UFC Fight Night: Holly Holm vs. Mayra Bueno Silva might be the most APEX-y card that ever APEX-ed. Up top we have a former UFC champ, great, but below that… not a lot of names you’ll recognize or remember.
The drop off in talent here is pretty glaring when put against UFC 290 which went down last weekend. The difference in bookings really shows that, when it comes to fulfilling their ESPN quota of UFC fight night shows, the UFC will just put anything on. Expect them to start putting Slap Fights in the Octagon between fights pitting Contender Series vets against TUF washouts.
Anyways, despite the card being so lacklustre, we’ve still looked over the match-ups and selected who we think will win.
For the headliner, our staff is kinda split. But most of us believe that Holm still has enough left in the tank to turn away a younger fighter who is looking for the biggest win of her career.
Scroll down for the rest of our picks for UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Silva and let us know who you are picking in the comment section.
UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Silva picks
Holly Holm vs. Mayra Bueno Silva
Anton Tabuena: Wow, this Apex card just screams “UFC filler” for their ESPN event quotas again. Holm is 41, and while she has had a great career overall, it hasn’t been particularly easy to watch the last few years. Silva is a good grappler, but it’ll be hard to take Holm down, so I expect this to be spent mostly on the feet or clinched by the fence. A drop off due to her age could play a factor, but in that type of fight, I will still favor Holm, but I think it’ll be hard to watch again. Holly Holm by Decision.
Dayne: There’s a big part of me that wants to pick Bueno Silva. She’s much younger. She has a LOT less mileage than Holm on her body. She may even be the best grappler in the division too. The problem is figuring out how to get Holm to the mat, which is no easy task. Holm has only been taken down twice in her last nine contests, a stretch in which she faced the cream of the crop at both bantamweight and featherweight. Holm’s age allows for the possibility of her falling off a cliff at any point, but her recent performance against Yana Santos indicates she should still be good to go.
When it comes down to it, Bueno Silva would have to have shown notable strides in both her use of angles and her takedowns to make me feel confident in her beating Holm. Plus, Holm is going to have a notable strength advantage. Even if Bueno Silva manages to close the distance, I see Holm’s physicality proving to be an issue when they clinch up. The path to victory is there for Bueno Silva, but Holm is a big step up from where the Brazilian has recently been. Holm via decision
Chris: I’ll give Bueno Silva one thing, she is tough. She’s got a fair number of wins by submission but Holm has rarely been caught in her career, so look for that five round decision at the end of a six hour event full of people you’ve definitely heard of.
Victor: Mayra’s been putting in some work at ATT and looking great in her clips uploaded to social media. I just haven’t seen enough decline in Holm nor enough layers in Mayra’s game to go with the wild upset here. Holly Holm by decision.
Zane: Silva has the power and aggression to make this fight tough on Holm if she can keep her back off the fence (or the mat) for long enough to land the bigger, more impactful shots. Heck, there’s even a chance she’ll be able to toss up a submission. But, outside of one miracle moment for Miesha Tate back in 2016, Holm has been pretty much impossible to put in seriously bad positions on the mat. Given that Bueno Silva isn’t a great wrestler, and that most of her own style runs through an aggressive clinch game, this feels tailor made for Holm to grab hold of her and do some elite level cage pushing. Holly Holm by decision.
Bissell: Silva is ten years the junior of her UFC Fight Night main event opponent here. I think that gives her an energy advantage over the 41-year-old. But I think the aggression advantage is what wins this fight for her. I don’t think she will blast through Holm, not by any means. But I think she’ll spend most of the fight as the pursuer and back Holm up against the fence once or twice over a very dull five rounds. I don’t think Holm has the snap in her punches, or kicks, to prevent Silva from doing this (by either establishing the jab or scaring her with a counter). Marya Bueno Silva via decision.
Staff picking Holm: Ben, Dayne, Victor, Stephie, Jack, Zane, Eddie, Anton
Staff picking Bueno Silva: Chris, Lucas, Kristen, Bissell
Jack Della Maddalena vs. Bassil Hafez
Anton Tabuena: This should be pretty straight forward. Della Maddalena is legit and deserves to face top talent, but he is getting a short notice replacement that he will likely trounce. Jack Della Maddalena by TKO.
Dayne: Della Maddalena is one of the fastest rising stars in the UFC. I’m not even sure Hafez should be in the UFC. However, Della Maddalena had a camp and really didn’t want it to go to waste. Thus, Hafez was signed and Della Maddalena gets a fight. I can’t blame him. I really wouldn’t want to miss out on a paycheck either. Maddalena via TKO of RD1
Victor: I know Bassil, and had the pleasure of training with him exactly once while he lived in Philly. Love the guy. He’s a gem and he’s absolutely hilarious. His BJJ is nuts. He’s absolutely not favored in any way and I do not give a fuck, I ride for my homies. Bassil Hafez by submission.
