Holly Holm reacts at the end of her featherweight bout against Megan Anderson of Australia

As UFC Vegas 77 fast approaches this weekend, all eyes are focused on the main event where Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm squares off against the dynamic Mayra Bueno Silva.

Holm, a boxing hall of famer and one of the sport’s most recognizable faces faces a crucial juncture in her career. Silva, on the other hand, has demonstrated noticeable growth throughout her UFC tenure, transitioning from a submission specialist to a striker with real knockout power.

Despite Holm’spast achievements inside the Octagon, there’s an air of uncertainty surrounding the outcome of this fight, especially considering Bueno Silva’s recent evolution.

Read on as we analyze this main event fight before providing our prediction and best bet.

Betting Odds

Holm will enter the UFC Vegas 77 main event as a moderate betting favorite with odds of -180 against Bueno Silva, who is currently listed at +150.

  • Holly Holm: -180 (BetUS)
  • Mayra Bueno Silva: +150 (BetUS)

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Fight Prediction

Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm, now 41, is an interesting case in the women’s bantamweight division. She is in the boxing hall of fame, is one of the most recognizable names in the sport, and is a vital historical figure in the women’s bantamweight division. However, her recent fighting style is far from the style that put her on the map.

Early in her career, coming to MMA as a highly skilled and accredited boxer, Holm won her first 10 fights, 7 of which by knockout and the last of which is the famous head kick finish of Rousey for the inaugural bantamweight strap. She was athletically, technically, and dangerously beyond her competition. Holm’s hands and kicks were something to be feared and she seemed unstoppable. But, once she got the belt, Holm’s skills seemingly went away and she lost 3 in a row and 4 of 5.

Looking back, we now know she faced excellent competition and her losses were nothing to scoff at. Yet, those losses proved that she is human and seemed to change her style in the cage. Outside of that 1 win in 5 fights, Holm never recorded another finish in MMA. In fact, her once-feared kickboxing went to the wayside and Holm progressed into a much less exciting and much less effective clinch fighter. Recently, she’s won 3 of 5, losing only to Nunes and a controversial split to Vieira.

But, what is most puzzling is that Holm’s boxing and kickboxing, which once took the division over, seem like afterthoughts in her game plan. When she lets her hands go, her striking still is supremely technical, crisp and snappy, and her cardio might even be better now at 41 then when she was the champion. Yet, for some reason, it’s becoming more and more rare to see the striking superstar Holly Holm.

Now, we see a much grappling-focused Holm whose game plan is centered around jabbing her opponent backward with the threat of combinations that never come. Then, when she gets her opponent against the cage, Holm will clinch for the entire fight if allowed to do so. Her cardio and strength often result in her holding the position until the referee breaks it up; but, she rarely deals damage and winning rounds often comes down to how a judge delineates control from stalling.

There was one fight, though, back in 2020 when Holm fought another high-level boxer that the old “Preacher’s Daughter” came out. Holm faced Aldana and won a unanimous decision on the back of 154 significant strikes- the most landed in her career- beautiful combinations, and a willingness to scrap. Many, myself included, thought she was back. But, then, in back-to-back fights, we’ve gotten the tentative and clinch-heavy Holm.

Bueno Silva is a fighter who has clearly grown throughout her UFC tenure. Early on, she was a submission specialist with little ability to land her own takedowns; so, like many other BJJ practitioners, Bueno Silva threw with reckless abandon and dared her opponents to respond to her wild striking with a takedown.

If her opponent stayed on the feet, Bueno Silva’s wild and naturally powerful striking was often enough to overwhelm her opponent. And, if an opponent took her down, it was a matter of moments before Bueno Silva secured a submission, often taking an arm home with her. Recently, evidence of growth is clear.

Bueno Silva’s striking as tightened up, her wrestling has improved, and her ability to string the two together looks more and more natural. She is still a little wild on the feet, but her power, athleticism, and variety often give her an edge over average strikers, specifically with her Muay Thai kicks and knees.

