Mayra Bueno Silva and Montana De La Rosa have scored nearly half of their MMA wins via armbar, and Silva expects a grappling battle when they collide inside the octagon at Saturday night’s UFC Vegas 20.
“Sheetara,” who holds a 2-1 record under the UFC banner with both of her wins coming by way of armbar, would be “honored” to join Mackenzie Dern as the only fighters to ever submit De La Rosa in MMA. The Chute Boxe fighter always aims to showcase her muay Thai in a fight, but “my heart beats for a submission.”
“It’s going to be a battle, ‘don’t get my arm that I won’t get yours’ [laughs], we both keeping our arms tucked,” Silva said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “I believe she slowly progresses for the finish, whereas my jiu-jitsu is more aggressive. I believe I have a better chance at submitting her than the opposite. But I can’t blink otherwise I can lose [my arm] too [laughs]. I see myself submitting her with an armbar.”
Silva stopped Mara Romero Borella in under three minutes in her most recent fight in September 2020, and that camp completely changed her approach to the sport. According to the Brazilian, she focused so much on her opponent she “didn’t even know who I was anymore.”
“I trained so much to nullify Mara’s game that when I got to fight week I thought to myself, ‘Oh God, I want to nullify someone’s game, but do I have to offer?’ When someone enters the octagon trying to nullify someone else she’s already a step behind because she’s only thinking about their strongest weapons.”
Silva sat down with her coaches before UFC Vegas 11 and vowed to never make that same mistake again, and changed her strategy just days before the fight. Instead of avoiding takedowns and basically “running away” from Borella’s attacks, Silva decided to welcome takedowns and use her jiu-jitsu skills.
It paid off.
“I realized that even though I had a good performance and finished her quickly, I was a bit lost in my essence and what I’m doing here,” she said. “I focused so much on her that I forgot what I’m doing here, I forgot about myself. I would go to bed and wake up with Mara in my head [laughs], so I took that away from me. When the fight was over, I told my coaches I would never do a full camp thinking only about my opponent, I would think about getting better as a fighter.”
That doesn’t mean Silva hasn’t spent any time watching De La Rosa’s previous fights. It just might not have been that necessary for her.
“I’ve always watched Montana’s fights because they are always super fun,” she said. “Her style is similar to mine, she likes to grapple but won’t shy away from a stand-up fight. I already knew her game because I watch her fights, so I wasn’t obsessed by it, watching everything. I focused on myself and I’m feeling way better, better prepared and happy.”