Zane: I like Hafez’s chances a lot more than Harrell’s, I’ll say that much. Still, given how much he likes to stay at the edge of the pocket and extend boxing exchanges, I think he’s setting himself up to get melted on the end of a JDM combo. Jack Della Maddalena by KO, round 1.
Bissell: I wrote a whole oped on why it’s shitty to give Jack Della Maddalena a fighter off the street. At least with Josiah Harrell that awful match-making resulted in something good happening. Here JDM is again in a lose-lose situation and Hafez is in line for a serious beating. Jack Della Maddalena via TKO
Staff picking Della Maddalena: Dayne, Stephie, Jack, Zane, Eddie, Bissell, Kristen, Ben, Lucas, Anton
Staff picking Hafez: Victor
Albert Duraev vs. Park Jun Yong
Dayne: While I don’t hate this fight, this was the original co-main event? Blah! I digress.
Duraev has been inconsistent in his UFC run after looking like a world-beater in his DWCS appearance. His success appears to be dependent on his ability to make his opponents crack. Park has been incredibly tough to crack, but he has been cracked. However, Duraev needs to ensure he doesn’t crack himself under the pressure of Park. I’ve vacillated on this pick a lot, but I’ll go with my first instinct and say Park’s mental toughness will be superior. Park via decision
Victor: I really wanted to pick Park on the podcast this week, but Durav is probably gonna tank his way to a decision win. I’d love for Park to snag another sub win, but it don’t look to good for him from over here. Albert Duraev by decision.
Zane: I WANT Park to win this fight. I really like the ‘Iron Turtle’’s jab-heavy style, focus on combination punching, and fantastic top-game, focused on damaging GnP. But at just 5’10” he’s never going to be a physically imposing force at MW. His best performances come against opponents that he can draw into a war of technique where he has the advantage.
Against someone like Duraev, who’s a bit bigger and likely has the more technical wrestling game, I’m just not convinced that Park can force the Russian to either have to fight off his back, or keep it standing. Park’s never been impossible to take down, and if he has to out-scramble Duraev repeatedly, I can see him getting worn out. Albert Duraev by decision.
Bissell: Park has one of the best nicknames in the game and that’s enough for me to pick him in this one. Park Jun Yong via TKO
Staff picking Duraev: Chris, Victor, Jack, Zane, Eddie
Staff picking Park: Ben, Dayne, Lucas, Kristen, Stephie, Bissell, Anton
Norma Dumont vs. Chelsea Chandler
Dayne: Dumont has proven to be the most consistent mainstay of the featherweight division since Cyborg signed with Bellator. She’s durable, well-rounded, and steady in her pace. While that would be a limiting skill set in any other division, that’s all that she needs to be successful in the UFC’s featherweight division. There’s a very good chance that’s all she will need to overcome the inexperienced Chandler.
However, Chandler has a mean streak in her that leads me to believe she could become the new featherweight mainstay. Plus, she has a physicality in her that I could see the UFC opting to keep the division around should Chandler do what she is capable of doing to Dumont. There’s a very good chance Chandler isn’t quite there yet, but I’m going to take a chance and say she’s there. Besides, as respectable as Dumont has proven herself to be, she hasn’t proven herself to be anything special. Chandler via decision
Victor: Chandler moving back up to featherweight is interesting. I dunno, I like what I see from her and Dumont can be flustered standing. But Norma’s also got that farm strength and quicker hands. I’m gonna regret this, but look at this card. The UFC is clearly not invested in this shit, and neither am I. Norma Dumont by decision.
Zane: It’s not hard to see the shape of this fight. Dumont is going to get put on the back foot a lot, with Chandler wading in, firing in combination. Dumont is a much cleaner puncher and will get all the chances to land big counters she could ask for. But, if she can’t put Chandler away, she’s likely going to find herself getting tied up and swarmed. As long as Chandler can eat the shots, she’s likely the more bullying, aggressive fighter with a smoother, sub-hunting grappling game. I’ll take Chandler, by submission, round 2. But she’ll have to eat big shots to get there.
Bissell: Chandler is one of the more exciting fighters in the division because of her relentless and finish-heavy style. I don’t think Dumont represents Chandler’s ceiling, she’s too stiff and predictable. Chandler should be able to pull her into scrambles, win them and get a tap. Chelsea Chandler via submission
Staff picking Dumont: Ben, Lucas, Victor, Stephie, Jack
Staff picking Chandler: Chris, Dayne, Kristen, Zane, Eddie, Bissell, Anton
Ottman Azaitar vs. Francisco Prado
Dayne: Over the last five years, Azaitar has fought three times. He doesn’t have to fight to support himself. Fighting is more of a hobby for him. Now that he’s suffered his first professional loss, I have a hard time believing he’s about to get back on track. It is possible his experience outweighs the youthful aggression and athleticism of Prado, but I don’t see that happening; especially given Prado’s livelihood is fighting. Prado via TKO of RD1
Victor: I don’t trust the Azaitar brothers. These guys are too busy trying to play King Whisperer than actually fighting, and that’s leading to less-than-optimal results. Prado is very raw, but he’s got marvelous finishing instincts. Frankie Prads is gonna turn into Kato the White Ninja and rep Argentina hard as fuck. Let’s go. Francisco Prado by knockout.