Her wrestling is basic; but, again, her natural size and strength help her land takedowns at a much better clip than early in her career. And, finally, that high-level jiu-jitsu is still as evident as always. The Bueno Silva we have in the cage now is a striker with pop and legit submissions on the mat. The question is whether or not her green striking and basic wrestling can be effective against the top of the division or if those with better technique and more experience will counter either or both.
If we get the Holm, who is willing to throw hands, she should piece Bueno Silva up with ease. While Bueno Silva is strong and powerful, Holm’s experience and abilities are simply far beyond where Bueno Silva is on the feet.

However, if the same Holm, who has shown up most of the time since she lost the belt, clinching for the full fight, Bueno Silva will have plenty of opportunities to land the heavier blows and land takedowns or trips from the clinch. If the fight hits the mat, even with Holm’s hall of fame level of experience, I think Bueno Silva could find a submission finish. It pains me to say it, but I just can’t trust Holm to let her hands go from range and avoid another boring clinch fight.

She might be strong and fundamental enough to pin Bueno Silva against the cage for 25 minutes; but, even if she can do so without Bueno Silva reversing position or getting a takedown, there’s no telling how the judges will see the fight. So, my best bet is for the fight to go the distance (-180). But, as a straight play, I’m slightly siding with the underdog here. I wish I knew which Holm we’re going to get; but, because I don’t, I can’t justify laying the chalk on her.

Best Bets: Fight Goes The Distance (-180) and Bueno Silva to Win (+150)

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One Comment

  1. The writer does an excellent staging & in depth performance of conveying an almost murder mystery like narrative to the inquisitive fight fan, well versed or amateur like myself! A masterful job of introducing the two key players full resumes to the world! The full arsenal on display of long ago up and comer, taking the game and world by storm! The reputation created via world class striker/boxer skills early on in Miss Holms fabled career! The rise up the ranks to legendary status, a tasmanian devil….mirroring the likes of another great champion in Iron Mike T! Setting the stage, almost reminiscent in comparison to the great Rocky Balboa in the Philadelphia Spectrum of many decades ago! There’s a reason she is a walking legend and long ago Hall of Fame inductee! Everyone, including A great champion in her own right, the incomparable RR Rhonda Rousey can attest to one forgettable night down under….the drop kick felt and heard around the world! Holly H had achieved iconic status & instant fame….that will be remembered long after the champ rides off into the sunset! Like sands through the hour glass, so are our days numbered! It’s been many since that late great night with destiny for Miss Holms! There are always younger & hungrier fighters who also dream of achieving greatness & fame! As we turn the page to those very younger and driven fighters….a new era is upon us! A top 5 in the world of the new era fighters is upon us! A young brass submission expert in Miss Bueno Silva! A submission specialist turned Striker, displayed for all to witness & acknowledge with great respect over her last few fights! And now, just like that who done it moment, characterized & symbolic in all murder mystery plots! A real come to life who done it, portrayed and carried out for all the world to finally live! So many questions will be answered! The inquiring minds can’t wait! The once proud champion, remembered for her incomparable striker punching prowress & one time devastating KO of the great Rhonda Rousey….but 7 years have passed, since “da preachers daughter” laid claim to fame! So long ago, that many fight fans….along with a chameleon herself in Bueno Silva…..question the legitimacy and existence of this one time supposed Savant of Strikers……who has showcased lill in striker force capability as of late but has undoubtedly mastered the world of dance moves, such as the Texas two step & tango….as all fight fanatics can attest to! And what about that chameleon in Bueno Silva……the submission specialist of years gone by….but over just a few recent fights, it appears has either forgotten what the word submission even means, or has taken a page right of the “da preachers daughters” book & believes that she is the new queen of Striker Extraordinaire! The conclusion of one of the most intriguing murder mystery novels ever written, is about to be unveiled…..as mystery sleuths await the suspenseful & thrilling answer of just exactly who done it! Stay tuned, is it gonna be “da preachers daughter” from earlier chapters, the chameleon, the new savant of striker queens…..or or or just maybe…..the often overlooked & forgotten Exotic Dancer!!!!

    Reno ~ Nevada