UFC Fight Night: Holly Holm vs. Mayra Bueno Silva – Fights to make

All the best, most interesting, and unquestionably coolest fights that need booking from UFC Fight Night: Holly Holm vs. Mayra Bueno Silva.

By: Zane Simon | 2 months ago

UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Bueno Silva wasn’t too bad all things considered. For a card booked to be unappealing to the eye, it crowned a new contender in the women’s bantamweight division. Otherwise Bassil Hafez made the best of a short notice debut loss, and Francisco Prado got a chance to re-introduce himself to the UFC fanbase.

So, is there any reason Mayra Bueno Silva should have to wait for her bantamweight title shot? Can Jack Della Maddalena really hang with the best at 170 lbs? And is Park Jun-yong a dark horse in the middleweight division?

To answer those questions—even that’s a stretch—I’ll be using the classic Silva/Shelby fight booking methodology from the UFC of years past. That means pitting winners against winners, losers against losers, and similarly tenured talent up against one another. Hopefully, by following that model, a few of these bout ideas will actually make it off the page and into the Octagon. Now, let’s get to the fights!


The biggest of big nights for Mayra Bueno Silva. The Brazilian has been flying far under the radar for most of her UFC career to this point, despite five years of work inside the Octagon and a 5-2-1 record with four finishes to date. Largely that’s been because of her time spent at 125 lbs, where she built a reputation for being a fun action fighter, but not someone who seemed primed for a climb to contention. Since moving to bantamweight, however, it’s been nothing but smooth sailing for ‘Sheetara’.

The 31-year-old is now 4-0 in her new division and her latest victory has her suddenly positioned as a prime title challenger. Holly Holm made an absolute nuisance of herself among the contender class over the last three years, taking out Raquel Pennington, Irene Aldana, and Yana Santos all by fairly uninspiring decision, while just barely losing a split to Ketlen Vieira. She’s kept the gates in a division that has felt unrelentingly stagnant. All of which made Saturday night feel like a breath of fresh air.

Holm opened the bout doing all of what has kept her such a difficult problem for most of her opponents to solve. Pushing forward with quick combination blitzes, using her size and strength to bully Bueno Silva in the clinch and drive her to the cage, generally dragging the fight into a slow paced contest of physicality. The kind of bout the ‘Preacher’s Daughter’ tends to win. It’s also a fight that anyone prepping for Holm should have seen several times before. Credit to the American Top Team talent, Bueno Silva was ready to take advantage.

September 20, 2022, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: JULIANNA PENA participates in a Q&A session prior to the UFC 289 ceremonial weigh-in at Rogers Arena on June 09, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Vancouver Canada - ZUMAc132 20220920_zap_c132_001 Copyright: xAndrewxChinx
The former champ has a new challenger. Imago/Zuma Wire

Early in round 2, when Holm pushed her to the cage and started looking for grinding control positions, she ducked down for a possible double leg. That’s when Bueno Silva wrapped up her neck with a standing ninja choke. Holm fought it off for as long as she could. But she was stuck. The fight was over.

After the bout Bueno Silva made it clear, she wants a title shot against Julianna Pena. By rights, that chance should probably go to Raquel Pennington—who is on a five fight winning streak, against generally better competition. But there’s something Pennington couldn’t do, even with two chances at it, and that’s beat Holly Holm.

Bueno Silva may not be as tenured or as decorated. She may not even be as deserving. But she’s doing the most important thing in prize fighting, which is to make herself exciting at a moment when the division needs excitement. There’s just no doubt about it, Marya Bueno Silva vs. Julianna Pena would be a more thrilling title fight than Pena vs. Pennington. And if ‘Rocky’ really is set on her own title hopes, then she can just wait and get the winner of that fight. It’s not like there’s any other contender ready to go.


I don’t ever want to be a person that cheers when a fighter loses. After all, everyone who steps into the Octagon is taking risks and pursuing a dream unique to them. But, this day has needed to come for a while now. Holm has been locked in as the second or third best fighter at 135 ever since she lost to Miesha Tate back in 2016.

Holm has plugged away for years, slowly getting more risk averse, less dynamic, and more prone to using positional dominance to gut out wins over top ranked opponents. Even when Ketlen Vieira managed to sneak out a win against her in 2022, all it really did was make Vieira look less like a potential must see challenger for the belt. Holm’s win over Irene Aldana was a dire omen as to the Mexican’s chances when she stepped into the cage with Amanda Nunes back in June. Basically, if Holly Holm could make you look bad, then Amanda Nunes was going to be a huge problem.

MMA: UFC 196-Holm vs Tate, March 5, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Miesha Tate applies a chokehold to win by submission against Holly Holm during UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports, 05.03.2016 21:24:55, 9161308, NPStrans, Miesha Tate, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Holly Holm, MMA, TopPic PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xMarkxJ.xRebilasx 9161308
No better time for former foes to meet again. IMAGO/USA TODAY Network

It’s absolutely thrilling then that Mayra Bueno Silva managed to definitively beat the former champion.