Zane: Azaitar overthrows literally every single strike he tries for, and Prado underthrows practically every strike he tries for. As a result, Azaitar gets a lot more shocking first round finishes, but also seems much more prone to self destruction if he can’t get that finish. Prado’s got a chin on him that would make Drew Dober blush, so I guess I’ll pick him to survive the early barrage and rally back as Azaitar starts to fade, but this is going to be a very awkward fight. Francisco Prado via TKO, round 2.
Bissell: Potato bandit is going down. Francisco Prado via TKO
Staff picking Azaitar: Eddie
Staff picking Prado:Chris, Ben, Dayne, Lucas, Kristen, Victor, Stephie, Jack, Zane, Bissell, Anton
Terrance McKinney vs. Nazim Sadykhov
Dayne: This is not an easy contest to pick. If the fight goes beyond three minutes, McKinney is likely toast. Sadykhov’s only career loss was his official MMA debut, having shown toughness and far more stamina than McKinney ever has. However, he also has never faced anyone on the athletic level of McKinney. Granted, that is an exceptionally high level of athleticism, but that’s all the more reason to favor McKinney. It’s plausible McKinney will attempt a more mature approach, but I think he goes balls out again… and succeeds. McKinney via submission of RD1
I feel like five years ago McKinney should have been a low key or hardcore fan’s star by now. He’s like another Joe Lauzon, blazing from the opening bell and a kill or be killed style.
Victor: McKinney might have stronger wrestling chops, but Sakykhov hits hard and has very sharp positional awareness on the ground. His clinch is pretty slick, too. Going for the reckless underdog pick here. Naziim Sadykhov by TKO.
Zane: I get the feeling for Sadykhov that he’s still in a place where ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ so to speak. He’s got a really solid technical game, but tends to use it with an expectation that opponent just won’t know how to respond. So when someone does bite down and come back at him, he doesn’t look all that well prepared.
It’s something time and experience will fix. But it also may set him up for a hard loss in a fight like this. McKinney is trying to de-mess his game, which might give Sadykhov a better chance to be the more technical man out there, but McKinney is so damn fast, I still think he can shock a less experienced fighter. Terrence McKinney via submission, round 1.
Bissell: McKinney feels like one of those fighters who is just going to be up and down throughout his whole career, with plenty of highlights stemming from both zeniths and nadirs. For this one, I’ll take a punt on McKinney, seeing that I’ve not seen anything from Sadykhov that has been as impressive as McKinney when he’s ‘on’. Terrence McKinney by TKO
Staff picking McKinney: Chris, Dayne, Lucas, Kristen, Zane, Eddie, Bissell, Anton
Staff picking Sadykhov: Ben, Victor, Stephie, Jack
Tucker Lutz vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan
Dayne: I want to pick Lutz. He’s a hard-nosed throwback who does everything well; the type of fighter that dominated the UFC scene… about 15 years ago. Nowadays, the type of fighter who doesn’t excel in at least one area typically ends up only getting a cup of coffee in the UFC… if they make it at all. Well, at least those with the physical gifts of Lutz.
Baghdasaryan doesn’t have a huge athletic edge, but he is a phenomenal kickboxer. If Lutz can’t smother him from the get-go – and keep him smothered – it’s hard to believe he won’t get pieced up or knocked silly. Baghdasaryan via TKO of RD2
Victor: I always say that these cards are where the sausage is made, but holy shit. I’m just dreading the live broadcast experience for this. You’re gonna have to sit through nine hours of some real mid. Mick Maynard must’ve had a family birthday party or some shit and took the week off for this one. And I hope it goes great for him, because I know he’s reading this shit (hi, Mick!). Where was I? Oh, right, Tucker Lutz by decision.
Zane: I’m really just not at all convinced that…
To read the rest of our UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Bueno Silva staff picks head on over to Substack. Now that Bloody Elbow is a fully independent site the best way to support us, so that we can continue fearless coverage of combat sports, is to pick up a paid subscription. Paid subscribers help fund other exclusive content like editorials from Karim Zidan and Jonathan Snowden and investigations by John S. Nash.
Both Eddie and Dayne went 7-6 last week at UFC 260, meaning they are still locked into first and second places, though Anton did close in on them slightly. Those three are mostly picking the same fighters at UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Silva so there might be an opportunity for someone else to advance on the top three.
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