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UFC Fight Night: Holm v Bueno Silva Predictions

Former bantamweight champion Holly Holm battles Mayra Bueno Silva in a high-stakes headliner at UFC Vegas 77 on Sunday morning.

UFC Vegas 77 Holm Bueno Silva

Former bantamweight champion Holly Holm battles Mayra Bueno Silva in a high-stakes headliner at UFC Vegas 77 on Saturday night (Sunday morning SA time), writes Quintin van Jaarsveld. 

Middleweights Albert Duraev and Junyong Park meet in the co-headliner at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, with a heavyweight clash between Walt Harris and Josh Parisian serving as the featured bout. 

Starting off the action is a flyweight fight between Ottman Azaitar and Francisco Prado, followed by a featherweight scrap between Norma Dumont and Chelsea Chandler.

MAIN CARD (from 4 AM Sunday SA time):

Holly Holm (1.58) v Mayra Bueno Silva (2.45) (Bantamweight)

A combat sports legend, Holm (15-6) has conquered the squared circle and the Octagon. She’s a multi-time world champion boxer and won UFC gold in spectacular fashion when she knocked out Ronda Rousey back in 2015.

At 41, she has nothing left to prove but remains hell-bent on regaining the belt and is still going strong, winning three of her last four fights. Ranked third, she looked great in her victory over Yana Santos in March and is one or two wins away from a title shot. 

Though not quite as fast as she used to be, her footwork’s still better than most and she uses her vast experience to outwit opponents. In addition to her brilliant boxing, she has an awesome array of kicks, which she uses to chip away from the outside, keep opponents guessing and have earned her highlight-reel knockouts. 

“The Preacher’s Daughter” has eight knockouts to her name but she hasn’t finished a fight in over six years. She’s a tactician, and a masterful one at that. Tall and rangy, she maximizes her natural gifts and supreme technical striking to turn back fellow contenders. 

Bueno Silva (10-2-1), on the other hand, has earned four of her five UFC wins by finish. The No 10-ranked Brazilian’s on a three-fight win streak, which includes back-to-back submission victories over Stephanie Egger and Lina Lansberg. 

“Sheetara” is indeed a submission specialist, boasting seven tap-out wins in all, and will look to use her speed to close the gap and get her grappling off. She’s fearless on the feet, so she won’t shoot willy-nilly but will rather seek to mask her takedowns with strikes.

This is a big step up in competition for the 31-year-old, her first venture into the bantamweight elite and maiden main event, whereas Holm has faced and beaten many of the biggest names in women’s MMA history and enters her eighth main event. 

The American’s extremely proficient when it comes to the strategizing and pacing of a five-round fight. Her conditioning and fight IQ are top-class and her experience is a major advantage. 

She’s developed into a solid grappler as well and has good takedown defence, which should allow her to keep the fight standing for the most part, use her superior striking as well as her two-and-a-half-inch reach advantage to outpoint Bueno Silva.

Prediction: Holm by decision.

Best Bet: Holm at 1.58.

Alternative Bet: Holm by decision at 2.00.

Albert Duraev (2.25) v Junyong Park (1.68) (Middleweight)

Fighters looking to make headway at middleweight meet in the co-main event. 

Duraev (16-4) is a powerful wrestler and submission ace, who has nine wins by tap-out. The Russian is in the early stages of his UFC career, though, and is still finding his feet in the Octagon. 

The ecstasy of a successful debut against Roman Kopylov was followed by the disappointment of a TKO loss to Joaquin Buckley and he eked out a split-decision win over Chidi Njokuani in March.  

Park (16-5), meanwhile, is a UFC veteran who has the consistency Duraev’s striving for. “The Iron Turtle” has strung together a three-fight win streak and is 6-1 in his last seven. He’s the more well-rounded fighter, with his 10 finishes split evenly between knockouts and submissions. 

The South Korean standout should be able to match Duraev in the grappling department and is the better striker with more Octagon experience, which should see him continue his winning ways.  

Prediction: Park by decision.

Best Bet: Park at 1.68. 

Alternative Bet: Park by decision at 2.80.

Norma Dumont (1.71) v Chelsea Chandler (2.20) (Featherweight)

This featherweight offering is a fascinating clash of fighting mentalities. 

Dumont (9-2) is a calculated tactician whereas Chandler (5-1) is an aggressive hunter looking to take out her opponent.  

With just two stoppages, both submissions, Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Dumont relies on grappling and fight IQ to outpoint opponents. “The Immortal” is coming off back-to-back victories and has won five of six since dropping her promotional debut. 

Chandler (5-1) is an exciting prospect who mixes swagger and savagery, which only makes sense as she’s a member of the Nick Diaz Army. She marked her UFC debut in style last October, registering her third finish and extending her winning streak to five with a first-round TKO of Julija Stoliarenko. 

Dumont has beaten some top names, including Aspen Ladd in a five-round main event, and should prove too stiff a challenge for Chandler at this stage of her career.

Prediction: Dumont by decision.

Best Bet: Dumont at 1.71.

Alternative Bet: Dumont by decision at 2.10.

Ottman Azaitar (1.95) v Francisco Prado (1.86) (Lightweight)

Lethal lightweights are primed to get the main card off to a thrilling start. 

Prado (11-1) enters as a slight favourite after both men suffered their first professional losses in their last outings. The Argentinian dropped a decision to Jamie Mullarkey in his promotional debut, while Azaitar got knocked out by Matt Frevola.

Azaitar’s mainly a striker, with 10 of his 13 wins coming by knockout. The Moroccan is a marauder who unleashes punches in bunches and lands a very high 6.97 significant strikes per minute. He’s adept at keeping the fight standing, too, as he’s yet to be taken down inside the Octagon.

Coming from a karate background, Prado’s light on his feet and fast with his strikes. He also has slick submission skills. Despite being just 21, he already has a dozen pro fights under his belt and boasts a 100% finish rate. 

With 18 first-round finishes between them, this should be a violent sprint in which the much faster Prado beats 33-year-old “Bulldozer” to the punch. That said, I’m happy taking the money line. 

Prediction: Prado by knockout.

Best Bet: Prado at 1.86.

Alternative Bet: Prado by KO/TKO/DQ at 3.50.

Quintin Van Jaarsveld is a former MDDA-Sanlam SA Local Sports Journalist of the Year and a former three-time Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Sports Journalist of the Year. Formerly the sports editor and Outstanding Journalist of the Year award winner at The Fever Media Group, deputy editor at eHowzit, editor at and senior staff writer at, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

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