upset after giving Jack Della Maddalena all he could handle for 15 minutes, ultimately coming up on the wrong end of a split decision.
Biggest Winner: Mayra Bueno Silva
This one is no surprise after Silva scored the biggest win of her mixed martial arts (MMA) career, forcing Holm to tap to a rare ninja choke in round two, pulling off one of the bigger upsets in recent memory. The win was the Brazilian’s fourth straight on her recent hot streak, but this is the victory that will put her closer to the Top 5. Whether or not it puts her in title contention straight away (or with another one) remains to be seen, but she is sitting pretty as a new legit contender at Bantamweight. And not to mention she picked up a cool $50,000 post-fight bonus for “Performance of the Night,” her second in a row. Indeed, she is flying under the radar no more.
Runner (s) Up: Jack Della Maddalena and Bassil Hafez
So, I may catch some flack for this one because there are some who felt Maddalena was somewhat exposed by a newcomer in a split decision win, but these two men share the nod here for different reasons. Maddalena got his much-desired fight before heading back to Australia after his UFC 290 plans went out the window, but he got more than he bargained for against late call-up, Hafez, who took him all the way and nearly pulled off the upset. That said, despite showing some holes in his game, Maddalena also demonstrated that just because his fight didn’t end in the first round like his previous four UFC bouts did, doesn’t mean that he can’t adjust in the face of adversity. The Aussie gutted through to persevere against a tough opponent and won his fourth straight post-fight bonus award (watch your back, Charles), though he will need to tighten up a few things if he gets matched up against Sean Brady again.
That said, give credit where credit is due because it didn’t all have to do with what Maddalena did wrong, but a lot with what Hafez did right. Not once did he back down, not once did he wither and opt to just roll over and become a sacrificial lamb to one of the hottest prospects in the sport. On the contrary, Hafez made the most of his moment and nearly shocked the world with a huge upset. In defeat — and his first fight inside the Octagon — Hafez showed that he does belong with the big boys and after going back to the lab to sharpen his tools, the former Fury FC Welterweight champion could very well be a player in the division sooner rather than later.
Biggest Loser: Holly Holm
After Amanda Nunes retired from the fight game — vacating both the women’s Featherweight and Bantamweight titles — Holm was sitting pretty as one of the top three choices to fight for the open belt next, with Julianna Pena and Raquel Pennington being the other two. All she had to do was get through Bueno Silva and play the waiting game. Unfortunately for “The Preacher’s Daughter,” she didn’t anticipate getting strangled by a ninja choke — though I did feel that would be the most likely way she’d lose pre-fight — by the No. 10-seeded fighter in the division. Now, Holm will likely lose her No. 3 ranking as she heads back to the drawing board to regroup. And the option to move right back up to Featherweight isn’t exactly a lock because there is no telling if the promotion will decide to keep it around with “Lioness” no longer in the conversation and Ronda Rousey shutting down rumors of her return to save the division. Holm 41, is just 1-2 in her last three fights and has a lot to think about regarding her next step.
For complete UFC Vegas 77: “Holm vs. Bueno Silva” results and play-by-play, click HERE.