A much-maligned UFC Vegas 77 lacked star power, and carried with it a PPV-like timeslot with a late 10PM start. But the fights themselves delivered, on the main card at least, and we may have witnessed a changing of the guard as Mayra Bueno Silva submitted Holly Holm via ninja choke.
What’s next for Holm and the rest of the main card losers? Read on.
Holly Holm has been a main event player for what seems like forever. The former UFC women’s bantamweight champion is also seemingly always in the mix, just one win away from a title shot.
Or she was. That’s not the case now, after Holm found herself submitted by Mayra Bueno Silva, a rising star at 135lbs. “The Preacher’s Daughter” is now 1-2 in her last three fights, having lost to Silva and Ketlen Vieira, with a win over Yana Santos between those setbacks.
At 41, Holm might have another run in her. She might not. But first and foremost, she needs to put a couple of wins together. The problem with Holm is, she’s fought just about everyone. She’s beat Raquel Pennington twice (who is likely to face Julianna Pena for the title next). She’s beat Irene Aldana, who just came up short in a title shot. And really, do you want to derail too many contenders by putting them in against Holm, who is still a very capable fighter?
The fight that makes sense here, and it’s by no means an original thought as social media has been all over it, is Miesha Tate. Tate was supposed to fight Silva earlier this year, but was forced out. She’s signalled a possible return this fall. Tate defeated Holm to claim the UFC women’s bantamweight championship in 2016; a rematch feels overdue.
Holm’s next fight: Miesha Tate
Bassil Hafez may have lost a split decision to Jack Della Maddalena at UFC Vegas 77, but he came out a winner regardless. Hafez was an unknown before taking a short-notice opportunity against JDM, then pushed the Australian to the limit — becoming the first man to take him the distance in the UFC.
Fight fans should now be curious to see what Hafez can do with a full camp. His next fight won’t come against a rising star like Maddalena, but it shouldn’t come against a total unknown either. Might as well reward him with a decent name. Andre Fialho fits the bill — he’s 2-4 in the UFC but always puts on fun fights.
Hafez’s next fight: Andre Fialho
Lightweight Ottman Azaitar is 2-2 in the UFC, which often spells doom in the promotion — especially since he has now lost two straight. But if he sticks around, someone like Nikolas Motta, who suffered a loss of his own recently, makes sense.
Azaitar’s next fight: Nikolas Motta
2021 Contender Series winner Albert Duraev is now 2-2 in the UFC, but coming off a single loss to Jun Yong Park in a very fun fight.
Bruno “Blindado” Silva is coming off a loss to Brendan Allen not too long ago. We had other ideas for Silva at the time, but man, this feels like another banger.
Duraev’s next fight: Bruno Silva
Poor Chelsea Chandler. After winning her promotional debut last year following a change in opponents, she finally got a full camp and a fight at 145lbs — a division the UFC seems primed to kill off now that Amanda Nunes has retired. Worse, she was turned into a meme after turning and fleeing from Norma Dumont in the opening round, as she endured a barrage of strikes from the Brazilian.
Chandler is now the biggest MMA meme in ages— but she’s at least taking it all in stride, even adding to the trend herself.
Kudos to Chandler for having a sense of humor. And it’s worth noting that escaping the beatdown at least kept her in the fight to the final bell. Chandler is now 1-1 in the UFC, but if she’s sticking around featherweight, there’s virtually no one for her to fight, because the promotion never bothered to build the division. Yana Santos is coming off a featherweight loss, so maybe if she opts to stay at 145, that works. If not, Chandler might be better off heading to 135. She hasn’t competed there since 2019, and has missed the bantamweight limit once — but unless the UFC has a change of heart, it feels like the options at 145 are limited.
Chandler’s next fight: Yana Santos (if both stay at featherweight)
Terrance McKinney came into the UFC on a tear, and is a consistently entertaining fighter. He has, however, stumbled of late at 1-3 in his last four. Nazim Sadykhov, his opponent at UFC Vegas 77, felt like a winnable fight for “T-Wrecks,” but that might have had more to do with Sadykhov being in just his second UFC fight. In any case, Sadykhov came away with the submission win.
McKinney needs to regroup. Also, timing is everything in fighting. Kamuela Kirk is coming off a loss of his own one week prior to McKinney’s latest setback. He’s 1-2 in the UFC. This lines up rather well. And it should show whether McKinney is ready to stick around for the long haul.
McKinney’s next fight: Kamuela Kirk