With Nunes now retired though, it means Holm isn’t exactly way out of her long standing role. She’s still very firmly in the top 5, has recent wins over Aldana and Pennington. This loss might drop her to the five spot, but that’s still very much ‘in the mix.’ If Ketlen Vieira weren’t booked I’d say she could use a rematch, It wouldn’t be the worst idea for Aldana either. I’d more likely suggest a fight with Karol Rosa next, since she really needs a win like Holm on her resume if she’s going to contend.

The real answer, however, is much more obvious. Miesha Tate recently stepped back up to the women’s bantamweight division and is still harboring dreams of being champ again. She beat Holm to win the belt once before, can she still do it? If Tate can beat Holm, she’ll be right in the conversation for a title shot. If she can’t, then she shouldn’t be in the conversation anyway. Holm vs. Tate 2 is the fight to make.


It’s not the win anyone expected from Jack Della Maddalena, but it is still a win. He showed off the variety, fluidity, and power of his striking against Bassil Hafez over and over again. But he also got caught a lot hanging out in the pocket looking to lengthen exchanges, and got taken down enough times that a few (wildly foolish) people even thought he might have lost.

May 12, 2023, Charlotte, NC, North Carolina, USA: CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - May 12: Alex Morono poses on the scales at ceremonial weigh ins ahead of UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs Almeida on May 12th, 2023 at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States. Charlotte, NC USA - ZUMAp175 20230512_zsa_p175_111 Copyright: xMattxDaviesx
We’re gonna need a bigger boat. IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

A win is a win is a win, so it’s not a setback, but it does feel like the planned bout against Sean Brady back at UFC 290 would have gone exceptionally poorly had it come to fruition. Whatever Della Maddalena does next, jumping for guillotines needs to be removed from the equation.

If the UFC wants to match the Aussie up against top 15 competition again, however, there is the potential for a fight with Neil Magny. Magny’s clinch grappling would likely be a huge problem for the 26-year-old, but the ‘Haitian Sensation’ has also had his fair share of struggles with powerful strikers over the years. Still, I think this is the moment to tread a little water and take a less difficult test.

Alex Morono is a hell of a lot of fun and a pretty crafty vet. If JDM is going to make the kind of errors he did against Hafez, he may find them a lot more costly. At the same time, he’s also struggled a lot with dynamic strikers. Morono vs. Della Maddalena seems like a good way to see if the Scrappy MMA talent is really ready for the elite.


This is the reason I’ve become such a big fan of Park Jun-yong over the years. Few fighters out there really have styles based on building momentum and using early setups to create later openings. For most, they might using combinations to sneak in a shot or they might be great at seeing opportunities as they present themselves, but the idea of layering strikes and using early feints and setups to create later exchanges is just a step too far.

Park excels at that kind of fight however, and his win over Albert Duraev was a shining example. The first round largely operated behind the South Korean’s busy jab as Duraev looked to land the bigger, harder punches and set up takedowns. As that jab began to bust Duraev’s nose up however and become a more persistent nuisance that he couldn’t ignore, it forced the Dagestani’s guard higher and made put him more firmly on the retreat. From there Park started digging to the body, sapping Duraev’s strength and draining his cardio as he constantly circled backwards. The end followed shortly afterwards.

It’s too bad that Sean Strickland has kept himself in a much higher profile at 185, because I’d love to see Park vs. Strickland at some point. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Park against Brendan Allen, but both those fights may be a little out of reach at just this moment. Most likely fights like Caio Borralho or Armen Petrosyan are the kind of bouts we’ll see. Hell Petrosyan looked pretty good last time out. Park Jun-Yong vs. Armen Petrosyan would be a really fun bout.


What the hell is the UFC really doing with women’s featherweight. The recent release of Bea Malecki seemed to suggest that the promotion was on the verge of shutting things down at 145—an end game that former UFC fighter Megan Anderson has claimed is on the horizon for years now. Practically everyone in the division right now has competed at 135 in the not to distant past and could probably cut back down if required.

At the same time, it also seems like they’ve got more women fighting at featherweight than ever. Seven at current count. Norma Dumont vs. Josiane Nunes is the fight to make at 145 if the UFC is going to continue this farce. If they’re not, then send Dumont down to 135 and match her up with Macy Chiasson I guess? Could even do Irene Aldana if they wanted.


It’s not exactly happening in leaps and bounds, but Melsik Baghdasaryan is slowly becoming a better MMA fighter. Even he himself admitted he has a ways to go, after getting repeatedly taken down and held by Tucker Lutz, but he’s making the best use of his time standing when he gets it, and picking his strikes really well against his opposition. If he can manage his wrestling defense a bit better (or even just his get-ups) he could be a real handful.

If the UFC wants to really test him on that front, right now, they could put him in against Pat Sabatini, but that seems a little too much of a miserable matchup in the moment. Nate Landwehr is coming off a loss, but he’d be a guaranteed thriller, as would Bill Algeo. If Choi Dooho is still planning on fighting, that seems like a perfect next step. The ‘Korean Superboy’ is a constant whirlwind of violence and willing to make himself a threat everywhere. He’s also fragile enough that Baghdasaryan would have a chance to really shine if he can keep it standing and land his shots. Choi vs. Baghdasaryan would be a thriller.

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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