The hot anticipation surrounding UFC Fight Night 226 intensifies as we get closer to July 15th, 2023. Headlined by the pivotal bantamweight clash between former champ Holly Holm and rising Brazilian star Mayra Bueno Silva, this card promises to shake up the WMMA landscape.
Bueno Silva, a relentless force inside the Octagon, carries an impressive resume into this fight with four of her five UFC victories ending before the final bell. Her statements have been bold and full of conviction, asserting her intention to KO Holm, leapfrog the bantamweight rankings and stake her claim for the title shot. Holm, however, isn't one to be taken lightly. The former champion remains a potent threat in the division. With a new six-fight deal inked with the UFC and fresh off her unanimous decision victory over Yana Santos, Holm is on a mission to regain her crown.
Also worth highlighting is the featherweight duel between Norma Dumont and Chelsea Chandler. Dumont, coming off a unanimous decision victory over Karol Rosa, has made her intentions clear - she wants the 145lbs belt. Meanwhile, Chandler enters this fight riding a five-fight win streak, including her UFC debut win via first-round TKO against Julija Stoliarenko.
The undercard isn't short on excitement either, with Ashlee Evans-Smith taking on Ailin Perez in a bantamweight bout and Viktoriia Dudakova squaring off against Istela Nunes in a strawweight clash.
I find myself gravitating towards Holm. Her wealth of experience gives her the edge inside the cage and her adaptive striking game, now complemented by her refined grappling skills, positions her well against the assertive and offensive style of Bueno Silva. Yet, Bueno Silva's formidable presence on the mat and her unshakeable faith in her own power should not be underestimated – a surprise could well be in store. Regardless, expect fireworks when these two step into the Octagon.
The stakes are high at UFC Fight Night 226. With possible title implications, these female fighters are ready to give it their all. As we inch closer to the fight night, the question remains - Who will rise and who will fall? Time will unveil the answer.
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