Bruno Silva vs. Tyson Nam prediction | UFC Vegas 71
Bruno “Bulldog” Silva, 32, returns to the octagon on Saturday night after nearly a two-year layoff. Prior to his extended absence, Silva was on a two-fight winning streak with back-to-back knockout finishes. That brought his record to 2-2-1 with both losses coming via decision and the lone outlier on his record a no contest.
Tyson Nam is remarkably 39 years old in a division that is difficult for many to make, especially at an advanced age. Nam’s UFC record is 3-3 with 3 knockout wins and 3 decision losses.
Silva opened as a -160 favorite but has quickly grown to nearly a 2:1 favorite as money has poured in on his side.
Silva began his career with an unfortunate no-contest and then followed it up with back-to-back losses against now-ranked fighters. Then, in 2021, Silva finally parlayed his talent into a victory. He started to gain momentum, opened some eyes in the division, and got me, personally, really excited about his ceiling. But, then Silva took a two-year layoff and some of the shine around him wore off.
Still, though, his talent is undeniable. Silva is a hyper-aggressive striker who carries deceptive power, has a slick submission game, and has the wrestling chops to get the fight to the mat if he wants. Silva trains closely with Henry Cejudo and some of Triple C’s stylistic tendencies are apparent in the Brazilian.
Just like his coach, Silva fights with some dog in him – he is unafraid of a firefight and uses his toughness and well-rounded game to pressure opponents early without fear of the response on the other side. Silva tends to stand with a wide stance and a low center of gravity which he uses to generate power in his hands and explosion in his wrestling. He bobs and weaves well into the pocket where he unloads heavy hooks to the body and a cracking overhand right. Because he throws with such aggression, early in his career, Silva struggled against technical fighters with quick lateral movement. His most recent two wins were against more linear strikers whom Silva could trap and then tee off against.
Silva also has strong wrestling which he often uses after he throws his big combinations. Like many other high-level power strikers, Silva uses the momentum of his strikes to propel him into takedowns. Then, once on the mat, “Bulldog” immediately looks to take the back and secure a choke. He is all aggression all the time which has resulted in exciting finishes.
However, because of his style, Silva can gas himself out and start swinging at air if an opponent survives the early onslaught. He’s still growing, despite being 32, and is in the perfect camp for his division. It’s possible that the best version of Bruno “Bulldog” Silva, one with power striking and wrestling combined intelligently, still hasn’t stepped foot in the cage.
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Nam needs to catch lightning in a bottle to win fights. He is a well-rounded and counter-savvy striker with real power but tends to head hunt too often and has long bouts of inactivity in the cage. He plods forward, struggles against speed, moves linearly with a wide base, is susceptible to leg kicks, and does not have much more than a right hand on the feet. But, that right hand really is deadly.
At nearly 40 years old, the Nam we know is likely the Nam we’ll continue to get. He will rarely move backward in the cage and look to absorb punishment while he waits for a perfect opening. If he finds that perfect shot, he tends to turn the lights out. If not, Nam’s toughness but low volume allow him to stay alive for 3 rounds but lose decisions.
In all three of his losses, Nam was outlanded at around a 1.5:1 pace. In the flyweight division that is rooted in speed, cardio, volume, and pressure, a 1.5:1 or 2:1 strike differential is massive.
Prediction and Betting Guide
Nam’s path to victory, as evidenced by all three of his UFC wins coming by 1st or 2nd round knockout, is a quick finish. He typically needs an over-aggressive fighter to carelessly rush in so that Nam can counter with a heavy cross. Beyond that specific situation, Nam typically struggles.
Because of Silva’s layoff and tendency to hunt finishes himself, I worry about putting him in parlays; he could get caught. But, I am confident that Silva is the better fighter. He’ll be faster, more varied, have better pressure, is the better wrestler, and can snatch a submission as well. Nam has the edge in power, but not by much.
I like Silva to find his third finish in a row, likely via sub in rounds 2 or 3. But, given the odds still being under -200, my best bet is on him just to win.
Best Bet: Silva to win (-190 at MyBookie)
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.